Penang gets official nod for man-made islands... with 72 conditions

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow shows the faxed letter from Department of Environment during the opening of the 2019 Taiwan Expo in George Town July 5, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow shows the faxed letter from Department of Environment during the opening of the 2019 Taiwan Expo in George Town July 5, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, July 5 — The DAP-led Penang government today confirmed it has approval from the Department of Environment (DoE) to create three man-made islands under its proposed south reclamation project.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said his office received the approval letter from the DoE through fax yesterday afternoon.

“It comes with 72 conditions and we will work hard to comply with these conditions imposed by the authority,” he told a press conference at the official launch of a Taiwan Expo 2019 here.

Chow said his office had not received official word from the DoE when contacted yesterday for comment on The Star’s earlier report citing unnamed sources.

He added that the news report also contained inaccuracies that he would elaborate at a later time.

Today, Chow said the state government needs to study the lengthy conditions for approval of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) but promised to disclose the details next week.

However, he said the conditions were not new as these were imposed by the various technical committees even during the process of application for the EIA.

“We are aware of these conditions as the respective agencies have studied the EIA proposal and imposed necessary conditions,” he said.

He said the state will do everything to ensure these 72 conditions were met with even if it required additional expenditure.

The EIA for the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project has been displayed publicly twice, the first time in 2017.

The second display, between April 29 and May 28 this year, featured revisions after it was rejected by the DoE last year.

The National Physical Planning Council had also approved the PSR in April, but laid out 18 conditions for the state before it can implement the project. Its approval is also subject to other required approvals.  

The PSR is the funding module for the state’s mega infrastructure project — the RM46 billion Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).

It will cost SRS about RM11 billion to reclaim the three islands — A, B and C — which will make available a total 4,500 acres of land.

The state plan to sell lands created on the islands to raise funds for the PTMP that included a Light Rail Transit (LRT) and the controversial Pan Island Link 1 (PIL1) highway.

PIL1 is a 19.5km highway that is estimated to cost RM7.5 billion while the LRT, to cover 29.5km, is estimated to cost RM8.4 billion.

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