GEORGE TOWN, July 14 — Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow is prepared to meet PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to explain in greater detail the sea reclamation project in the waters of south Penang (PSR) by the state government.
According to him, the state government will also arrange for a briefing on PSR for the Port Dickson MP if necessary.
“I welcome the initiative of Datuk Seri Anwar in meeting fishermen representatives yesterday. We have actually met in Parliament last week and exchanged views on the matter. He also asked on the latest status and I also gave him the latest updates.
“From reports I received on the meeting last night, the issue of looking after the welfare of fishermen has been always been our concern. It is not an unusual issue but it should be given due attention,” he told reporters after flagging off the 2019 Padang Kota St Xavier Institution run here today.
Yesterday, Anwar held a meeting for about two hours with residents and fishermen of Sungai Batu, Permatang Damar Laut near here to listen to the grouses of fishermen over the project.
Chow said the state government had earlier held a briefing and discussion on PSR project with Penang assemblymen and if necessary the state government would also arrange for a briefing for MPs.
Asked when the meeting would be held, he said the state government was in touch with Anwar and will set a date on the meeting soon.
He added that he would also be holding a media conference to announce the 72 conditions set by the Department of Environment in approving the project's Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report on Tuesday.
“I believe the conditions would also take into consideration efforts to mitigate the environmental impact and measures to handle issues of fishermen in continuing their fishing activities in the area,” he said.
Chow said the state government would also take into account the worries raised by fishermen and the local community affected by PSR as well as adapting to the situation if necessary to enable the project go on.
“SRS consortium as project delivery partner is ready to work on the next stage of work. As I often said we can not move into the second stage of work unless we get the approval. Now we have obtained the approval, we will be moving into the second stage of work because second stage of work means SRS Consortium can claim from the government.
“So that is why early on they can not go into second stage of work because if approval is not granted their claim may not be entertained as it is a prerequisite for they have to obtain the approval at their own cost but subsequent to that the cost will be reimbursable,” he said.
The state government is proposing to reclaim 1,821.085 hectares of the sea on three man-made islands across from the south of Penang International Airport towards the east around Permatang Damar Laut.
The PSR project is proposing to create a land bank to fund the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP). It is learned the project will take 15 years and the overall project will be ready in 30 to 50 years.
The Penang government received approval for PSR project EIA report from DOE on July 4. — Bernama