Gerakan man warns Zairil over PSI judicial review move

·2-min read
Gerakan man warns Zairil over PSI judicial review move
Gerakan man warns Zairil over PSI judicial review move

Penang Gerakan chairperson Oh Tong Keong has blasted state infrastructure and transport exco Zairil Khir Johari for looking into a judicial review after the island's fisherfolk won an appeal to revoke the environmental impact assessment (EIA) approval for the controversial Penang South Islands (PSI) reclamation project.

"Does he want to be an enemy of Penangites? Because most people in Penang have already expressed their strong opposition to the project," Oh said in a statement.

He accused DAP of having forgotten how they gained support from Penangites.

"Now they choose to oppose and disappoint the people for their own interests.

"Since the appeal board has announced the cancellation of the EIA of the PSI, the state government should review their mistake instead of taking legal action," Oh added.

Penang has been helmed by the DAP-led Pakatan Harapan government since it ousted Gerakan in 2008.

Oh was responding to Zairil's (above) statement that the Penang government may apply for a judicial review after approval for the PSI project’s EIA report was revoked.

It may also submit an updated EIA report for the project.

This came after the Department of Environment’s appeal board voided the approval, issued on June 25, 2019.

This was because the approval was based on the Penang Structure Plan 2030 before the plan was gazetted on Oct 24, 2019.

Penang Gerakan chairperson Oh Tong Keong
Penang Gerakan chairperson Oh Tong Keong

Oh pointed out that Zakaria Ismail, a leader of the fishing community from Sungai Batu, on behalf of 185 fisherfolk, appealed against the EIA report.

"Does Zairil want to go to court with these 185 fisherfolk?

"This is the attitude of the Harapan government which does not listen to the people.

"The Penang government chose to turn a deaf ear to it and insisted on reclaiming the sea. Although local fisherfolk have repeatedly opposed it, they have not been able to get the Penang government's attention," he claimed.

The PSI is a state government project involving the reclamation of three islands to build industrial zones, tourist attractions, education hubs and housing projects, including affordable housing.

The artificial islands will span 1,821ha, equivalent to the size of about 2,550 football fields.

The state government has promised that the project will be developed sustainably, touting its ability to create jobs and spur the economy.

"The PSI has basically got no support of the people. Nearly 130,000 people have signed 'Save Penang! Reject the Three-Islands Reclamation!' online petition," Oh added.

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