GEORGE TOWN, Oct 20 — Physical works on the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project to create three islands off the southern coast of Penang island is due to start in the first quarter of 2021, said state exco Zairil Khir Johari (DAP - Tanjung Bungah).
The Infrastructure and Transport committee chairman said the reclamation to create island A is expected to take about nine years to complete.
“The state government is now in the process of preparing the design and final tender documents for the project,” he said in his recent written reply to a question by Lee Khai Loon (PKR - Machang Bubuk) at the state legislative assembly.
He said the tender is expected to be called in the first quarter of 2021 to start reclamation works.
Lee had asked for details on the status of the PSR project and how the state was addressing the objections against the project from fishermen, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other stakeholders.
Zairil said the PSR project has obtained all necessary approvals from the federal government in terms of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) approval on June 25 in 2019 with 72 conditions.
The PSR project also obtained approval for its social impact assessment from PLAN Malaysia on August 27 in 2019.
“As an extension from the EIA, one of the conditions was to prepare an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for approval by the state department of environment,” he said.
He said the EMP was to ensure contractors appointed for the project complied with the 72 conditions attached to the EIA approval when reclamation works are underway.
The appointed contractor must also comply fully with all environmental control and monitoring steps listed in the EMP.
He said the EMP (first amendment) had already been submitted to the Penang DOE on July 17 this year and is still pending approval.
“The state government, together with the project delivery partner (PDP), is fine-tuning mitigation steps to minimise the social and environmental impact before the physical works started,” he said.
Zairil said the state had taken the initiative to organise a Master Design Competition to design the PSR project and Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) was announced as the winner on August 19.
“BIG will be preparing a detailed design for the project,” he said.
On objections by fishermen and NGOs, he stressed that the state has engaged with 5,774 stakeholders including fishermen, residents and NGOs between June 2015 and August 31 this year.
“The EIA report for PSR was publicly displayed twice in 2017 and 2019 before the approval on June 25 last year,” he said.
He said the public was given the chance to submit their feedback on PSR and a total 371 feedback were received from technical agencies in 2017 and another 834 feedback were received in 2019.
He said the state has always been open and transparent in engaging with the fishermen, NGOs and stakeholders regarding the project.