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LETTER | Devastating impact after EIA approval for PSI project cancelled

LETTER | Devastating impact after EIA approval for PSI project cancelled

Published by Malaysia Kini• 18/10/2021• 11:00 am

LETTER | Last month, the Department of Environment’s appeal board nullified the approval given to the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report of the Penang South Islands (PSI) project.


Now, we are seeing the devastating impact on the fishermen and the state of Penang following the decision.


First, the nullification has immediately crushed the fishermen’s wish to receive financial aid, new boats, engines, and jetties from PSI project.


Many fishermen are using unsafe boats in dilapidated conditions to go to the sea. Some are even renting boats for their work.


These fishermen were looking forward to getting new vessels and engines from the PSI project, which unfortunately will not happen anytime soon due to the appeal board’s decision.


Education for the fishermen’s children such as free tuition and scholarship for tertiary studies are now being postponed indefinitely as the funds are supposed to come from the PSI project.


Recruitment exercise


Veteran fishermen are now urging for the PSI project to continue for the sake of their children and future generations.


Over 400 fishermen and more than 1,000 local residents have given their signature to show support for the PSR project.


Second, the nullification has eliminated potential works from the small and medium businesses and the local community.


Small business owners were hoping that the opportunities from the commencement of PSI would help to revive their trade, which is suffering from the pandemic crisis.


Recruitment exercise for the project is currently put on hold and PSI’s current employees may lose their job and household income, following the appeal board’s decision.


Stricken economy


Capital injection worth billions of ringgit that is supposed to provide the much-needed boost to Penang’s Covid-19 stricken economy is now delayed.


Third, the RM86 million funding for social improvement initiatives and environmental enhancement programmes is not coming through after the nullification.


Job opportunities, re-skilling training, and commercial avenues that are planned to bring social benefits to the locals are now shelved.


Deployment of artificial reefs, mangrove planting programme, and fishery and marine ecosystem research that are supposed to be launched this year to rejuvenate the surrounding environment are also put on hold.


It is ironic that the appeal board’s decision that is supposed to review the social and environmental impact of the project has itself created devastating social impact and opportunity costs to environmental sustainability.


JOSHUA WOO is a former councillor at Seberang Perai Council.


The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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