Green group wants Penang govt to scrap, not scale down artificial island project

(MMO) – Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) wants the entire Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project to be scrapped instead of scaled down to just one man-made island.

The non-governmental organisation’s president Meenakshi Raman said it is still unacceptable that the state is going ahead to reclaim 2,300 acres (930 hectares) to create one island.

“This is still unacceptable as 2,300 acres of reclamation still is very large and will affect the fishery spawning grounds and the environment,” she said in a statement today.

She said it will still involve large volumes of sand to be dug out from Penang or Perak waters for the reclamation which will cause more damage.

“It is not correct to say a smaller number of fishermen will be affected as it is about destroying mudflats, coral reefs affecting the marine habitat and shrimp migration,” she said.

She said this meant that it will also affect fishermen along the Penang, Kedah and Perak waters and not only at the immediate site of the project.

“There is no need for the project at all since the funding for the LRT is already promised by the federal government,” she said.

She said there was no justification for the state to reclaim land where there are still available lands in Seberang Perai.

She said even the Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow admitted that there are 12,000 ha of lands still available on the mainland.

Earlier today, Chow announced the state’s decision to scale down the massive PSR project to only one island from the initial three islands, covering 4,500 acres (1,821ha), planned.

Only Island A, named Silicon Island, will be reclaimed and it will be the site for the LRT depot, a Green Tech Park and Heart of the Island.

The first phase of Silicon Island, measuring about 1,300 acres, will kick off first.

Chow said it will take between seven and 10 years to complete.

He also said the number of fishermen affected will be reduced to about 115 fishermen from the Permatang Tepi Laut unit facing the site of Silicon Island.

The overall reclamation project for Silicon Island, which costs a total RM8.5 billion including infrastructure and amenities, is expected to take about 20 years to complete.

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

The PTMP is a comprehensive transport strategy for an integrated and modern transport framework that included public, private, land and sea transportation systems.

The Bayan Lepas LRT project is part of the PTMP.