GEORGE TOWN: Penang has finally obtained the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) approval for the Penang South Islands (PSI) reclamation project.
Announcing this at a Press conference in Komtar here today, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said it came with 71 conditions to be fulfilled.
"We received a letter from the Department of Environment (DoE) in Putrajaya, dated April 11, with regards to the approval. It came will 71 conditions, including the need for the Social Impact Management Plan (SIMP) and PSI Ecology Offset Masterplan (PEOM).
"Further to the EIA approval, the state government, through the project delivery partner, is in the process to obtain approval for the Environmental Management Plan (EMP) from the state DOE.
"As such, any reclamation works will only begin after the EMP approval has been obtained, which is expected in the third quarter of this year," he said.
Elaborating, Chow said the EMP would pen out how the state plan to comply with the conditions.
The controversial reclamation project had undergone a comprehensive process with regard to the EIA report approved on June 25, 2019, but there was an appeal until the decision was overturned.
A new report was submitted on April 29, 2022.
PSI involves the development of three artificial islands, with an area of 1,821 hectares, in the waters off Permatang Damar Laut, near Bayan Lepas.
However, the project received objections from the fishing community and environmental non-governmental organisations in the state because it was alleged that the project would damage the marine ecosystem in the area.
Chow said the approval was for the three islands, namely A, B and C.
"Works will begin on island A, measuring 283 hectares, which is the Penang Green Tech Park.
"It will take approximately about nine years to complete island A," he added.
Meanwhile, Chow said the approved EIA report would be uploaded on to the Penang Infrastructure Corporation website for public viewing.
On a separate matter, Chow said non-profit organisations in the state only needed to pay a nominal sum of RM1 in quit rent for land use under four categories, namely houses of worship, religious or welfare associations, public cemetery lands and other institutions.
He said there was a mistake in the quit rent bills that some non-profit organisations had received.
He said these organisations needed to pay the nominal sum before June 30.