NGOs want to know conditions for Penang reclamation project approval

SM Mohamed Idris, president of both the Penang Consumers Association and Sahabat Alam Malaysia, said concerned citizens and NGOs have raised many issues about the Penang South Reclamation project. — Picture by KE Ooi
SM Mohamed Idris, president of both the Penang Consumers Association and Sahabat Alam Malaysia, said concerned citizens and NGOs have raised many issues about the Penang South Reclamation project. — Picture by KE Ooi

GEORGE TOWN, April 18 ― The Penang state government must reveal the 18 conditions attached to federal approval of the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project, two non-governmental organisations (NGOs) said today.

SM Mohamed Idris, president of both the Penang Consumers Association (CAP) and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM), said concerned citizens and NGOs have raised many issues about the project.

“We do not know how these concerns have been addressed,” he said on the approval of the project.

He said the conditions must be made public so that the people can understand what conditions the National Physical Planning Council (NPPC) imposed on the PSR project.

He was responding to a statement by Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow today announcing the NPPC‘s approval of the PSR.

“We do not know how the PSR could be approved when there were huge financial, social and environmental concerns over the project, including its effects on the livelihoods of local fishermen who will be affected by the project,” Mohamed Idris said in a statement today.

He claimed the costs of the reclamation coupled with the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) will be more than the RM44 billion East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project.

Mohamed Idris said the estimated costs for Pan Island Link 1 (PIL1), a component of the PTMP, will cost RM400 million per km of road compared to the RM68 million per km of the revised ECRL project.

“The huge costs for the PSR and the PTMP, which amount to RM46 billion, have been inexplicable and outrageous and how any approval can be given under such circumstances is mind-boggling,” he said.

The PSR is a proposed reclamation project to create islands covering 4,500 acres off Permatang Damar Laut on the southern coast of Penang island.

It is expected to increase the state’s land bank and the lots on the islands will be sold to raise money to fund the state’s ambitious PTMP.

Chow has said that he will reveal the 18 conditions in a press conference tomorrow.