GEORGE TOWN: The reclamation project on the island’s southern coast would be illegal for implementation now if the state government insists on pursuing it, said Natural Resource and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.
He said this was because several reports had yet to be received from the developer and the state government, namely the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report, reports on studies conducted on the social and political impact as well as on the marine life.
“The state government should not, even if the constitution says otherwise… that they can develop whatever they want, and their decision to develop, the planning, fall under the National Physical Development Council (MPFN) and if the council denies permission, the project violates the law.
“I urge the state government not only to look at it solely based on the constitution, instead to see the existing federal and state laws, especially involving EIA… whether it is passed under EIA before implementing the project,” he told a press conference after attending the Community Feast programme here yesterday.
At the event, Wan Junaidi also received a protest note against the reclamation project from the Penang Fishermen’s Association.
Wan Junaidi said he personally disagreed with the reclamation project as it would not only affect marine resources which would affect the fishermen’s income but might also cause a shift in the country’s continental shelf (an underwater landmass which extends from a continent).
“Penang’s continental shelf will shift, and if the reclamation extends more than three nautical miles (the limit allowed under the law) from the shoreline, then the country’s continental shelf will shift and it will possibly encroach into international waters. I can’t agree to such a move,” he said.
He said issues involving international waters should be taken into consideration by the state government before implementing the project.
Wan Junaidi said his ministry would ask the MPFN to reconsider the proposal of the DAP-led Penang state government as it had many implications for the people and the environment.
The reclamation project for the construction of three man-made islands was included in the proposed implementation of the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) that also contained a 6.5 kilometre-long undersea tunnel, three highways and the Penang Sky Cab. – Bernama