Penang govt bullish over PSI project, to challenge review board DOE findings

GEORGE TOWN: Penang remains committed to the Penang South Islands (PSI) project, which is aimed at benefiting the people and country as a whole.

State infrastructure and transport committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said the Environment Department appeal board’s basis to rescind the approval was over the interpretation of the approval date for the state’s structure plan (RSN2030).

“The said environmental impact assessment (EIA) report was approved in 2019 before the decision was reversed by the Environment Department appeal board on Sept 8, 2021,” he said in a statement on Tuesday (Aug 30).

Zairil said in response, that the state government had filed for a judicial review to challenge the board’s decision.

He said the RSN2030 was approved by the state authority through the State Planning Committee (SPC) on March 14, 2019, as well as the presentation to the National Physical Planning Council (NPPC) on April 18, 2019, but the appeal board’s understanding was on the plan’s gazettement date.

He said the state government had also submitted an updated and more comprehensive EIA report for approval in April 2022, followed by a public display from May 20 to June 18, 2022, to gain feedback over the report.

“A technical committee review meeting was also carried out and the consultant has since responded to the feedback received from all relevant agencies,” he said.

On Monday (Aug 29), the state government failed in its bid to reinstate its PSR project.

In delivering the verdict, High Court judge Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh dismissed the state government’s leave application to initiate a judicial review after refusing a bid to extend time to allow proceedings to be brought to court.

The state government was seeking a court order to reverse a decision made by the Environment Department appeal tribunal to cancel the approval for the project made on Sept 8, 2021.

The tribunal had ruled in favour of Zakaria Ismail and his fellow fishermen on the grounds that it would affect their livelihoods.

The state government had claimed the tribunal’s decision was made on an “incorrect basis of facts” and the decision was bad in law.

PSI is designed to fund the Penang Transport Master Plan which includes the Pan Island Link and Bayan Lepas Light Rail Transit.

The proposed project involves the reclamation and development of three islands covering 1,820ha, namely Island A (930ha), Island B (566ha) and Island C (324ha).

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