Sahabat Alam Malaysia was surprised to read a media report quoting Gamuda Bhd that the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project will begin on July 1, 2023. This is because the fishermen’s appeal has yet to be heard and decided.
On 25 May 2023, the Penang State Fishermen’s Association (Pen Mutiara), the South Penang Area Fishermen’s Association, and Zakaria Ismail, for and on behalf of the Sungai Batu Fishermen’s Unit filed their notices of appeal to the Appeals Board under Regulation 3(1) of the Environmental Quality Regulations (Appeal Board) 2003 challenging the conditional approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report entitled ‘The Proposed Reclamation and Dredging Works For the Penang South Reclamation (PSR)’ (Revision 03) dated March 2023.
The Director General of the Department of Environment has approved with conditions the EIA Report in a letter dated 11 April 2023 to the project proponent and this approval was announced by the Chief Minister of Penang on 26 April 2023.
The State Government should await the outcome of this appeal and respect the legal process. In addition, one of the conditions for the approval of this EIA report is that an Environmental Management Plan must be submitted and approved by the Penang State Department of Environment before any development work on this project begins. We are not sure if this report has been completed and received approval. The project proponent must disclose to the public whether all the conditions for the approval of this EIA report have been met.
We regret that the project proponent still intends to continue with this project which will have a negative impact on the marine ecosystem, the fishing sector, and subsequently the livelihood of fishermen and others who depend on this coastal area.