GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government was today told not to proceed with the proposed Penang South Reclamation (PSR) pending an appeal filed against the project.
Penang Forum's Khoo Salma Nasution said the fishermen of Sungai Batu had filed the appeal to the Department of Environment (DoE) under Section 35(1) of the Environmental Quality Act 1974.
The appeal was against the decision made by the director-general of the DoE, who had approved the project's Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
"Until now, they (the fishermen) are still awaiting a hearing date for their appeal.
"So, until and unless this (the appeal) process is completed, the state government should not embark on any steps to begin the project.
"It is important for the Penang government to respect the law in this regard," she said today.
The PSR project, off the southern coast of the island, had obtained the EIA approval from the DoE, which came with 72 conditions, last year.
It will see the creation of three man-made islands, measuring 1,800ha in total, to fund the state's ambitious Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).
Various quarters, including environmental-based non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the fishing community, had vigorously opposed the project due to what they claimed would have adverse socio-economic and environmental impacts.
Earlier this month, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow had assured that Penang would incorporate all the good practices of green and smart development for its proposed PSR project.
He said the massive reclamation project would be climate-resilient, among others, would look into rising sea water issues, and be developed above the highest water level possible.
Meanwhile, Khoo Salma said Penang Forum and other NGOs would be organising a “Forum Peduli Rakyat” this Saturday to discuss on the current issues in the state.
"This is a platform to raise issues affecting the people of Penang, where they are given the opportunity to champion the issues and exchange views.
"Besides the PSR, other issues to be raised include public transportation, climate change, hillslope risk and reclamation in Butterworth," she added.