31 May Penang wants validity of EIA extended
Published by The Star • 31/05/2022
PENANG has applied for an extension to the validity of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for its Pan Island Link 1 (PIL1) highway project due to land acquisition delays caused by the pandemic.
State infrastructure and transport committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said they had applied for a one-year extension from April this year to April 2023.
“The EIA, which was approved by the Environment Department (DOE) in 2019, expired on April 10 this year.
“The reason for an extension is mainly due to the pandemic and land acquisition delays,” he said when asked about his written reply regarding PIL1 at the state legislative assembly yesterday.
In his written reply to Jason Ong Khan Lee (PH-Kebun Bunga) regarding the status of PIL1, Zairil said the Social Impact Assessment (SIA) for PIL1 is currently being conducted by the project consultant.
“The state government is applying for allocation from the Federal Government for PIL1 to be implemented in phases as soon as possible. We are aware of the objections of residents in Jesselton Heights, especially where part of PIL1 will be along Persiaran Kuari.
“The state government will continue to explain the importance of PIL1 as a whole and that mitigation steps will be taken during the construction process,” he said.
Zairil said the state government will study the design and the need for an access road point to PIL1 to be built at the Persiaran Kuari area during the detailed design phase of the project.
The 19.5km PIL1 project connects Gurney Drive to the Free Industrial Zone area near Penang International Airport.
Earlier, while stressing on the rise in cases of those falling off the Penang Bridge recently, Dr Afif Bahardin (PN-Seberang Jaya) proposed a mobile counselling service to reach out to those facing mental health problems.
“Mobile counselling services are provided in other countries such as Bandung, Indonesia, where people can approach the psychologists in these vehicles for help.
“It is similar to Befrienders but instead of through phone calls, they get to speak to counsellors or psychologists face to face,” he said when A. Kumaresan (PH-Batu Uban) brought up the issue of the rise in such cases during his debate.
Dr Afif said the effective way in preventing such attempts is to look into the mental health aspect.
“Mental health should not be a stigma and one way to prevent people from (falling off the bridge) is to address mental health issues,” he said.
From May 1 to 24, there were eight cases reported at the Penang Bridge with four fatalities.
Earlier, environment and welfare committee chairman Phee Boon Poh told The Star that safety nets would be installed along the Penang Bridge as a preventive measure to stop people from falling into the sea as one of the short-term solutions.
Besides safety nets, Phee said CCTVs capable of capturing clear audio and video were also among the suggestions presented during a talk with relevant agencies such as the Penang Bridge operator, PLUS Malaysia Bhd, police and medical experts.