ADUN SPEAKS | In view of increased interest in the Penang South Islands (PSI) project and various statements calling for the project’s cancellation, the Penang state government feels obliged to again recap how we have been able to come this far and explain the project’s significance.
Firstly, for the record, we have obtained approvals for the Hydraulics Study, Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) Report, Marine Traffic Risk Assessment (MTRA) Report, and Social Impact Assessment (SIA) Report. The Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIA), which also included a Fisheries Impact Assessment (FIA) Report, was also approved by the Environment Department (DOE).
We would like to address the EIA report, which was approved by DOE on June 25, 2019, after a detailed and comprehensive assessment entailing technical reviews and two rounds of public displays. No other project was subjected to two rounds of EIA public display like PSI’s.
The approval came with 72 conditions, which are norms for projects of this size and nature. Of the 72, 56 are general conditions related to compliance; project design and concept; approvals and licences; pollution prevention and mitigation measures; land reclamation and dredging activities; environmental quality control and monitoring; and others.
The other conditions touched on the Environmental Management Plan (EMP), which we have recently resubmitted for approval; environmental audit; and the roles and duties of the environmental officer to ensure EIA compliance. We have revealed this to the public in July 2019.
In the DOE’s EIA approval letter, we were also obligated to carry out offset programmes with technical advice from relevant departments, especially the Fisheries Department, to manage the impact on fisheries resources and fishermen.
The Offset Programme is to include artificial reefs, Fishery Aggregating Device (FAD), mangrove planting, the release of fish fry, building eco-engineering structures, funding for studies and researches, and other programmes as recommended in the EIA report.
These initiatives will not only minimise impact but also create new habitats for marine life in the project site’s vicinities and other areas in...