01 Feb State govt announces more initiatives and new environment-based master plan to realise PSI project
Published by Buletin Mutiara • 12/1/2023
THE Penang government is committed to realising the Penang South Islands (PSI) project after announcing new initiatives under the Social Impact Management Plan (SIMP) scheme and the introduction of the PSR Ecology Offset Master Plan (PEOM).
The additional initiatives under the SIMP scheme include the announcement of 11 fishermen who are eligible to attend a seafarer course once the PSI project is approved.
Last year, nine out of the 20 fishermen who had all received new boats and engines under the SIMP scheme successfully completed their seafarer’s course to obtain certification.
It was learnt that the 20 fishermen were given new boats and engines because their boats were damaged and no longer seaworthy.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the course would allow the fishermen to have a licence to operate the boats legally, as well as carry out other activities, such as ferrying passengers and renting out the units.
Chow delivering his speech.
“Those who have passed the seafarer’s course will be able to ferry passengers by boat, allowing them to earn more income when the PSI project starts.
“Besides that, we are also giving out school aid to a group of fishermen’s children in Form One and Standard One in conjunction with the new year,” Chow said in his speech during the SIMP scheme presentation ceremony and the implementation of the PSR Ecology Offset Master Plan (PEOM) programme at the Pusat Perkhidmatan Setempat Nelayan (PPSN) in Sungai Batu, Teluk Kumbar today.
In a related development, Chow also stated the state government would consider the requests of 12 fishermen from the Permatang Tepi Laut, Sungai Batu, Teluk Kumbar and Gertak Sanggul units for new boats and engines to replace their old ones.
Another momentous occasion that took place earlier was when a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Penang government, state Forestry Department, Penang Infrastructure Corporation (PIC) and project implementation partner, SRS Consortium Sdn Bhd to plant 200,000 trees and conserve the mangrove habitat in Penang.
The MoU signed is part of the PEOM initiative.
“This collaboration is in line with the state government’s goal of planting 500,000 trees by 2030.
“Apart from supporting our aim, this PEOM initiative, which involves planting mangroves to protect coastal areas from erosion, will help create new habitats for marine life, absorb carbon to mitigate the effects of climate change and provide a new public recreation area on Island A for the benefit of the people,” Chow added.
Based on the original plan, Chow said the SIMP scheme and PEOM programme should only run after the PSI project obtains its approval.
“But the state government had decided to implement some of the initiatives under these two key programmes in phases to benefit the fishermen and their families,” he added.
Chow speaking to reporters during the press conference.
Besides the boat and engine aid, the SIMP scheme also provides financial assistance in the form of ex-gratia, new jetties, job opportunities, business and skills training programmes, house ownership schemes and educational programmes for the fishermen’s children.
Separately, when asked by a reporter about the expected timeline of the approval of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) for the project, SRS Consortium project director Szeto Wai Loong said it is expected to happen by the end of this month.
“After that, we will have to work on the Environmental Management Plan (EMP). That is when we must plan how to mitigate while doing the construction work.
“That will take at least another two to three months,” he told reporters during a brief press conference earlier.
The PSI project is expected to be located at the south end of the island. It will consist of three islands, measuring a total of 4,500 acres in total land size.
Also present during the event were Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman, Penang Infrastructure Corporation Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Seri Farizan Darus, Penang Island City Council (MBPP) mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang and Penang police chief Comm Datuk Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain.
Story by Kevin Vimal
Pix by Muhamad Amir Irsyad Omar
Video by Adleena Rahayu Ahmad Radzi