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‘Govt agencies professional, won’t disrupt PSR approval process’

‘Govt agencies professional, won’t disrupt PSR approval process’

Published by The Vibes• 11/04/2021• 05:45 pm

Reclamation of Island A will be done in stages, with only 486ha out of the total 930ha to be reclaimed in Phase 1, creating an inverted E-shaped island. – pic, April 11, 2021

BALIK PULAU – Penang expects nothing but professionalism from the federal agencies overseeing the approval process for the Penang South Reclamation project.


Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman said the state government does not foresee any disruption to the approval process, adding that the Environment Department is expected to approve the proposed environment management plan (EMP).


Speaking with the media during a coastal tour at the reclamation site, Zakiyuddin said government agencies often conduct themselves in a professional way.


He said this when asked if Putrajaya may seek to delay the controversial project in view of objections from associations and non-governmental organisations, who claim to represent some 1,500 fishermen in the area.


“We are on track. We are just awaiting the EMP, which we think should be announced soon.


“The initial earthworks is expected to start as early as next month or June.”


Zakiyuddin was accompanied by, among others, state executive councillor Dr Norlela Ariffin, Balik Pulau MP Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik, Penang Infrastructure Corporation Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Seri Farizan Darus, and SRS Consortium Sdn Bhd construction director Adil Putra Ahmad.


SRS is the project’s main contractor and comprises the Gamuda Group, while the minority stakeholders are Loh Phoy Yen Holdings Sdn Bhd and Ideal Property Development Sdn Bhd.


The reclamation site rests 200m from the Permatang Damar Laut coastline and is nested beside Pulau Rimau.

Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman and those accompanying him inspect the site of the Penang South Reclamation project in Penang. – File pic, April 11, 2021

Zakiyuddin said the state will continue to engage with stakeholders, such as fishermen, as they may have fresh ideas on how best to proceed with the project.


SRS will undertake the reclamation of Island A – a 930ha of beachfront view facing the Straits of Malacca, expected to be fully completed within the next five to seven years.


The reclamation will be done in stages, with Phase 1 reclaiming 486ha out of the total 930ha, creating an inverted E-shaped island.


Gamuda has also deployed installations to conduct undersea soil tests to determine if the ocean bed and marine life can withstand the tonnes of sand that will be poured into the area.


Island B will span 4.45sq km, while Island C will span more than 3.23sq km. Both will be reclaimed only if there is demand.


The whole reclamation will measure 1,821ha and is part of the Penang Transport Master Plan, which will see five highways and a light rail transit system be built.


Critics have pointed out that the project – easily the biggest development project in the northern region – is costly, and wonder how financially sustainable it is amid concerns over environmental damage and possible displacement of inshore fishermen.


Zakiyuddin said Penang welcomes input on the matter. – The Vibes, April 11, 2021

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