12 Sep Penang committed to continuing PSI project
Published by New Straits Times • 30/08/2022
State Infrastructure and Transport Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari (centre) said the state
government remains committed to continuing the PSI project, which is set to benefit the rakyat and
Malaysia as a whole. – NSTP/MIKAIL ONG.
GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government remains committed to continuing the Penang South Islands (PSI) project to benefit the rakyat and Malaysia as a whole.
State Infrastructure and Transport Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said this in response to the state government’s failure to challenge the Appeal Board’s decision to revoke the environmental impact assessment (EIA) approval of the controversial PSI reclamation project.
Zairil said the EIA report was approved in 2019 before having the approval decision reversed by the Appeal Board on Sept 8 last year. The Appeal Board’s basis for reversing the approval was over the interpretation of the state’s structure plan (RSN2030) approval date.
In response, the state government has filed for a judicial review to challenge the Appeal Board’s findings.
The RSN2030 was approved by the state authorities through the State Planning Committee (SPC) on March 14, 2019, as was the presentation to the National Physical Planning Council (NPPC) on April 18, 2019, but the Appeal Board’s understanding was on the gazettement date of RSN2030.
“The state government has submitted an updated and more comprehensive EIA report for approval in 2022, followed by a public display from May 20 to June 18 to gain feedback in relation to the report.
“A technical committee review meeting was also carried out and the consultant has since responded to the feedback received from all relevant agencies.
“The state government remains committed to continuing the PSI project, which is set to benefit the rakyat and Malaysia as a whole,” Zairil said today.
He said the PSI project would also bring about benefits for the local fishermen and their families through the Social Impact Management Plan (SIMP).
He said among the proposed measures were ex-gratia payments, bigger new boats and higher horsepower engines, cooperatives for business opportunities and new fishing jetties for fishermen. The state government had set aside RM100 million to carry out these initiatives.
He added that to encourage sustainability in the fisheries sector and mitigate environmental impact, the state government would carry out the PSR Ecology Offset Masterplan (PEOM) that included deploying artificial reefs and fish aggregating devices, planting of mangroves, releasing fish and prawn fry, building eco-shorelines on the perimeters of the reclaimed islands, and providing funds for marine and fisheries-related studies.
Zairil said the state’s Fishermen Taskforce and Penang Infrastructure Corporation would be overseeing the implementation of these initiatives.
He said some of the initiatives, such as expanding mangrove forests, providing new boats and engines, seafarers’ training and temporary jetty upgrading work, had started even before reclamation work began.
He gave the assurance that the state government would ensure full compliance with all regulatory authority requirements, including approvals for the EIA and Environmental Management Plan, prior to the reclamation work.
It was reported that the Penang government failed in its bid to challenge the Appeal Board’s decision to revoke the EIA approval of the PSI reclamation project.
High Court judge Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh yesterday dismissed the state government’s application to seek more time to file a judicial review with the court.