State govt announces 72 DOE conditions for Penang reclamation project

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GEORGE TOWN (July 16): The Penang state government today revealed the 72 conditions set by the Department of Environment (DOE) in the approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the sea reclamation project in the waters of south Penang (PSR).

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow today said among important items in the EIA application was the introduction of an offset programme to address its impact on the environment.

According to him, the Penang government is required to carry out mitigation measures according to technical advice of related departments, especially the Fisheries Department, to look into the impact of the project on fisheries and the fishing community.

"We are aware that the project will bring about various impact. As such we are introducing the offset programme to attend to the impact on the environment. The offset programme is necessary to offset what ever losses (made) out as a result of the project," he told a press conference which was also attended by the project delivery partner, SRS Konsortium which was represented by its project director, Szeto Wai Loong here.

He said the state government is confident with the mitigation measures which would be reviewed by technical agencies, and the impact of the PSR project would be minimised to a level which would not affect the livelihood of fishermen.

"The fact that the fishermen's association there has proposed to acquire more powerful boats as a consolation and not cash, meant they want to continue with their activities but further away from the reclamation area,” he said.

He said the state government would look into all issues raised by fishermen and the local community involved in the PSR project, as well as making the necessary adjustments so that the project could go on.

Meanwhile, Chow who is also Padang Kota assemblyman said out of 72 conditions set by DOE, 56 are general conditions linked to the project.   

He said all 72 DOE conditions, including the EIA report, would be uploaded on the Penang Transport Master Plan website for public viewing.

"We have no alternative but to comply with all the conditions required, in order to carry out the project," he said.

The state government is proposing to reclaim 1,821.085 hectares of the sea on three man-made islands across the south of Penang International Airport towards the east around Permatang Damar Laut. 

The PSR project is proposing to create a land bank to fund the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP). It is learned the project will take 15 years and the overall project will be ready in 30 to 50 years.

The Penang government received approval for PSR project EIA report from DOE on July 4. — Bernama