05 Apr Selangor agencies taking cues from PSI project
Published by The Star • 05/04/2022
SEVERAL agencies from Selangor have given the thumbs-up to mitigation plans for the Penang South Island (PSI) reclamation project.
The agencies’ representatives were in George Town to learn how the Penang government was addressing the project’s social and environmental impacts.
Sepang GoldCoast Sdn Bhd chief financial officer Wong Mun Chong said PSI’s mitigation plans embodied what environmental, social and governance (ESG) was about.
“Here we can see ESG implemented and being put into action,” he said during a visit to Penang.
Wong was one of the delegates who spent a day-and-a-half getting information about PSI and its mitigation plans from the Penang Infrastructure Corporation (PIC) and its project delivery partner SRS Consortium.
Others in the delegation included investment agency Invest Selangor; government bodies like the Selangor Economic Planning Unit (Upen), Selangor Land and Minerals Department, 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 ecology offset master plan (PEOM) aimed 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.
Delegates learned how the Social Impact Management Plan (SIMP) was helping the local fishermen community through financial aid (ex-gratia), deployment of bigger boats with more powerful engines, training and upskilling programmes, provisions of job and business opportunities, a new co-operative where fishermen will be the majority shareholders, a house ownership scheme, and educational support such as tuition classes for their children.
“We see the impact through the response of stakeholders like the fishermen and locals.
“The whole presentation touched on the core issue. It also impacted everyone in the delegation – the developer and government agencies,” said Wong, whose company has a project in Sepang involving a group of fishermen.
Meanwhile, Invest Selangor investment and services support division director Shahrul Azamin Abdullah said the technical trip to Penang was planned after Sepang GoldCoast’s consultant YZD informed them about the way the Penang government was taking care of its fishermen community.
“Since we are in a similar situation, we decided to visit to learn what we can adopt to improve our mitigation plans.
Sepang district officer Khairi Azali Ibrahim said the trip to Penang had given the Selangor delegation the chance to learn and share its experiences.
“All these efforts are to help them ensure their livelihoods are not badly affected,” he said.
He also praised Penang’s efforts to assist fishermen’s children by creating job opportunities.
Meanwhile, PIC chief executive officer Datuk Seri Farizan Darus said the Penang government had gone through many hurdles to implement PSI since 2015, and a lot of work was being put into making this project a development that would take the state and its citizens to a higher level.
“We are happy that our efforts are getting recognition from other governments and organisations which are interested to learn about PSI.
“We started implementing programmes benefitting the local community even before the project began. This will continue throughout the project implementation.
“We believe the people living closest to the project site must first receive the benefits of the development,” he said.
Farizan added that there were more programmes in the pipeline such as tuition classes for students sitting for this year’s Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) exam, including the 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,” he said.
The Penang government is aiming to submit an updated Environmental Impact Assessment report for PSI next month to get approval to start physical work on the reclamation in the second half of the year.