GEORGE TOWN: Penang hopes to table the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project at the National Physical Planning Council (NPPC) in April.
State Local Government Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said despite having repeatedly submitted applications for the project, it had never reached the NPPC level.
“The Town and Country Planning Department (PLANMalaysia) rejected the applications by insisting they did not meet the requirements. However, there were projects from states which were approved although they did not have complete documentation or fulfil all requirements for approval.
“We have obtained almost all the necessary documents except the fisheries impact assessment, which is almost complete. We will ensure the PSR project is tabled at the NPPC for approval this April,” he said at the Penang 2030 Seminar on the Social Impact Assessment Manual here today.
Jagdeep said he had even raised the matter with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The PSR, which will see the creation of three man-made islands measuring 1,81ha, was to fund the Penang government’s multi-billion ringgit Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP). It is expected to increase the state’s land bank.
Numerous groups had objected to the project with several protests held in the past by the fisherfolk.
Speaking at a press conference later, PLANMalaysia director-general Datuk Rokibah Abdul Latif said the PSR was not tabled as the Penang State Structure Plan was still not in place.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow also lamented on the difficulty in gaining approval for the PSR, stressing that the state was convinced about the project.
Meanwhile, Jagdeep also touched on the need for environmental impact assessment (EIA) and social impact assessment (SIA) reports for projects to be fully independent, especially for those with issues.
Currently, EIA and SIA reports are prepared by developers of the particular projects, which can be “suited” to fit the projects.
“As such, we proposed to PLANMalaysia to make it a requirement for independent bodies to submit EIA and SIA reports.
“We hope PLANMalaysia will see how they can go about to address this,” he said, noting that if the EIA was not impartial, and the project approved, the blame would fall on the government if any mishaps occur.
Rokibah, who fully supported Jagdeep’s idea, said it would be good for an independent body to do the report, which would be fairer.