GEORGE TOWN, September 4 – The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) jointly appeal to both the Federal and State governments to reconsider and halt the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project. It has come to our attention with deep regret that the State government has announced the commencement of work on the PSR project, effective September 1st. This follows the approval of the Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for the project by the Department of Environment (DOE) in July of this year.
We would like to inquire whether the State government has obtained planning permission to initiate the project under the Town and Country Planning Act 1976. This legal prerequisite should not be overlooked. Legalities aside, we are deeply concerned that the government is pushing forward with the project despite the objections and concerns raised by the local fishing community, including PEN MUTIARA, the official fishermen’s association, and the Persatuan Nelayan Kawasan Selatan Pulau Pinang (PNKSPP), along with all the units of the fishermen villages in the area.
The fishermen have contested the approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report, but no hearing date has been scheduled to date by the Appeal Board established under the Environmental Quality Act 1974. Even the reduction of the project from three islands to one has not alleviated our concerns or those of the fishing community. We maintain that there is ample land on the mainland to accommodate any expansion of economic activities without resorting to the destruction of a vital, irreplaceable, and biodiverse ecosystem.
The current course of action by the government contradicts its professed commitment to social justice. Ignoring the adamant objections of the official fishermen’s association is not aligned with principles of good governance and a compassionate government. We once again appeal to the Federal government and the Prime Minister, as well as the State government, not to exacerbate environmental and social injustice by proceeding with the reclamation project. We urge you to heed the voices representing the genuine interests of the fishing community, rather than yielding to the influence of private interests prioritizing profits over people. We call for an immediate halt to the commencement of works on the PSR project.