SAM demands halt to Penang Hill cable car project, says EIA approved without public consultation

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

GEORGE TOWN, April 17 — Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) has called for the RM300 million cable car project to be put on hold until all concerns about the project were addressed.

SAM president Meenakshi Raman said that despite Penang Hill being an ecologically sensitive area, the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report for the project was approved without public knowledge or engagement.

She added the project would also affect others places such as Botanic Gardens and its surrounding areas, due to the tree cutting, traffic and noise pollution.

“What about the Social Impact Assessment and Traffic Impact Assessment?” she asked.

She also said there was also no blueprint that specified the allowed and planned developments in the area.

“All of these aspects do not comply with the law and decisions were made without public consultation before the assessment reports were conducted,” she said.

Meenakshi said there is also uncertainty about the environmental impact of increased visitor activities to the hill especially when the cable car project involved hill slopes of more than 35 degrees in some parts.

“This is not only about tree cutting, there are also other environmental issues involved,” she said.

She said the state government has failed to be transparent in the approvals for the project especially with the lack of public consultation.

“The state government should not continue with this project until the local plan and the relevant reports were publicly displayed so that the public will know about the impact of the project,” she said.

The cable car project is expected to start in a couple months’ time after it obtained planning approval from the Penang Island City Council recently.

Penang exco for infrastructure, transport and digital Zairil Khir Johari reportedly said the project had obtained approval for its EIA from the Department of Environment.

He said Penang Hill Corporation is now putting together traffic impact and environmental management plans for the construction phase of the project.