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News | South China Morning Post | Can the Penang Reclamation project be stopped?

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Critics say the multibillion-dollar island-building scheme, also known as BiodiverCity, will devastate marine life and may be rendered obsolete by coronovirus-fuelled work-from-home practices.

When contacted by Norman Goh of the SCMP, Jia Yaw made the following observations:

"The scale of the PSR is even bigger than Johor’s Forest City. Like Johor, the Penang government believes that a mega project like the PSR will be a major revenue generator. It is taking a well-worn page from the economic development playbook. But I am disappointed that the state government does not seem to have reflected much on the importance of socio-economic resilience and sustainable development more than a year into this pandemic. The whole project rests on the shoulders of Gamuda and 2 other property developers. The development plan does not appear to see the fishermen and various other local communities as drivers of balanced economic growth and wellbeing. Instead, this mega project will require them to end their work and disrupt their lives. This seems just like a tragic replay of the devastation of the livelihoods of coastal fishermen in Tanjung Piai, Johor when the Port of Tanjung Pelepas mega project was carried out decades ago. I believe the EIA report states that the project will cause irreparable harm to the ecosystem.

If we wish to pursue development in which we leave no one behind, and we do, we must embrace new pathways towards balanced growth. It is high time governments and planners realise that the overdraft mentality to economic development (destroy first, make money then perhaps fix some of it) is not only grossly inefficient, but inequitable. Well-being cannot be purchased with economic wealth alone. It cannot be achieved if we continue to perpetuate patterns of growth that are fundamentally unjust."

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