Reclamation: A Ticking Time Bomb
Date: Monday, September 16 2019 (Hari Malaysia)
Time: 14:00-17:00 p.m.
Place: RECSAM (Seameo Hall), Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, 11700 Pulau Pinang
Organised by: Penang Forum
Languages: English and Malay
“It is serious enough for the state authorities to know that they are jumping into the unknown. Worse still, Penang’s environment is like a volcano waiting to erupt. We are treading on a ticking time bomb…” – Prof Zulfigar Yasin
Coastal reclamation appears to be a mainstream development strategy in Malaysia, being currently pursued in nine states, despite the known adverse impacts of reclamation and sand-mining on the marine environment and fisheries. In Penang, fish kill incidents triggered by Typhoon Lekima have already raised the pollution alert from cumulative complaints about recent reclamation projects. If the proposed Penang South Reclamation project goes ahead, hundreds of inshore fishermen will lose their fishing grounds and their livelihood.
Originally mooted as a means to pay for the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP), the revised justification for the three islands is now to serve Penang’s future growth. Will Penang be able to come up with a more realistic and affordable Penang Transport Master Plan and therefore avoid reclamation altogether? With growing awareness of rising sea levels, should Penang take the risk of creating more low-lying lands? Or should Penang’s future growth simply be redirected from the over-developed Penang Island to Seberang Perai, where development is much needed? Under the banner of Penang Tolak Tambak, 200 fishermen from Penang and Perak marched to Parliament on 11 July, together with Penang Forum, to stop the Penang South Reclamation. Consequently, the debate in Parliament has brought this issue to national attention. What is the real reason the Penang state government is so adamant to go ahead with this controversial and devastating reclamation project? Let’s discuss at this public forum.