05 May EIA for Penang islands project received mostly positive response, says DoE
Published by FreeMalaysiaToday • 27/4/2023
The Penang South Islands reclamation project had received objections from fishermen and environmentalists. (SRS Consortium pic)
GEORGE TOWN: The public viewing of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report for the Penang South Islands (PSI) reclamation project has generally received positive comments from respondents, said environment department (DoE) director-general Wan Abdul Latiff Wan Jaffar.
He said in a statement today that the public viewing was carried out from May 20 to June 18, 2022, in hybrid form, and from Nov 21, 2022, to Jan 4, 2023.
Both sessions had received positive comments, including its impact on reducing traffic congestion, creating job opportunities, economic development and benefits to fishermen.
“From the first EIA public viewing, 3,464 public comments were recorded, and 93% of the respondents gave positive comments, while for the second EIA public viewing, 799 public comments were received, and 73.7% of the respondents gave positive comments,” he said.
Following the viewing, Wan Latiff said DoE approved the EIA report, as provided under the Environmental Quality Act 1974, while project approval was under the purview of the state authorities.
He added that DoE had made an assessment in terms of environmental impact (magnitude and significance level) as well as the proposed mitigation and control measures to curb pollution.
The department took into account all input from the assessment panel and the public to ensure the project benefits the people of Penang, he said.
“The EIA report approval letter for the proposed project was signed on April 11, 2023, along with the 71 conditions which must be fulfilled,” he said.
Wan Latiff added that once the project had been approved by the state authority (project approving agency), project implementation could only begin on site when an environmental management plan had been approved by the department.
“DoE also wants the Penang government to ensure that project implementers pay serious attention to residual impact, and implement all mitigation and pollution control measures without fail with the technical advice of relevant departments, including the fisheries department,” he said.
Yesterday, Penang chief minister Chow Kon Yeow announced that the EIA report for the PSI project had been approved by DoE under the natural resources, environment and climate change ministry.
PSI is a project to develop three artificial islands, with an area of approximately 1,700 hectares, in the waters of Permatang Damar Laut, near Bayan Lepas.
However, the project has received protests from the fishing community and environmental groups who claimed that it would damage the marine ecosystem.