Silence over reclamation project irks activists

BN’s silence on the Seri Tanjung Pinang 2 reclamation project has irked activists who say that the opposition coalition in Penang has failed to live up to its role as watchdog to oversee major developments in the state.

Social activist Anil Netto said, “BN’s stoic silence on Phase 2 of the project’s Detailed Environment Impact Assessment (DEIA) is glaring. But why the silence?”

Anil opined that one possibility for BN’s silence is that a federal government-linked company (GLC), Sime Darby Berhad, has taken a 32 percent interest in E&O Berhad.

E&O is supposed to hand over more than 100 acres of super-prime reclaimed land to the state government, which in turn will hand it over to tunnel developer, Zenith Consortium BUCG, as “compensation” for financing the feasibility study, design, and construction of the tunnel, Anil noted.

“So Penang BN is unlikely to want to mess around with a federal GLC’s vested interest,” the former accountant-turned-writer said on his well-known blog.

“The other possibility stems from the fact that Phase 2 of Seri Tanjung Pinang is intricately linked to the tunnel project,” he added.

Meanwhile, state Gerakan secretary Oh Tong Keong denied that the party has failed to play its role as an opposition party, nor has it kept silent on issues that concern the public.

“Actually, we have formed a committee to follow up and study various issues in Penang. For instance, issues like Swedish furniture company Ikea’s investment and land purchase in Batu Kawan,” Oh said.

‘Not the proper time’

“But we need to gather more information, and will reveal them when the time comes,” added the former state Gerakan Youth chief.


Oh also said that this was not the proper time to speak about the Pakatan state government.

Based on the party’s previous experiences, most Penangites do not share, nor does their thinking resonate with what party leaders are saying, Oh lamented.

“For example, like when we spoke on the opening of the Penang Second Bridge, we just wanted to remind the state government to take measures to ease the traffic jam in nearby areas, but instead we were attacked and criticised by the public.

“Some say we have not reconciled yet with our defeat during the last general election, saying we simply want to say something to tarnish the state government’s image,” he said.

“Although the right time will come (to attack the state government), perhaps in six months to one year’s time; we will still do what is necessary at the moment,” he added.

Oh also refuted that BN had chosen not to mess around with a GLC’s vested interest in the reclamation project.

He denied facing any pressure or having issued any instruction to stop talking about the issue.

Meanwhile, the Department of Environment had announced that the DEIA display of the project will be extended by another two weeks, until March 7.

The public can submit their feedback by March 14, and details of the matter have been published on the DOE official website.





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