Forest City to be split into four islands

SIM BAK HENG New Straits Times 21 Sep 14;

GELANG PATAH: The controversial Forest City project will now be split into four islands instead of one single island.

The biggest island measures 1,005hectares while the smallest measures 58ha.

It is split into four islands following a hydrology study which saw the need to have more water channels to allow water flow along the Johor Straits.

Reclamation of the Forest City project stopped on June 16 this year following a diplomatic note from Singapore which asked for more details about the project and its impact on the Johor Straits.

This is in view that the project is near to the Malaysia-Singapore boundary and involves lots of coastal reclamation.

The briefing today detailed about the amount of coastal sand off Telok Ramunia meant for the project.

Reclamation for the biggest island alone needs about 118,155,717 cubic metres.

The sand are carried by barges to the Forest City site through the southern part of Singapore.

500 attend Forest City presentation
SIM BAK HENG New Straits Times 21 Sep 14;

GELANG PATAH: About 500 people packed the Kampung Pok community hall here from 2.30pm to listen to the presentation of the Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment by the proponent and consultant of the controversial Forest City project.

Present for the briefing are Forest City project manager Datuk Zamani Kasim and DEIA consultant Nik Mohamed Nik Hassan from Nik & Associates.

The public dialogue attracts many environmental NGOs, such as the Malaysia Nature Society and the Green Earth Society. Others include local villagers and politicians.

The session started off with Zamani giving a detailed description of the project, as well as the mitigation measures to be taken to address certain environmental issues which may arise as a result of the project.

Villagers protests Forest City project
SIM BAK HENG New Straits Times 21 Sep 14;

GELANG PATAH: The voice of protest permeates the air inside the Kampung Pok community hall when the audience started to comment on the Forest City project from 3.30pm.

From housewives to farmers, from fishermen to senior citizens, they took their turns to bombard the project proponent and DEIA consultant one by one.

One of the audience the credibility of the survey result on the social and economic impact conducted by the DEIA consultant.

Of the 100 villagers polled, the result showed that 60 per cent of them said "yes" to the controversial project.

The audience questioned the methodology used kn the survey, and whether the sample is sufficient.

Kampung Pok Village Development and Security Committee deputy chairman Azman Abdul Rahman said he did not even know when the survey was conducted and if it had ever been conducted.

He urged the project proponent to find an alternative road for the project to link to the mainland as no villagers want any road from the project to pass by Kampung Pok.

Another villager then stood up and said the project only benefits the rich but what the people want are affordable housing units.

So far, no one from the audience has openly supported the project.

The dialogue continues with only brickbats and no bouquets.

Several people have appealed that the public dialogue be postponed until a more detailed DEIA is presented.

Residents query Forest City finding
New Straits Times 22 Sep 14;

GELANG PATAH: Residents yesterday grilled the proponent and consultant of the controversial Forest City project once a briefing on the detailed environmental impact assessment (DEIA) of the project was over at the Kampung Pok community hall here.

Kampung Pok Village Development and Security Committee deputy chairman Azman Abdul Rahman said it puzzled him to hear that 60 per cent of the 100 villagers polled by the DEIA consultant were supportive of the project as he did not even know when the survey was conducted.

He said what he heard from the ground contradicted the result of the social and economic impact study.

“As far as I know, we are against the project, and we want the project proponent to find an alternative road so that their access road will not pass by our village,” Azman said.

Forest City project dialogue with villagers turns into commotion
kathleen ann kili The Star 21 Sep 14;

JOHOR BARU: Tempers flared at a meeting between developers and residents on Sunday over a giant development project in Gelang Patah, about 25km from here, that is touted to be larger than Pangkor Island.

The floor erupted in shouts when a consultant for the 2,000ha Forest City project told them that in a study carried out among the affected people, including residents of nearby villages, 58.3% had accepted the development.

Resident Azman Abdul Rahman, 49, asked the panel to disclose the actual number of residents who were involved in the study, while others alleged that none of them had seen or heard of the survey.

Teacher Hanifi Bilos, 47, demanded that the panel set another date for thorough discussions on the project and solutions to the villagers’ problems.

The panel, comprising the project’s detailed environmental impact assessment (DEIA) consultants and board members of the project, disregarded the request and proceeded with the session and attempted to answer questions from those remaining in the Gelang Patah multi-purpose hall after about half of the crowd walked out.

The Forest City project, being developed by China’s Country Garden and Johor state company Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor, involves the development of a 2,000ha man-made island, which will be bigger than Pangkor.

It was earlier reported that the reclamation work for the project had been temporarily halted pending the submission of a DEIA by the developer and approval from the Department of Environment.

At a press conference after the meeting, Country Garden project director Datuk Zamani Kasim said he did not expect many “red flags” because the developers had held earlier discussions with some 20 village representatives.

“We are planning to have another dicussion with the residents next Saturday to tackle their concerns and to assure them that their input will be taken into consideration,” he said, adding that the project was still in the preliminary stages.