LETTER TO THE EDITOR 14 SEPTEMBER 2015
The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) are concerned that the Department of Environment’s (DOE) requirement that the project proponent of three road packages in Penang Island only needs to submit a Preliminary Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) would mean that the public will not have an opportunity to review the EIA report and provide their feedback.
The EIA consultant studying the socio-economic impacts of the Penang Major Roads and Third Link, Penang had conducted a Focus Group Discussion with CAP and SAM on 28 August 2015 with the aim of getting our perception regarding the proposed projects.
CAP and SAM had voiced our objections of the proposed road projects under Phase 1A Package 1, 2, 3 and the undersea tunnel project in Phase 1B Package 4 justifying our objections based on aspects of environment, social, policy and no necessity for the projects. We were informed by the EIA consultant that a Preliminary EIA report has to be submitted for the following projects:
Package 1: North Coastal Paired Road Tanjung Bungah-Teluk Bahang
Package 2: Air Itam – Lebuhraya Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu By-Pass
Package 3: Persiaran Gurney–Lebuhraya Tun Dr. Lim Chung Eu By-Pass
In the PEIA procedure, there is no element of public participation and this means that the public will not be able to provide comments compared to the DEIA procedure. CAP and SAM had expressed that a Detailed EIA report for the proposed projects should be submitted considering the magnitude of the project, environmental impacts and significant effects to the lives of the people because it involves routes through residential areas, commercial areas, hills and areas of public interest.
It is not sufficient for the EIA consultants to get the views from several NGOs and a small number of people. Moreover, there was mass objection when the Penang Outer Ring Road was first mooted.
Hence, we urge the Director General of DOE, Director of DOE Penang and the EIA Assessment Division of DOE to take necessary action to ensure a Detailed EIA report for the proposed Penang Major Roads projects is submitted so that the public will have an opportunity to view and provide comments.
S.M. MOHAMED IDRIS
President CAP & SAM