PETALING JAYA: The complaints from fishermen over the Penang South Islands (PSI) reclamation project must be heard as they are the main stakeholders in the project, says a PKR MP.
However, Balik Pulau MP Bakhtiar Wan Chik told FMT that he could not comment further as he had no knowledge of the 71 conditions that must be fulfilled under an elaborate environmental management plan.
It was reported that the final approval of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) by the environment department (DoE) was relayed to the Penang state secretary on April 11 and chief minister Chow Kon Yeow urged those who wanted to know more about the conditions to refer to the Penang Infrastructure Corporation (PIC).
“I don’t want to comment in detail because we still don’t know what the 71 conditions are. I’m confident that the natural resources, environment and climate change ministry has placed strict requirements on the project’s approval,” Bakthiar said.
Yesterday, Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) urged the DoE to reveal its rationale for approving the PSI project and provide more details on the 71 conditions.
The environmentalist group said they were disappointed with the government which seemed to have ignored the protests of the fishing community.
Chow defended the approval, saying that the state administration should be given the opportunity to prove that it could abide by the DoE’s conditions.
However, Bakhtiar said the government should look after and help the most affected community.
“We need to listen to their grouses because they are the main stakeholders. Before this, I’ve also been supporting their protests because this is their main source of income,” he said.
The project has been receiving tremendous resistance from fishermen, environmentalists, nature lovers and retired civil servants’ group G25. Their main worry is that it will have an adverse effect on the marine ecosystem.
The RM10 billion PSI reclamation project is a state government initiative to pay for the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) worth RM46 billion by reclaiming three islands with a landmass of 1,620ha off Permatang Damar Laut.
Batu Maung assemblyman Halim Hussein refused to comment while Bayan Lepas assemblyman Azrul Mahathir Aziz could not be contacted.