(File pix) Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) president, S.M. Mohamed Idris. Pix by Amir Irsyad Omar

GEORGE TOWN: The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) are disturbed to learn that the controversial Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project has been given the go-ahead by the National Physical Planning Council (NPPC).

Their president, S.M. Mohamed Idris, said the non-governmental organisations were baffled as to how the PSR could be approved when there were huge financial, social and environmental concerns over the project, including its effects on the livelihoods of local fishermen.

“Indeed, we cannot understand how the approval for the PSR was given, when the costs of the reclamation and the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) are massive, even compared to the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL).

“For instance, it is estimated that the Pan Island Link, which is a part of the PTMP, will cost RM400 million per km of road compared to the RM68 million per km of the revised ECRL project.

“The huge costs for the PSR and the PTMP, which amount to RM46 billion, have been inexplicable and outrageous... how any approval can be given under such circumstances is mind-boggling,” he said in an immediate response to Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow’s announcement on the matter.

Idris said many fundamental concerns had been raised by concerned citizens and NGOs and they did not know how these concerns had been addressed.

Chow had earlier announced that approval had been received from the NPPC, though 18 pieces of “advice” had been attached to the approval.

The chief minister did not elaborate on said advice, but Idris demanded that all 18 be made public.

“We want this made public so we and the public can understand what the conditions for approval were by the NPPC.”

The project calls for land reclamation which will see three islands created off the southern shores of Penang island.

The islands, with a total land area of 1,800ha, would be used to fund the state government’s highly-ambitious RM46 billion PTMP project, announced in 2015, to address the state’s traffic woes.

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