29 Sep Penang optimistic new island reclamation EIA will get okay
Published by New Straits Times • 14/09/2022
State Transport and Infrastructure Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said the new EIA report
retained 99 per cent of the first EIA’s content, with changes such as starting the project on reclaiming
just Island A instead of together with Island B. – NSTP/MIKAIL ONG
GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government is confident that its new Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the Penang South Islands (PSI) project will be approved by the Department of Environment.
State Transport and Infrastructure Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said the new EIA report retained 99 per cent of the first EIA’s content, with changes such as starting the project on reclaiming just Island A instead of together with Island B.
The proposed PSI involves three man-made islands (Islands A, B and C) off the south coast of Penang island, with a combined land size of 4,500 acres.
The islands are for industrial development and housing, and is also mooted as a way to finance the Penang Transport Master Plan.
“The PSI project is the future of Penang for the next 30 to 50 years.
“And, based on substance and merits, our new EIA should get approved. The new EIA did not differ much from the first EIA.
“Our original plan was to do Island A and Island B together. We now focus all our resources on Island A,” he said during a media roundtable for the PSI project held on the sidelines of the World Congress on Innovation and Technology (WCIT) 2022.
A meeting between the state government and DoE has been fixed for Oct 4.
Zairil said the state government wanted Island A to be a “Silicon Island”, which could create jobs for the people.
“The first priority is to create jobs. Without jobs, who are we going to sell the houses to? PSI is basically a project for the future of Penang — to create growth and sustainable development for the next 30 to 50 years.
“We don’t want PSI to be a real estate island. We want it (Island A) to be a catalytic island. Once you have high-paying jobs on the island, everything else naturally falls into place. There will then be residential, commercial, social and recreational activities.
“We can then monetise other areas, knowing Penang is a state that has no resources. These resources can then be used to fund infrastructure development,” he said.
The initial EIA report was approved in 2019, but the decision was rescinded by the Appeal Board on Sept 8 last year.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 had filed a judicial review to challenge the Appeal Board’s findings.
Last month, the Penang government failed in its bid to challenge the Appeal Board’s decision to revoke the EIA approval.
Meanwhile, Penang Infrastructure Corporation Sdn Bhd (PICSB) chief executive officer Datuk Seri Farizan Darus said the need for land reclamation in the state was because Penang has no more land for industrial development.
SRS Consortium project manager Szeto Wai Loong said the Island A reclamation would take eight to 10 years to complete and the total development would take about 20 years.
He said the cost for Island A reclamation was RM10 billion.
“If the EIA is approved, reclamation work will start in November or December,” he added
Phase One of the project will focus on a green tech park in 2024 and investors can start their construction in 2025 and the first factory is expected to be completed by end of 2026.
Island B will host a commercial centre and housing development. Island C will cater to leisure and housing schemes.