Penang mulls judicial review against decision cancelling approval of EIA for reclamation project

State executive councillor Zairil Khir Johari said the state will consider using this legal option pending obtaining the official written decision by the Appeal Board. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
State executive councillor Zairil Khir Johari said the state will consider using this legal option pending obtaining the official written decision by the Appeal Board. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

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GEORGE TOWN, Sept 8 — The Penang government may apply for a judicial review against the Appeal Board’s decision earlier today that cancelled approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of its ambitious sea reclamation to build three artificial islands.

State executive councillor Zairil Khir Johari said the state will consider using this legal option pending obtaining the official written decision by the Appeal Board.

“The state will also consider other actions such as the possibility of presenting an updated EIA based on the approvals from the local authorities as referred to in the decision by the Appeal Board,” the infrastructure and transport committee chairman said in a brief statement in response to the decision.

This morning, the Appeal Board under the Environmental Quality (Appeal Board) Regulations 2003 allowed the preliminary objections submitted by fisherman Zakaria Ismail, against the approval of the EIA for the Penang South Reclamation (PSR).

In allowing the objection, the approval by the Department of Environment (DoE) director general (DG) on the PSR EIA was also set aside as it was ultra vires, null and void. 

Ultra vires in legal terms means acting beyond one’s authority.

The PSR is a massive reclamation project to create three islands off the southern coast of the main Penang island.

The islands, loosely named A, B and C, will measure a total 4,500 acres (1,821 ha) in land size off the coast from Permatang Damar Laut.

The PSR project was first introduced back in 2015 as the funding module of the RM46 billion Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) after SRS Consortium was appointed as the project delivery partner (PDP) for the PTMP on August 14, 2015. 

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