GEORGE TOWN – Gerakan has called on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and other relevant agencies to take a closer look at the controversial Penang South Islands (PSI) project, claiming “it was clear something fishy is going on”.
The Penang government is adamant to push ahead with the massive reclamation project despite objections by various quarters.
Gerakan vice-president Datuk Baljit Singh said the ferocious manner DAP leaders seem to be going against those calling for a relook at the PSI was not only disconcerting but also brought into question if there was more than “meets the eye ” concerning this project.
Malaysians, he said, were shocked when former Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was charged with corruption involving the Penang undersea tunnel project.
“Perhaps, it is time the MACC and other relevant agencies also take a closer look at the PSI project as it is clear something ‘fishy’ is going on here as well.
“We need to act fast as DAP seems bent on destroying what is left of Penang…a beautiful island before the party got its tentacles around it,” he said today.
The latest round of debates on the PSI project, previously referred to as the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project, came after PKR’s Permatang Pauh member of parliament Nurul Izzah Anwar called on the federal and state governments to cancel the mega reclamation project.
Nurul Izzah had said that the massive reclamation project should be cancelled because of the immediate pressing needs of the Covid-19 pandemic, and to preserve Penang’s valuable fishing grounds, the livelihoods of fishermen and overall food security.
Since then, ministers, other PKR leaders, academicians, non-governmental organisations and the fishing community have jumped on the bandwagon to voice their support for Nurul Izzah’s call.
After a week of silence, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow responded to detractors on Wednesday, stressing that the reclamation project would proceed at all costs.
He had said that there was no need to choose between the PSI project and the environment and fishermen.
He had also said that technology and engineering advancements could allow the state to build the PSI and preserve the environment at the same time.
Elaborating, Baljit said DAP leaders had never failed to foam at the mouth whenever the party was accused of being developer friendly or being one which was insensitive to environmental issues.
He added that it was a fact that right from the time DAP gained a stranglehold of Penang in 2008, after the 12th General Election that the fate of the island as far as the green hills — especially around Balik Pulau and Batu Feringhi — was forever sealed.
“Penang has never been the same after that.
“The very politicians who parachuted here from other states and were voted in due to their promises of a ‘greener, cleaner’ Penang, where the peoples’ voices would not be ignored, have now left nothing but destruction to show as their achievement.
“These very outsiders are now telling others not to question them as they do what they please with the island.
“After just three terms in power, DAP has made it clear that people, including NGOs, consumer associations and environmental groups, can make all the noise they want but it is the party which will decide what happens to Penang,” he added.
In its zealousness of turning Penang into a concrete jungle by developing or reclaiming every available area on and around the island, Baljit said, the party leaders had snubbed their noses at anybody and everybody that questioned them.
“They have made it clear that nothing anybody says will stop them from doing what they intend to.
“This can be seen from the blatant approvals given to hill slope clearing for condominiums and other projects (Bukit Botak), the Penang undersea tunnel project, which has yet to see the light of day despite hundreds of millions already ‘paid’ just for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study and the latest, the PSI,” he noted.
He said the Penang government had made it clear that it was not going to listen to anybody objecting to its dream of going full throttle with the PSI project.
“Everyone, from the party secretary-general to the Chief Minister and his executive committee members, have been quick off the mark condemning anyone who voices concerns over how PSI is going to affect the environment, natural resources and livelihood of fishermen in the area.
“This is despite the Chief Minister (Chow) admitting that the project will impact the environment.
“Yet, despite this, his state Infrastructure and Transport Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari did not hesitate once before ticking off Nurul Izzah for questioning PSI and calling for it to be cancelled as it was not financially viable and environmentally destructive,” he said.