GEORGE TOWN, April 2 — The Seri Tanjung Pinang Phase II land reclamation must not proceed as the possible damage to the local society and environment was not adequately evaluated, a Penang-based consumer group said today.
Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) president S.M. Mohamed Idris rejected the Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIA) conducted for the planned project, claiming that it was flawed and incomplete.
“The DEIA has not assessed how losing 328 ha of mudflats would impact marine life that the fishing communities along Gurney Drive, Tanjung Tokong and Tanjung Bungah relied on,” he said.
The DEIA, which was publicly displayed between February and March this year, had also failed to consider and include all other on-going projects in the state, he added.
“The DEIA had substantially underestimated the impact of the Seri Tanjung Pinang II project on the fishing communities,” he told a press conference at the CAP office today.
Mohamed Idris labelled the project as too “grandiose”, alleging that it would adversely affect the environment, mainly due to the loss of coastal resources.
Last week, an informal network of some Penang-based non-governmental organisations that does not include CAP and SAM — Penang Forum — had also warned that the project might cause adverse impact on the state and its environment, but stopped short of objecting to the project outright.
The proposed project will reclaim 760 acres off the coast of Tanjung Tokong to create “an island”.
The project is also expected to impact the livelihood of over 470 fishermen in the area.
Mohamed noted that the DEIA had said the loss of the existing mudflats may be permanent but that the reclamation would mean a new coastline could be created and that in due course, marine intertidal life will be re-established.
“This assessment of how birds and fishes will just easily go elsewhere shows a lack of understanding in the natural history of species and the conditions they rely on to feed and reproduce,” he said.
Mohamed pointed out that the proposed reclamation is not a standalone project and that other components of the project that could impact the environment were not included in the DEIA.
“Due to the ecological importance and sensitivities of the coastal ecosystem, CAP and SAM feel the project is not justified and should be rejected,” he said.
He also urged the EIA review panel to reject the DEIA and he called for the approving authority to scrap the whole project.