05 May Chow defends approval for PSI project
Published by FreeMalaysiaToday • 27/4/2023
Penang chief minister Chow Kon Yeow said the Penang South Islands project is still subject to the appeal process.
GEORGE TOWN: Chief minister Chow Kon Yeow has defended the approval granted for the Penang South Islands (PSI) project, saying it went through a long and tedious process.
At a press conference here today, Chow said the environmental impact assessment (EIA) that was approved by Putrajaya was a fresh application.
The previous EIA approval for the project in 2019 was revoked two years later.
“(That case) is in court, and we are still pursuing it. But this (EIA) is a fresh application, and it was approved. But it is still subjected to the appeal process,” he said when asked to comment on the complaints of fishermen who said the reclamation project will affect their rice bowl.
Earlier, Zakaria Ismail, who led a group of fishermen to mount an appeal against the PSI in 2021, told FMT they would mount a fresh appeal, now that the project has received the final approval by federal environmental regulators. Chow said the approval from the department of environment (DoE) came with 71 conditions and the state government should be allowed to prove that it could comply with them.
“If you don’t allow the proponent of the project (state government) to begin the work, there is no way to prove if they are going to comply (with the conditions) or not,” he said.
Civil society groups and the public may obtain details of the 71 conditions from the Penang Infrastructure Corporation, the special purpose vehicle set up by the state government to implement the PSI project and the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).
Yesterday, environmental group Sahabat Alam Malaysia urged the authorities to disclose the 71 conditions and the grounds for approving the project.
The project previously received fierce opposition from fishermen, environmentalists and the G25 group of prominent retired civil servants over concerns that it would adversely affect marine life.
The RM10 billion reclamation project is a state government initiative to finance the RM46 billion PTMP through the reclamation of the three islands, covering 1,620ha, off Permatang Damar Laut.