No detailed EIA for three proposed Penang Island highways?

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Construction of three highways in Penang Island is expected to begin in June 2016, but the consortium will only need a preliminary EIA before starting work. This is such a major project – highways near hills and densely populated areas – and yet, they don’t need a detailed EIA?

But then again, a detailed EIA doesn’t mean much if it doesn’t address the concerns of civil society as Penang Forum found out when they submitted a detailed report to the federal Department of the Environment, listing out their concerns over the Seri Tanjung Pinang Phase 2 land reclamation project.

The DOE didn’t bother to reply and instead promptly approved the project.

CAP and SAM have already come out strongly against the lack of a detailed EIA for the highways and questioned their sustainability:

“In September 2015, CAP and SAM had voiced objections over the Department of Environment’s requirement that the project proponent of the three road packages in Penang Island only needed to submit a preliminary environmental impact assessment (EIA). This would mean that the public will not have an opportunity to review the EIA report and provide their feedback.”

He said CAP and SAM letters to the department calling for a detailed EIA report to be submitted to enable public participation had gone unanswered.

“We had also questioned the necessity of the road projects. We need to move people, not vehicles. We need changes in urban and transport planning to ensure reliable, efficient and affordable public transport.”

This is the report in the Insider:

Zarul said the consortium is currently waiting for the Penang state government to conduct an independent environmental assessment of the three road packages.

“What is pending now is that the state government is going to appoint an independent environmental consultant to look at it (the road projects), and to get approval from the Department of Environment (DOE) for the three highways,” he told The Edge Financial Daily in a recent interview.

“It will not take long because the DOE has already given us the go-ahead, but we have to get the state’s independent environmental consultant’s assessment, and submit with the preliminary environmental impact assessment (EIA), to get a formal approval,” Zarul explained.

He said the environmental assessment of the three highways can be done relatively faster than for the undersea tunnel, which would take up to 18 months.

“Unlike the undersea tunnel, where there are more environmental concerns, the DOE has already given us a letter for the three highways, which stated that we only need a preliminary-EIA to start construction,” Zarul added.

As the highways would take about six years to complete, Zarul estimates that CZBUCG would begin the EIA application for the undersea tunnel by 2017 or 2018.

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YK Leong

To me, only doing a Preliminary EIA for such major projects with serious environmental impacts is very strange It would mean that the DOE don’t know what they are doing as worldwide, this would be unacceptable. This is basic and inany EIA course or environmental management course would teach that. The other explanation is that the DOE had been ordered to do so.
Any competent international consultancy compan or agency such as the Asian Development Bank or World Bank will ask for a detailed EIA.. Just check their websites or manuals for project management

glissantia

International agencies? They say one thing and do another. Their main purpose is to serve capital. Much of the destruction across the planet in the last 50 years is due to their “assistance.”

jen

where will the start of the highway between T bungah and B ferringhi be????

zoro

state gomen should built new towns n improve facilities on mainlanf. penang forum members should move there and held activites there. decentralised. if nof everything is always on the island. so not blame everything if not decentralised

lim

I agree zoro but the problem is people love penang !!!

henson

Forthe remaining of the 2nd term in office, Penang Government should work more on “greening” the island instead of too obsessed with highway road expansion besides concrete condos.
Can make a trip to Temasek and have a chat with Mdm Ho Ching wife of PM Lee Hsieng Loon. Probably some of Penang-born experts on Greening (eg Garden City fame) in SingaLand can be lured back to improve the situation.

Tang

I think Henson is referring to greening the urban landscape e.g. streets of penang besides keeping the green hill intact. Anyway, good effort to ant trees along the road opp Komtar/Prangin and along Carnavon Streets need to be expanded to provide natural shedding from strong sun light and to absorb carbon from motor vehicles.

tunglang

That’s precisely why many Penangites LOVE Penang Island!
And we have in our midst a group of itchy hands bend on destroying (via UBAH) Penang Island for Quicky Swap Money (which prostitutes scarce state land), for Kang Tao (to feed minions), for Bin Chui of Power (after being voted), Fame (of SingLand-styled development) + CAT Arrogance (at all costs).

zoro

Singapore takes years to improve. In the past, Singapore river at river valley road smell like rotten egg. Now they have built a barrage and dam the river to supply drinking water via newwater. Singapore Gomen is very rich. They do not depend on privatised project. Unlike Penang state, the power to operate bus, trams or train depends on umno federal gomen. What can the state Gomen do to improve transport? Even mca transport minister has limited power. Bus, taxi, train permits ask umno.

calvinsankaran

I was reading the latest the Edge weekly and there was an interview with the CM on the PMTP. Lim’s answers were shocking and some were puzzling. For example he called the critics of PMTP as “defectors”. He also made numerous statements of that can be termed as not accurate (if not downright lies). Does he think we Penangites are uneducated fools who will swallow his fiction?

kah seng

Anil, It seems you’ve fixed the technical issue on your image. Sharing on Facebook will now also capture the top image.

Julian Candiah

Competent, accountable and transparent.

calvinsankaran

Julian Candiah ? Are you the Julian who used to work for the CM before resigning suddenly?

Gwynn Jenkins

AH is that what you call it? I had another name