Make public state ‘action plan’ on paired road projects

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The Tanjung Bungah Residents Association (TBRA) deeply regrets the approval by the Department of Environment (DOE) of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the three paired road projects on 10 November this year.

TBRA has learnt about this from the Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP), who were informed about the EIA approval by the DOE.

We also have learnt that the Penang state government was required by the DOE to submit an ‘action plan’ based on all the issues raised by the public, prior to the EIA approval, and this was complied with by the state.

TBRA therefore calls on the Penang state government to make public the action plan so that we can assess if our concerns have been addressed effectively.

We also want to know if the action plan has addressed concerns arising from the most recent floods and landslides that occurred on 5 November this year and whether and how this has been taken into account in the construction of the roads.

TBRA had raised our concerns regarding the North Coastal Paired Road (NCPR) from Teluk Bahang to Tanjung Bungah both to the DOE and the Penang state government. TBRA had pointed out serious environmental and social impacts of the NCPR especially for thousands of residents living along the road alignment.

What is even more disturbing is the fact that the heavy rains that resulted in the 5 November landslides and floods involve parts of the areas along the proposed NCPR road alignment in Tanjung Bungah.

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The EIA had revealed that about 46% of the proposed road will be on terrain with a higher than 25-degree slope, which is well known to be ‘sensitive hill land’.

How and whether the Penang state Government and the DOE have addressed this concern remains a mystery to us.

TBRA had appealed to the DOE to reject the EIA and had called on the Penang government to have a dialogue session with all residents along the road alignment of
the paired road to explain the full details of the road and seek their feedback.

We deeply regret that our calls and concerns have thus far not been met by either the DOE or the state government.

Now that the state has provided an action plan to the DOE, it is vital for this to be made public urgently and to seek public feedback, as this will be in line with the spirit of the state government being transparent and accountable to the people of Penang.

TBRA also pointed out and continues to maintain that the ‘saving’ of 14 minutes of time travelled between Tanjung Bungah and Teluk Bahang at a cost of RM1bn for the NCPR will soon vanish once more traffic demand is generated by the new road in the coming years.

What has also not been made clear how the State is going to disperse the traffic from the NCPR that ends in Lembah Permai inTanjung Bungah to Straits Quay.

It therefore incumbent on and imperative for the state government to be fully
transparent on the need for the NCPR, the implications of this to the residents affected
by the road, what alternatives were considered and deemed not feasible and how the action plan addresses all the concerns of the public.

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Meena Raman is chairperson of the Tanjung Bungah Residents Association.

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