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Reclamation works on Island A of the PSR project to begin mid-June

Reclamation works on Island A of the PSR project to begin mid-June

Published by New Straits Times• 11/04/2021• 05:39 pm

Penang South Reclamation project expected to start in May or June, says deputy CM

BALIK PULAU: Reclamation works on Island A, one of three islands of the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project, is expected to kick-off in the middle of June, the Penang government said today.


Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman said reclamation works would begin as soon as they received approval for the Environment Management Plan (EMP) from the Department of Environment (DOE).


The EMP is one of 72 conditions stipulated in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) approval for the massive reclamation project.


It is to minimise any adverse environmental impact arising from the project. The EIA approval has a two-year validity period, which expires in June.


“We expect to obtain approval for the EMP somewhere between end of May and early June. Once we obtain the approval, we will begin reclamation works on Island A.


“We are working towards that (starting the reclamation works by mid-June). The Penang government is committed in undertaking the project as scheduled,” he told newsmen at the Pusat Perkhidmatan Setempat Nelayan (PPSN) in Permatang Damar Laut here today.


He was earlier taken on an hour-long boat ride, along with members of the press, to tour the three main points of Island A.


Ahmad Zakiyuddin also tested a model fisherman boat, measuring 27ft-long with a 90 horsepower engine. The state government is currently finalising the Social Impact Management Plan (SIMP) that includes boats and engines for tier 1 “tekong” (skipper).


His immediate response was “cukup selesa” (very comfortable), stressing that the boat could take fishermen further out to sea.


On Feb 5, the state government unveiled the SIMP, which detailed the ex-gratia payment to be given to fishermen who may be impacted by the project. The SIMP involved ex-gratia handout and programmes which would provide long-term benefits to the fisherfolk, including empowerment programmes and housing schemes.


Those who would benefit from the SIMP included licensed fishermen and fishermen’s units from Permatang Tepi Laut, Sungai Batu, Teluk Kumbar and Gertak Sanggul (tier 1) and Seri Jerejak, Batu Maung, Teluk Tempoyak, Pulau Betong and Kuala Sungai Burong (tier 2).


Under the ex-gratia handout, the “tekong” and “awak awak” in tier one would receive RM20,000 and RM12,960 each while those in tier two, RM13,200 and RM5,400, respectively. The tekong in tier one would also be offered a 27ft-long boat with a 60 or 75 horsepower engine to enable them to go further out to sea.


Island A measures 920ha in total. Reclamation works for Phase 1 will involve 480ha, which is expected to be completed in the year 2026-2027. The overall reclamation works on Island A will take nine years to complete.


Preliminary survey works and soil investigations began late last month in the vicinity of Island A, especially in the area of Phase 1. It would take about three months to complete with the aim to get the latest seabed level and determine the site’s condition.


Meanwhile, Ahmad Zakiyuddin stressed that the state government is opened to suggestions and views by various quarters, including the non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which opposed the PSR project.


“We are ever ready to hear them out,” he added.


As of March 30, 62 per cent of “tekong” (185 skippers) in tier one have registered themselves to receive benefits under the SIMP.


On the overall, 32.57 per cent (526 fishermen) from the total 1,516 fishermen in tier one and tier two have registered themselves with the state government.


“Our programme today is to show the preparations made before the reclamation works begin, and I am very pleased with the preparations put in place.


“The state government has said repeatedly that the PSR project is not to marginalise the fishing community but rather the SIMP is a commitment that we want the fishing community to also enjoy development.


“The state government also assures that reclamation works will be carried out according to the conditions set out in the EIA approved back in 2019. Environmental control measures will be deployed to minimise effects when the project is implemented,” Ahmad Zakiyuddin added.

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