Malaysia, Penang: Massive sea reclamation project under PTMP to begin as early as 2018

PHUAH KEN LIN New Straits Times 29 Jan 16;

GEORGE TOWN: A massive sea reclamation to form two man-made islands is slated to start as early as 2018 under the proposed RM27 billion Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP), said a state executive councillor.

State Local Government and Traffic Management Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the oddly-shaped islands with an area of 1,320 hectares would be built at the same time, subject to approval by the federal authorities.

He shed light about the mechanism of the upcoming massive reclamation off the southern tip of the island in Permatang Damar Laut in a public dialogue last evening here.

"The formation of the island through reclamation will be used to fund the construction of public infrastructure as a feature of PTMP such as light railway transit (LRT) and monorail.

"Both islands will take up to seven years to complete," Chow said.

He likened the reclamation move to fund infrastructure as "killing two birds with one stone", as the subsequent land allotment process would be necessary in a land swap deal with developers by the state government in lieu of payment.

Chow was addressing to a question from the floor by a member of Village And Security Development Committee (JKKK) to raise his concern about the environmental impact from the two islands in joint dialogue session with councilors.

He elaborated the islands would feature housing projects, administrative centres as well as public amenities, adding that plans would be underway to expand the land for industrial use to complement the saturated Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone.

"There is even a possibility that a new local council, a third of its kind will be set up to oversee a new administration on both islands," the state DAP chairman said.

Also present in the dialogue were Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, state Islamic Affairs Committee chairman Datuk Abdul Malek Abul Kassim and PTMP project delivery partner SRS Consortium represented by Azmi Mohamad.

Another JKKK member also raised his concern about the reclamation against the fishermen's livelihood and a possibility of relocation.

Malek allayed his concerns and said the state and SRS Consortium would build new fisherman wharf and to provide boat services at the man-made islands.

The public dialogue yesterday evening was its 10th edition since the state government and SRS Consortium started its engagement with stakeholders since last year.

Chow said the state government had expected PTMP to receive its final nod from the federal government agency such the Land Transport Commission (SPAD) by June next year.

A detailed environmental impact assessment is expected to be approved by Department of Environment in June this year.

PTMP is an ambitious state-initiated project which features an undersea tunnel linking the island to the mainland, highways, LRT, monorail as well as extensive bus connectivity on both the island and the mainland.