The Penang government says it will proceed with the Penang South Islands (PSI) project despite numerous objections from various parties.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the state had been listening to and agreed with concerned parties on the importance of taking climate change into consideration and protecting the welfare of fishermen.
“This is why we are implementing so many mitigation measures, carrying out a socioeconomic plan for fishermen, and introducing green initiatives for the PSI development. Suffice to say that such a massive and comprehensive plan to improve the fishing community has never been done before anywhere in the country.
“We only disagreed on cancelling the project. We do not have to choose between PSI, and the environment and fishermen. Technology and engineering advancements can allow us to build PSI and preserve the environment and the people at the same time,” he said in a statement today.
Lately, various parties including Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar, Kepala Batas MP Reezal Merican Naina Merican, Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Wan Junaidi Tunku Jaafar, the Consumers Association of Penang, Sahabat Alam Malaysia, civil society groups including Penang Forum, and fishermen’s groups had called for the project to be cancelled.
However Chow, who is also Tanjong MP, said the people should consider the many socio-economic benefits that the PSI would bring to Penang, with greater value than monetary returns.
“We never denied that the project will have impact but we have always shared with the people how we intend to mitigate the impact, create new habitats for marine life, and provide more job and business opportunities for fishermen and other locals,” he said.
He said the job creation and economic growth stimulated by domestic and international investments would give financial stability and security to the people while the green initiatives like low carbon developments and transportation, use of renewable energy, and provision of open spaces would contribute towards improving liveability and public well-being for decades to come.
“We strongly believe we are able to achieve all the above while also being fully compliant with the stringent approval conditions imposed by DoE (Department of Environment). As such, no precedence should be set by the government whereby approval for projects is reversed even though all approval conditions are being met,” he said.
Under the PSI project, the state government is proposing to reclaim about 1,821 hectares of the sea to build three islands south of the Penang International Airport towards the east around Permatang Damar Laut to create a land bank that will be utilised to finance the Penang Transport Master Plan project.