PETALING JAYA: Consumer activists have backed Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar’s stance that the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) be scrapped.
At one time a supporter of the project, Nurul Izzah said she and party colleagues had become more apprehensive when the Penang Transport Master Plan was changed to include a mega highway, LRT, monorail and Skycab projects and involved land reclamation.
She said it was clear that the PSR had become focused on revenue and the speculative sale of property, and in turn sidelined the importance of the environment and a balanced ecosystem.
In a joint statement, the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) and Sahabat Alam Malaysia said they support Nurul Izzah’s call for the project’s cancellation, citing the host of environmental concerns associated with the reclamation work.
“The reclamation of the three islands will involve the dumping of about 190 million cubic meters of fill material composed of sand and rock into our ocean. This does not take into account the vast scale of material that will need to be sourced from outside this area, and what impact that will have,” the NGOs said.
Responding to Penang state infrastructure and transport committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari’s assertion yesterday that the PSR would be a “key recovery driver for the state”, the groups said the environment need not be sacrificed for economic reasons.
“The issue is not an ‘either/or’ dilemma, development versus the preservation of environmentally sensitive areas.
“We can have both if only the state is willing to consider alternative opportunities on the mainland,” they said.
The NGOs suggested that Seberang Perai is a prime candidate for development and this would allow for the creation of sustainable jobs while also leaving a smaller environmental footprint and not put the livelihoods of fishermen affected by the PSR in jeopardy.
“We must preserve our rich biodiversity resources that exist in our oceans more than ever, instead of sacrificing them for some illusory gain in the future.”