The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) are disappointed that the Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIA) of the proposed reclamation of Phase 2 of Seri Tanjung Pinang (STP2) at Tanjung Tokong, Penang has been approved by the Department of Environment.
The Board of Directors of Eastern & Oriental Berhad (E & O) had announced yesterday that its subsidiary, Tanjung Pinang Development Sdn Bhd, had on 11 April 2014 received the conditional approval letter dated 10 April 2014 from the DOE.
Besides CAP and SAM, other civil society organizations in Penang had also raised their concerns and called for more in-depth study. Thus we are surprised that the DEIA review panel for this proposed reclamation project had decided to approve the report despite the many objections, issues and questions which remain unanswered
Among the issues raised by CAP and SAM were justification of the entire project, impact of the previous reclamation for STP1 which has caused sedimentation and erosion elsewhere, mitigation for significant loss of coastal zone and marine resources, undervaluation of environmental services provided by mudflats, seabed habitat and underestimation of impacts of dredging.
The least that the DEIA panel of reviewers should have done is request the EIA consultants to submit an addendum to the DEIA based on the comments submitted. The additional information provided by the consultants should have been exhibited for members of the public to review and submit their comments.
Now that the DEIA has been approved, the onus is on the Penang State Government to decide whether to approve the project. Will the State consider the plight of the environment and affected people or will profit for a private company take precedence? Who would pay the cost for loss of income of fishers, permanent destruction to the coastal zone and marine resources due to the project activities and subsequent impacts?
The loss to environmental services is monumental whilst public would have to suffer the consequences. Hence, we call on the Penang State government to seriously consider the environmental and societal costs of this proposed project and thus not approve the STP2 project proposal.
S.M. MOHAMED IDRIS