The Penang state government will begin the Penang South Islands (PSI) reclamation project after the Environmental Management Plan (EMP) is approved by the Department of Environment (DOE).

Penang chief minister Chow Kon Yeow said the approval will take about two months, and the reclamation works is expected to start in the third quarter of this year.

“The EMP approval is managed at the state-level. But if DOE feels that the EMP, which we will submit, is still incomplete, they can give us feedback and we will revise and improve it until it complies," he told reporters when met at the Batu Kawan Parliament constituency Aidilfitri open house today.

Chow was responding to the statement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who said that the EIA approval by the DOE was not the final stage that would allow reclamation to take place at the suggested site.

Chow, who is also Batu Kawan MP, said the EIA approval is final with 71 conditions, and the state government was committed to complying with the stipulated conditions to ensure smooth EMP approval process.

"We will present proposals on how to comply with the set conditions and a series of technical meetings will be held for relevant agencies to give feedback to the report prepared by our consultants,” he said.

On April 26, Chow announced that the PSI project has obtained its EIA approval from the Putrajaya DOE through a letter dated April 11.

The approval was based on 71 conditions stipulated, including the implementation of the project’s Social Impact Management Plan (SIMP).

The PSI is a project to develop three artificial islands, with an area of approximately 1,700 hectares in the waters of Permatang Damar Laut, near Bayan Lepas.

However, the project received objections from the fishing community and environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the state because it allegedly would affect the marine ecosystem.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency