Sahabat Alam Malaysia was surprised to read a media report quoting Gamuda Bhd as saying that the “Penang South Reclamation” project will begin on 1 July. This is because the fishermen’s appeal has not yet been heard and decided.
On 25 May the Penang State Fishermen’s Association (Pen Mutiara), the South Penang Area Fishermen’s Association and Zakaria Ismail, 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.
They are challenging the conditional approval of the environmental impact assessment 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 had approved with conditions the report in a letter dated 11 April to the project proponent and this approval was announced by the Penang chief minister on 26 April.
The state government should await the outcome of the fishermen’s appeal and respect the legal process.
In addition, one of the conditions for the approval of the environmental impact report is that an environmental management plan must be submitted and approved by the Penang’s 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 environmental impact assessment report have been met.
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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 the livelihoods of fishermen and others who depend on this coastal area. – SAM
Mageswari Sangaralingam is honorary secretary of Sahabat Alam Malaysia