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‘Updates to Penang reclamation’s approved EIA report don’t make it invalid’

‘Updates to Penang reclamation’s approved EIA report don’t make it invalid’

Published by The Vibes• 21/04/2021• 04:20 pm

The PSR will see a change in work sequence from Islands B-A-C to Islands A-B-C. – pic, April 21, 2021

GEORGE TOWN – Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman has refuted criticism that the state’s move to produce an updated environmental impact assessment (EIA) on the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project effectively invalidates the report.


“In November 2020, the DoE (Environment Department) requested the Penang government to update the approved EIA report with information regarding changes in the reclamation phase, so that the report can be easily referred to in the future.


“The action of updating the approved EIA report does not make it invalid,” he said, adding that it also does not need to undergo a public participation process.


He was responding to state PAS commissioner Muhammad Fauzi Yusuf and Penang Khazanah Alam Sustainable Organisation chairman Zikrullah Ismail, who called him irresponsible and disrespectful for persisting in announcing the start of works on one of the three PSR islands come May.


He described Zikrullah’s claim that the EIA report was revised and required public participation as inaccurate.


There has not been any revision or change to the PSR development concept and project layout plan, said Zakiyuddin.


He said the state has informed DoE of a change in the reclamation work sequence, from Islands B-A-C to Islands A-B-C.


This is because a hydraulic modelling study has determined that if Island A is reclaimed first instead of Island B, there would be increased current and flushing capacity, as well as reduced sediment dispersion, leading to improved water quality, he said.


He said the change was made last year after the state government took heed of several matters raised by the National Physical Planning Council (MPFN) in April 2019 and Irrigation and Drainage Department in March 2020.

The Social Impact Management Plan will offer compensation to boatmen and crews from fishing units, says Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman. – Mathis Sarawanan pic, April 21, 2021

“MPFN advised the state government to study the possibility of developing the first high-tech industrial park in the region based on the Industrial Revolution 4.0, and focusing on automation, artificial intelligence, robotics, and the Internet of Things.


“MPFN also asked us to undertake a property market study while planning the construction phases to determine the feasibility of the proposed industrial, housing and commercial development.”


Compensation to fishermen assured


Zakiyuddin stressed that the EIA has already gone through the due process as prescribed by DoE, including several reviews and two public exhibitions in June 2017 and May 2019, before it was approved with 72 conditions in June 2019.


He denied that the Penang administration was ordered to prevent preliminary works, such as land investigations, and finalising the Social Impact Management Plan (SIMP), which will benefit fishermen in the area.


On the concerns raised by Fauzi and Zikrullah about the impact on this group’s income, Zakiyuddin said SIMP will offer compensation to boatmen and crews from fishing units there.


Fishermen in Permatang Tepi Laut, Teluk Kumbar, Sg Batu and Gertak Sanggul will also be given new vessels and engines to enable them to venture further out to sea to catch fish.


Zakiyuddin said only 7% of the 186 fishermen there said their children are interested in continuing the trade, with the majority keen on other sectors, particularly transport or logistics (45%), management and administration (25%), and tourism (13%).


The data was gathered from a questionnaire given to fishermen who registered for SIMP benefits up till April 12.


As a responsible state government, said Zakiyuddin, Penang will start the reclamation process proper only when the project’s environmental management plan has been approved.


“PSR will enhance domestic investment by almost RM4 billion and create employment opportunities, thereby catalysing the development of Penang and the northern part of the peninsula.


“Therefore, I ask Fauzi and Zikrullah to be more open-minded every time the state government makes a new announcement on PSR.” – The Vibes, April 21, 2021

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