24 May 2021, George Town
Gerakan Deputy President Oh Tong Keong’s latest statement is a desperate attempt to politicise the Penang South Islands (PSI) project in order to divert attention away from their Perikatan Nasional coalition’s failure to manage the Covid-19 crisis.
In the statement dated 23 May 2021, he alleges that the Penang State Government “lied” about the submission of the Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for the reclamation works, which the Department of Environment (DOE) claims not to have received.
The fact is that the original EMP was delivered to the Department of Environment (DOE) on 6 January 2021. Having not received any response from the DOE, the application was withdrawn on 7 May 2021 for further fine-tuning to ensure compliance to the proposed mitigation measures and environmental offset programmes of the PSI.
The revised EMP is expected to be delivered to DOE in June 2021. Hence, that is why the statement by the DOE on 20 May 2021 states that the EMP has not been submitted.
The Penang State Government is fully committed to ensure that the PSI is designed to adhere to ESG (environmental, social, and governance) standards that are required by the leading global multinational corporations. This will make the PSI a green and sustainable development which will attract the necessary foreign and domestic investment to generate jobs and inject capital into the Penang economy. Such a catalytic project is necessary now more than ever as a recovery driver to reboot our economy especially in the post-Covid-19 environment.
The present engagement between the Penang State Government and the DOE is a professional matter and not a political issue. Gerakan’s attempt to politicise the discussion reveals their desperation amidst the clear failings of the Federal Government to control the pandemic and vaccinate the population.
Zairil Khir Johari
Penang State EXCO for Infrastructure and Transport