Let Gurney Drive Be: Stop Seri Tanjung Pinang 2 (STP2) Reclamation

The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) are concerned for the future of Penang’s coastal resources. The Seri Tanjung Pinang Phase II (STP2) land reclamation project comes at a high price in terms of its adverse impact on the coastal and marine environment.

A report in the Business Times of 8 May 2015 states that besides the 307.5 hectares reclamation for the STP2 project, another 53 hectares of the Gurney Drive foreshore will be reclaimed. This 53ha land bank is being reclaimed by Eastern & Oriental Berhad (E&O) the project proponent of STP2 upon the request of the Penang government.  Is this an inducement for approving the mammoth STP2 reclamation project?

CAP’s 27 August 2014 letter to the Department of Environment (DOE) debunking the responses by the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) consultants of the project to public comments of the EIA was only replied by the DOE on 15 April 2015. That too after many reminders were sent and intervention by the Public Complaints Bureau. The response received from the DOE was a general statement understating our concerns on the environmental impacts and economic costs and the DOE basically passed the buck to the State Government.

CAP and SAM had earlier consulted two staff scientists of Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide U.S. regarding this project. Dr. Heidi Weiskel and Dr. Mark Chernaik had stated that coastal development is by definition not sustainable, as these areas are subject to tide, current, wave, and wind forces that make them vulnerable to erosion, rising sea levels, and storms. To protect against these forces, major changes to the intertidal and nearshore habitats are required. In the case of the STP2 development, those habitats will just be lost, and replaced with artificial islands for human residence. 

In addition to this, CAP’s numerous letters to the State Secretary of Penang regarding the source of 33.1 million m3 sand and 2 million tonnes of rock still remains unanswered.  Does this mean that the State is not concerned of the adverse impacts of sand mining and rock quarrying as long as it gets free land to swap for other projects?

CAP and SAM calls on the State government to reflect the impacts of development on the environment which would subsequently affect the people.  Reinstate Gurney Drive to its former glory and not reclaim it. No development is better than bad development.


Press Comment, 8 May 2015