In what is seen as bowing to pressure from its own lawmakers, the state government yesterday tabled a motion to postpone the massive reclamation project in the southern coast pending a detailed environment. RAMDZAN MASIAM

GEORGE TOWN: In what is seen as bowing to pressure from its own lawmakers, the state government yesterday tabled a motion to postpone the massive reclamation project in the southern coast pending a detailed environment.

The emergency motion, which was tabled under Standing Order Rule 34 (8), was tabled by State Local Government committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow (Padang Kota - Dap).

"The Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) is very important and has to be supported to solve the traffic congestion and upgrade the efficiency of the public transport system.

"This August House voices out its concern over the land reclamation project to create three islands of about 1,619 hectares, which will fund the PTMP project, as raised by assemblymen from both sides of the political divide; the state government and the state opposition.

"We put forward a motion that the house resolves that the state government should not start the land reclamation project until they get Department of Environment's approval on a Detailed Environment Impact Assessment (DEIA), which will also be monitored and reviewed by the Penang Transport Council as well as find an alternative method of funding the PTMP that is feasible and sustainable including requesting funding from the Federal Government," he said.

The motion was seconded by all state government assemblymen, expect Teh Yee Cheu (Tanjung Bungah-Dap).

Chow had tabled the motion after Muhammad Farid Saad (Pulau Betong - UMNO) withdrew his motion calling for the state government to cancel the land reclamation project and find an alternative funding mechanism.

Farid had also submitted an amendment to his own motion, which was the same as the motion submitted by Chow.

"Since this morning when I was submitting my motion to the Speaker Datuk Law Choo Kiang, I was informed that the state government was planning to put forward a similar amendment to my motion.

"So in light of this fact, I withdraw my motion and make way for the state government's motion," he said.