Environment: Penang Forum supports statements by two Aduns

Penang Forum welcomes and supports the recent public statements by Pulau Tikus Adun YB Yap Soo Huey and Tanjung Bungah Adun YB Teh Yee Cheu on the Seri Tanjung Pinang Phase 2/Penang tunnel project and the threat of reclamation of the Middle Bank, a vast seagrass bed between the Penang Bridge and Sungai Pinang that is home to turtles and dugongs .

Malaysian Insider report on Yap’s statement.

The Star report on Teh’s statement.

Penang Forum is disappointed with the Penang state government’s determined obsession to reclaim and develop land on the island with little or no vision on sustainability for the future.

YB Yap raised very valid concerns on the sustainability of the mega STP2 and Penang tunnel project, which falls directly within her constituency in the Pulau Tikus, Jalan Kelawei and Gurney Drive area.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has said that the tunnel will help to reduce traffic congestion on the island. This is a moot point as the Penang Transport Master Plan has placed the tunnel as the lowest priority of needs for Penang between now and 2030. At worst, a new tunnel will bring more traffic to the Gurney Drive area in addition to the estimated 202,500 more people the STP2 will support.

Penang needs more pedestrian (and OKU) friendly access and an efficient public transport system.

Sadly, the Penang state government chose to swap expensive land in exchange to build a not much needed tunnel. The Chief Minister has said that the state government was creative to build a tunnel link which does not need the approval of the federal government.

We are sure the Penang state government can be equally creative to implement and enforce traffic improvement plans which do not require federal approval. The “moving people, not cars” vision internationally recognised by traffic experts all over the world does not seem to gel with this state government’s vision for an efficient transport system for the future of Penang.

YB Teh Yee Cheu of Tanjung Bungah, a consistent environmental lover and activist, has called on the state government to preserve the Penang seagrass bed at the Middle Bank, off the Penang Bridge, as a conservation and heritage area. This seagrass bed is a natural home to many turtles and dugongs. It was reported that the Penang Development Corporation (PDC) has called for a Request For Proposal (RFP) to reclaim the area.

The Chief Minister has responded that the reclaimation will only go on if the EIA report permits it. This is not a policy statement and a non-commital response from the Chief Minister.

Penang Forum calls on the Chief Minister and the Penang state government to stop all intentions to reclaim the Middle Bank and to preserve and conserve it as a natural habitat for marine conservation.

Penang Forum Steering Committee
11 March 2014

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