Today, in The STar online, THE Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) have asked the state government to scrap the proposed Seri Tanjung Pinang Phase II (STP2) land reclamation project. The main reasons given was that the project has a negative impact on the environment, especially the loss of coastal resources. They also urge the EIA Panel to reject the Detailed EIA for this project.
The STP2 reclamation project is huge and as per reported GDV of RM25 Billion would be by far the largest reclamation project in Penang and in terms of actual size, the total reclamation would be as big as 85 percent of the size of Pulau Jerejak! Pulau Jerejak is the island that everyone can see when we are passing through the coastal highway next to the industrial zone in Bayan Lepas. The main difference would be the reclamation would be mostly flat land for an integrated development to take place. Many other reasons were given as well, for example, the impact to fisheries, including the release of sediments during dredging, smothering of mudflats and STP1 has also affected the fishing community as well as impact on the marine life and fishing activity. Many of these problems are long-term.
I am not sure what’s the final decision for this but I think for the project to be rejected properly, the arguments given would needed to be even more concrete. For example, what’s the actual loss from the fishing community. Are all the fisherman out of work today? Who are these people, can the press conference call upon them as a group to substantiate their claims? After STP1 has been completed, are the water quality around the area worst than before?
I also feel that no developers should be bulldozing their way through especially where there are adverse effects to the environment and the local community. Basically, a thorough EIA or Detailed EIA should be done which shows that the advantages really does outweigh the disadvantages before the state government can approve of it. If it’s very disadvantageous, the state government must be courageous enough to reject it.
Do note that it is impossible to have a totally 100% beneficial one sided EIA in majority of all cases. For example, when PLUS highway was built, many communities were also affected by it but imagine if PLUS was not built then, what would happen today. Even for new airports, it would create noise in the surrounding areas, buildings may have to be built lower and some local communities may have to give up their current land and move but we can see the benefits outweighs the negative effects.
Note: I am not a member of the two NGOs and I also do not own any properties by E&O anywhere in Malaysia.
written on 5 April 2014
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