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PSI to be safe from rising seawater

PSI to be safe from rising seawater

Published by TheStar • 27/4/2023

GEORGE TOWN: The three islands to be reclaimed under the Penang South Islands (PSI) project will be “future-proofed” against rising seawater levels due to climate change, says Chow Kon Yeow.


The Chief Minister said the platform levels would be “elevated” several metres higher to ensure they withstood this potential threat.


“The platform levels will be raised several metres to cater to future rising water levels in view of climate change.


“Whatever we have worked so hard for should not be inundated a few decades later.


“Although it may not happen soon, we need to ensure sustainability for the next 30, 50 or 100 years.


“Many new projects may also be imposed with similar conditions in future. The state will start to introduce more climate-resilient policies.


“There needs to be new modern standards to address the concern and professional bodies need to recognise this threat to human settlement – not just within the country but the rest of the world,” he said after a press conference in Komtar here yesterday.


Earlier, Chow announced that the PSI project, involving the development of three man-made islands in the waters off Permatang Damar Laut near Bayan Lepas, had obtained its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) approval from the Department of Environment (DOE) under the Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Ministry.

Future plans: an artist impression of the penang south islands project


He said the state secretary had received the approval letter dated April 11, which came with 71 conditions to be fulfilled, including the need for the Social Impact Management Plan and PSI Ecology Offset Masterplan.


“Following the EIA approval, the state, through the project’s delivery partner, is applying for the Environmental Management Plan (EMP) approval from the state DOE.


“Reclamation work will only start after the EMP approval is obtained. It is expected to begin during the third quarter this year,” he added.


The Penang government submitted a fresh EIA report on April 29 last year after an earlier one was rejected by the DOE appeal board due to a technical issue.


SRS Consortium is the state’s project delivery partner in the Penang Transport Master Plan, a multibillion-ringgit project encompassing extensive public transport infrastructure and road systems.


PSI is designed to fund the master plan, which includes the Pan Island Link and Bayan Lepas Light Rail Transit.


The mega project off the southern coast of Penang island involves the reclamation and development of three islands covering 1,820ha comprising Island A (930ha), Island B (566ha) and Island C (324ha).


In the past, several politicians on both sides of the divide had objected to the project, arguing that it could affect the livelihood of fishermen in the area.


The magnitude of the reclamation also worries NGOs and environmental activists, who decry the project’s possible impact on the marine environment and fishermen, despite explanations and assurances by the state government.


Chow said work would begin on Island A, which features the Penang Green Tech Park, expected to be completed in about nine years.


He said the approved EIA report had been uploaded to the Penang Infrastructure Corporation website for public viewing.


On a separate matter, Chow said non-profit organisations under four categories – houses of worship, religious or welfare associations, public cemeteries and other institutions – only have to pay a nominal sum of RM1 in quit rent for land use.


He acknowledged there had been a mistake with some 2,000 non-profit organisations receiving quit rent bills that amounted to between RM1,000 and RM3,000.


“As long as your land is not used for profit-oriented activities, all you need to do is just pay the nominal sum of RM1 at the Land and District Office before June 30. The mistake is being rectified,” he said.

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