Reclamation report to cover locals’ concerns

The reclamation project’s second service centre in Gertak Sanggul.

The Environmental Impact Assessment report for the reclamation on Penang island’s southern coast will be submitted to the Department of Environment by the end of this month.

State Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the report would comprise various studies on the impact of the reclamation on fishing, society, heritage, marine traffic and other assessments.

“We were told by the consultant that this would be the most comprehensive study ever and it is the benchmark for others to emulate,” Chow told a press conference after opening the reclamation project’s second service centre in Gertak Sanggul recently.

Chow said the report would include the issues and concerns raised by the local fishermen and communities during dialogue sessions and the mitigation measures that have to be taken.

“We approached the public as we want the people to be part of the project. Without their support, the project will fail.

“But we cannot expect 100% support from the people as we know a certain segment may be impacted more than the rest and it is natural for them to put forward their views and concerns.

“Let the Department of Environment’s panel of experts evaluate our report.

“We hope we can convince them (those who opposed the project),” he said.

Chow added that the project would not be carried out until approval had been given by the Department of Environment.

Batu Maung assemblyman Datuk Abdul Malik Abul Kassim, who is also Penang Task Force for Fishermen Issues chairman, said they found that individual fishermen were more open-minded than those from fishermen’s associations.

“However, my task force is set up to engage the fishermen and come up with plans to mitigate the issues raised by them.”

SRS Consortium project deputy director Azmi Mohamad said 2,200 people visited the first service centre in Permatang Damar Laut set up in May last year.

He added that 80% of them were fishermen and from the local community.

“A total of 542 gave their feedback and 506 people applied for the 1,000 job vacancies available for the reclamation project.

“Some of them were young fishermen who wanted a change in career,” he added.

Source: TheStar.com.my

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