24 May PSR serves the people – Penang Infrastructure Corp
Published by The Vibes• 24/05/2021• 11:08 am
Penang plans to create three islands totalling 1,800ha under the PSR. – penangpropertytalk.com pic, May 24, 2021
WE would like to respond to the letter titled “Penang South Reclamation – Who does it serve?” (May 12, 2021) by Penang Forum spokesman Khoo Salma Nasution.
The answer to her question is: the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) serves the people. Penang Forum has wrongly painted the PSR as a developer’s project because the reclamation of Island A will be carried out through a 30:70 public-private partnership. The arrangement is actually to ensure PSR’s Island A can be implemented without government funding while the state government exercises full control over the development’s direction.
Jobs, business & land creation
PSR is a major catalyst for Penang’s long-term development, potentially attracting RM70 billion in investments, based on the Bayan Lepas free-trade zone’s (FTZ) experience in raking in RM50 billion since 1980. By PSR’s expected completion in 2050, it can potentially generate GDP of RM100 billion and create more than 300,000 jobs, based on an independent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Island A reclamation’s first three years is expected to generate 15,000 jobs, with priority given to Penangites. Island A’s Green Tech Park will create more high-value jobs as the new industrial zone caters for the Industrial Revolution 4.0 and beyond, focusing on automation, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and the like.
The state also prioritises Penang companies’ participation in the project. Many local companies are currently providing services to Penang Infrastructure Corporation (PIC) and SRS Consortium. More will gain as the PSR progresses.
Accusing the state of neglecting Seberang Perai’s development because of the PSR is misguided. Nine of Penang’s 10 industrial parks are in Seberang Perai. Although the mainland is an industrial asset to Penang for the next 10 to 20 years, planning for the future has to go beyond that. The PSR is a major game changer that will cater to high-tech industries in the following decades.
Through the PSR, the state is leveraging on Bayan Lepas’ established electrical and electronics (E&E) ecosystem of MNCs and SMEs, and the vibrancy of George Town that makes Penang island appealing to many investors. The state has continued to receive requests for Bayan Lepas FTZ land from investors. The PSR is, therefore, strategic for its close proximity to the FTZ, Penang airport and the Second Penang Bridge.
Green & ESG-compliant
The PSR is also a green and socially responsible development. Reclamation is known as an effective technology to address climate change impact among international expert institutions, like the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The PSR’s development will strictly heed IPCC reports and the Low Carbon Cities Framework (LCCF). This, along with the fact the PSR is a state project subject to regulations and audits, will ensure the project is carried out with high levels of transparency and good governance.
The PSR will be designed to protect reclaimed land from floods and rising sea levels. It will reserve 20% of land for green parks, mangroves, water canals, wetlands, floodplains and bioswales to enhance biodiversity, cooling the environment by 1°C to 2°C.
The PSR’s master planning stresses heavily on reducing carbon emissions by 40% by cutting travel wait time and fuel consumption through smart city features and providing a greener multi-modal transportation system that uses waterways, rail, electric buses and bicycles. The Green Tech Park will use 100% renewable energy while super low energy (SLE) buildings halve energy use.
The PSR’s water recycling sewage plant, rainwater harvesting system and household water-saving devices will lower freshwater demand by 70%. Sustainable waste management will facilitate waste separation and recycling. The development also plans to convert commercial food waste to renewable energy.
The PSR’s master planning stresses heavily on reducing carbon emissions by 40% by cutting travel wait time and fuel consumption through smart city features and providing a greener multi-modal transportation system, says PIC. – File pic, May 24, 2021
Ecology offset initiatives will be implemented to enhance fisheries sustainability by deploying artificial reefs and fish aggregating devices (FADs), planting mangroves, building eco-friendly features along the islands’ perimeter, releasing fish and prawn fry, providing research funds for marine-related studies and others. The state government also plans to support fishermen venturing into aquaculture.
The government’s Social Impact Management Plan (SIMP) will benefit local fishermen and their families through ex-gratia payments; aid in form of boats and engines; the building of four new fishermen jetties; entrepreneur support schemes; business and job opportunities; training and education opportunities for young fishermen and fishermen children; housing initiatives; and, others. A third of more than 1,600 local fishermen have registered for the SIMP, accepting the development’s benefits for their community.
All these initiatives are the state government’s way of meeting ESG (environment, social, governance) commitments – standards required by big corporations around the world to do business.
Khoo Salma cited several reclamations as “bad examples” to misrepresent the PSR. Her saying Kansai Airport is sinking is a moot point because the whole world is sinking due to rising sea levels, which pushes more countries and cities to reclaim land.
Macau’s 11.6 sq km total land area in 1912 more than doubled to 30.4 sq km in 2015 to meet development needs. Denmark is reclaiming nine islands in the Holmene project – Scandinavia’s largest reclamation in years – to address rising demand for knowledge-intensive industry, renewable energy production and flood barrier.
Planning future reclamations to face rising sea levels, Singapore is looking at polders made famous by The Netherlands, where wetlands are drained, land reclaimed and kept dry using canals and pumps for flood prevention, development and agriculture. Other notable reclamations include Russia’s Lugaport Terminal and Brisbane Airport’s new runway.
Khoo Salma said NGOs were “stonewalled”. In truth, they have enjoyed unrestrained freedom to speak their views on the PSR in the media, state-organised town halls, protests and attend the National Physical Planning Council meeting chaired by the prime minister in April 2019, which was unprecedented. They were also appointed as city councillors.
Let us move forward. The economy has slowed. Jobs and businesses have been lost. Penangites are looking forward to a development with huge economic spillover that will lift us up. We cannot have economic growth and build a better future for Penang if we cancel the PSR and the Penang Transport Master Plan along with it. Our direction is clear. – The Vibes, May 24, 2021
Penang Infrastructure Corporation Sdn Bhd is a Penang government-linked special purpose vehicle formed in July last year to lead the implementation of mega projects under the Penang Transport Master Plan