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'Environment ministry has a way to stop Penang's land reclamation'

The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry has a mechanism to deter the land reclamation project in Penang if the state government is adamant in pursuing it, said its minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

He said the Department of Land and Mines director-general could take action by not granting the land title.

“The 1,800-hectare project is too massive and can change the shoreline in the area. It will not only affect the environment but also the forest such as mangroves, wildlife and marine life, as their breeding habitats will be destroyed,” he told reporters at the ministry’s monthly gathering at Paya Indah Wetlands in Dengkil today.

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak on Saturday had announced that the federal government would not support the land reclamation project in Penang if it was detrimental to the people and affected their sources of income.

Najib said the federal government had its own stand in approving any projects and it was not solely on political grounds.

At the event, Wan Junaidi also witnessed the presentation of the Malaysia Book of Records certification to the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) as having the largest collection of wildlife biomaterials.

He said since 2006, the department through the Wildlife Genetic Resources Bank (WGRB) was actively carrying out wildlife bio-materials collection and storage activities.

To date, a total of 17,002 bio-material collections from 386 wildlife species had been registered in the WGFB database, including 9,144 classified as a major source of MBOR recognised references, he said.

Wan Junaidi said the collection comprised a variety of wildlife samples, among others, meat, blood, organs, capillaries, mouth swabs and stools being stored in cryotubes and ethanol.

“WGFB contains complete information for each specimen that can be the main source of reference (record), research and guidance in the courts if there are cases involving animals and wildlife,” he added.


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