Media Statement by Penang Infrastructure Corporation
7th February 2021
Responding to Pen Mutiara and Penang Forum
We would like to reply to the expected responses from Pen Mutiara and Penang Forum regarding the progress of the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project, published in the New Straits Times and The Vibes on 5th and 6th February 2021 respectively. The following points are grouped into related categories raised by the two groups.
Social Impact Management Plan (SIMP)
As already been made known previously, we have met with Pen Mutiara on 23 October 2020 and presented the SIMP packages that are beneficial to the fishermen to the group. We have requested them to engage the fishermen and provide feedback to us should there be any amendment required.
Upon learning that Pen Mutiara has not engaged, informed, and collected feedback from the fishermen after more than two months, we had another meeting with them on 28 December 2020 to get the latest update. During that meeting, Pen Mutiara has remarked that they reject any further discussion on the SIMP.
In order to protect the welfare of the fishermen, whom Pen Mutiara has failed to engage and represent, we have decided to reach out to the fishermen directly. We have received feedback from the two fishermen engagement centres that many fishermen are agreeable with the SIMP packages.
Sustainability of PSR
The PSR has minimal impact to the fishery activity as the project reserves waterway or channel for fishermen to continue their fishing activity. The popular fishing areas are beyond the site earmarked for PSR. It is factually wrong to say that the reclamation will stop fishery activity.
The SIMP has also included provision of new boat and engine to enable fishermen to continue with their trade. On top of that, a range of plans related to fishery is also included in the SIMP, for instance new jetties and better facilities to be built for the fishermen. PSR does not stop fishery activity as being falsely stated by the two groups.
The PSR is a sustainable development project that is aligned to the expert reports and climate adaptation recommendations produced by the world’s top authority on climate change, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) ‘Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in A Changing Climate’ and ‘Special Report on Climate Change and Land’.
As PSR has received the conditional approval for the Environmental Impact Assessment, it is legal for the project to proceed as long as all the stated requirements are met. Therefore, the proceeding of PSR is legal and legitimate.
We will continue to reach out directly to the fishermen, without going through a middleman, to ensure the fishermen themselves receive the benefits from the PSR project.
Socioeconomic benefits during Covid-19
The implementation of PSR is especially timely given the economy malaise caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. New job opportunities will be created from the project, with a boost of domestic direct investment pouring into the state. These economic stimuluses will be able to bring sustenance to struggling households to pull through the current crisis.
Furthermore, the reclamation of Island A, for the purpose of developing Industry 4.0, will attract more investment into Penang, create more high-value jobs, and bringing uplift to the local community and contribute to the economic growth of the state and country.
 https://www.nst.com.my/amp/news/nation/2021/02/663433/penang-fishermen-association-questions-psr-reclamation-works-launch-date and https://www.thevibes.com/articles/news/16687/well-do-whatever-it-takes-to-stop-penang-south-reclamation-says-ngo