GEORGE TOWN, Dec 11 — The Penang government will resubmit the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the development of three artificial islands under the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project before March next year, said Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.
He said the state government and its project implementation partner SRS Consortium were updating the EIA report and social impact data to be submitted afresh to the Department of Environment (DOE) Appeals Board for the reapproval process.
“The state government hopes that the application will be approved to improve the liveability and quality of life as well as provide infrastructure to boost Penang’s resilience in facing economic challenges and changes in investment climate.
“The state government will hold a one-month public display after the application has been sent to DOE for assessment,” he told reporters after attending the opening of the Local Fishermen Service Centre (PPSN) in Sungai Batu today.
Chow said engagement sessions held with industry players showed that they were keen on the proposed development of Island A (PSR) as a green technology park based on environment, social and governance (ESG) elements which are in line with the latest world regulations.
“If we do not apply ESG, investors will look for another location Penang is celebrating 50 years of industrialisation next year, so we need to move forward with this green industry island,” he added.
On September 8 this year, DOE set aside the approval for the EIA report which was submitted in 2019.
The PSR project covering 17 sq km involves the development of three man-made islands covering an area of 1,700 hectares in the waters off Permatang Damar Laut, near Bayan Lepas, which was introduced as a funding module of the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) worth about RM46 billion.
Chow said the failure to get EIA approval meant that the state government could not proceed with the Social Impact Management Plan (SIMP) scheme, which will benefit the community through the provision of ex gratia payments, boats and engines, skills training, education scheme for fishermen’s children, job and business opportunities, and housing aid.
“Under SIMP, we also have plans to build four jetties and a 100-metre-long navigation channel for fishermen in Sungai Batu to venture to sea regardless of whether it is high or low tide.
“Now, during low tide it is difficult for fishermen to go out to sea nevertheless, as long as the EIA is not approved, we cannot continue with this scheme,” Chow said.
The Sungai Batu PPSN, the third of its kind built, is a one-stop centre for the fishing community to get information and updates on the PSR. — Bernama