05 Apr PSI mitigation plans impress Selangor agencies, developer
26 MARCH 2022
PSI mitigation plans impress Selangor agencies, developer
BAYAN LEPAS, 26 March 2022 – The Penang South Islands’ (PSI) mitigation plans have received the thumbs-up from Selangor agencies, whose representatives were recently in Penang to learn how the Penang State Government was addressing the project’s social and environmental impact.
After learning about the project’s ecology offset master plan (PEOM) and Social Impact Management Plan (SIMP), several key members of the delegation said Penang’s ongoing efforts in the project were commendable.
Sepang GoldCoast Sdn Bhd chief financial officer Wong Mun Chong said PSI’s mitigation plans embodied what ESG (environmental, social and governance) was about.
“We have this big ESG tagline when we talk about sustainable development. I have been reading about how people talk about ESG all over the world.
“But here we can see ESG in action. We can always sloganise ESG but here we can see you implementing it, putting it into action,” he said.
Wong was one of the delegates, who had spent a day and a half in Penang, getting information about PSR and its mitigation plans from the Penang Infrastructure Corporation (PIC) and project delivery partner SRS Consortium.
Others in the delegation were from investment agency Invest Selangor; government bodies like the Selangor economic planning unit (UPEN), Land and Minerals Office, PLANMalaysia Selangor, Sepang Municipal Council, and Sepang District and Land Office; government-linked company Permodalan Negeri Selangor Berhad (PNSB); and consultancy firms SAM Planners Sdn Bhd, YZD Planning and Consult, and Europasia Engineering Services Sdn Bhd.
The delegation was briefed on how the PEOM aims to minimise PSI’s environmental impact and create new habitats for marine life through mangrove planting, deployment of artificial reefs and fish aggregating devices, building eco-shorelines and other ecology offset measures.
They learned how the SIMP was helping the local fishermen community through financial aid (ex-gratia), bigger boats and more powerful engines, training and upskilling programmes, job and business opportunities, a new co-operative where fishermen will be the majority shareholders, house ownership scheme, and education support such as tuition classes for their children who are still in school.
They also visited the state government’s Pusat Perkhidmatan Setempat Nelayan (PPSN) in Permatang Damar Laut and Sungai Batu to learn how SIMP benefits were being delivered to the fisherfolk.
“We see the impact through the stakeholders’ response like the fishermen and locals. The whole presentation touches the core of the issue, but also impacted everyone in the delegation – the developer and government agencies.
“We are privileged to learn this from PIC and SRS. When we go back, there are a lot of things we can chart out – similar to what you have here,” said Wong, whose company has a project in Sepang involving a group of fishermen.
Sepang GoldCoast Sdn Bhd, a joint-venture between PNSB and Sepang Bay Sdn Bhd, is responsible for the development of Sepang Gold Coast as a premier tourism destination in Malaysia.
Invest Selangor investment and services support division director Shahrul Azamin Bin Abdullah said the technical trip to Penang was planned after Sepang GoldCoast’s consultant, YZD informed them about how the Penang government was taking care of the fishermen community.
“Since we are in a similar situation, we decided to visit to learn what we can adopt and improve our mitigation plans.
“This has been a good working trip. We will see how we can move forward to tackle the issues faced by Sepang GoldCoast,” he said.
Shahrul said the Penang government’s approach was “very good” in helping the fishermen improve their lives.
“Even though there are objections, Penang still works towards getting the fishermen’s buy-in,” he said.
Sepang district officer Khairi Azali Bin Ibrahim said the trip to Penang had given the Selangor delegation the chance to learn and share experience.
Impressed with the PSI mitigation plans, he described the Penang government’s efforts as “extraordinary”.
“While safeguarding Penang’s growth, the state government is not neglecting the people, especially the local fishermen.
“All these efforts are to help them continue their profession as fishermen and to make sure their livelihoods are not badly affected,” he said.
He also praised Penang’s efforts to assist fishermen’s children by creating job opportunities so, they could have a better future.
“This is what we call progress. It is not so easy to pull off, especially in a reclamation project. Clearly, the Penang government is taking on a great challenge,” he said.
PIC chief executive officer Datuk Seri Farizan Bin Darus said the Penang government has gone through many hurdles to implement PSI since 2015, and a lot of work was being put into making this project a development that will take Penang and its citizens to a higher level.
“We are happy that our efforts all this while are getting recognition and acknowledgement from other government and organisations, which are interested to learn about PSR.
“We have started implementing programmes that benefit the local community even before the project begins. This will continue throughout the project implementation even after we have secured approvals.
“We believe the people living closest to the project site must first receive the benefits of the development before the rest of Penang,” he said.
Farizan added that there were more programmes in the pipeline, being planned for delivery soon, such as tuition classes for local students sitting for the 2022 Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) exam, including fishermen’s children.
“If they do well in SPM, we hope they will further their studies, obtain professional qualifications and work in the PSI development.”
The Penang government is targeting to submit an updated Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for PSI next month and get approval to start physical work on the reclamation in the second half of the year.
SRS Consortium deputy project director Azmi Bin Mohamad (right) briefing the delegation from Selangor on PSI at Pusat Perkhidmatan Setempat Nelayan Permatang Damar Laut.
The Selangor delegation also visited Pusat Perkhidmatan Setempat Nelayan Sungai Batu to learn how stakeholders like the local fishermen benefit from the PSI development.
(From left) Sepang GoldCoast Sdn Bhd chief financial officer Wong Mun Chong, Invest Selangor investment and services support division director Shahrul Azamin Bin Abdullah, and Sepang district officer Khairi Azali Bin Ibrahim commended the Penang government’s efforts in mitigating the impact of PSI’s development.