The Consumers Association Penang (CAP) and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) are shocked and disturbed to learn that the controversial Penang South Reclamation project has been given the go-ahead by the National Physical Planning Council, with the imposition of 18 points of advice (nasihat) to the Penang state government.
We do not know how the project could be approved when there were huge financial, social and environmental concerns over the project, including its effects on the livelihoods of local fishermen who will be affected by the project.
Indeed, we cannot understand how the approval for the project is 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 highway, which is a part of the PTMP, will cost RM400m per kilm of road compared to the RM68m per km of the revised ECRL project.
The huge costs for the reclamation project and the PTMP, which amount to RM46bn have been inexplicable and outrageous; how any approval can be given under such circumstances is mind-boggling.
So many fundamental concerns have been raised by concerned citizens and non-governmental organisations and we do not know how these concerns have been addressed.
Hence, we want the 18-point advice to be made public so that the public can understand what the conditions for approval were by the National Physical Planning Council.
SM Mohamed Idris is president of CAP and SAM.