EIA report of PSR project approved in two years, not two days — Penang CM

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GEORGE TOWN (Sept 18): The Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project's Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report took two years to be approved, not two working days as claimed by an independent senior researcher, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said today.

He said the allegation by the environmental and urban researcher carried in a news report last Monday was baseless as it did not take into account the process of tabling the report which started in 2017 and was only approved last June.

Chow explained that the EIA report was first submitted to the Department of Environment (DoE) on April 28, 2017 and scrutinised through a number of technical committee meetings and public reviews where additional amendments were made before it received the department's approval in June this year.

“The statement by the researcher as quoted by the media made it appear as though approval for the EIA report for the PSR project was deliberately given fast. Perhaps there were parties that wanted to create a perception that the project received special treatment, but it did not,” he added at the news conference.

Meanwhile, state Health, Agriculture, Agro-Based Industries and Rural Development Committee chairman, Dr Afif Bahardin said the proposal on the PSR project’s compensation packages for the fishermen would be tabled during the State Executive Council meeting on Oct 2.

He said there were a few components of the compensation packages that would be discussed, including upskilling and empowerment programmes for the fishermen, as well as new housing for them.

Under the PSR project, the State Government proposes to reclaim 1,821.085 hectares of the sea through three man-made islands south of Penang International Airport towards the east around Permatang Damar Laut to create a land bank to fund the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).

The PTMP project, an initiative of the State Government, is estimated to cost RM46 billion. It encompasses an undersea tunnel connecting the island to the mainland, highway, LRT, monorail and a bus network on the island and Seberang Perai on the mainland.