GEORGE TOWN, Oct 9 -- A local senior journalist here opined that the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project would provide more opportunities for foreign multinational corporations (MNC) to invest in the state.
R. Rajasekaran noted that the state had undergone many changes and needed another transformation to accommodate demand in the manufacturing industry.
Bayan Lepas in Penang was the only free trade zone in the 70s, yet is now left behind due to lack of land for development, according to him.
"With the world now switching to Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0), which also involves robotics technology and artificial intelligence (AI), Penang needed land to continue drawing foreign investors and enable it to transfer modern technology, thus creating high income employment.
"So the PSR proposed by the state government is timely in tackling the issue of lack of land and providing space for MNCs to flourish in line with technological advancements,” he said at the AnakPinang Talk Penang's Future: New Islands? at Penang Institute last night.
Under the PSR project the state government planned to reclaim 1,821.085ha of sea to build three artificial islands stretching from the south of Penang International Airport to the east around Permatang Damar Laut for the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) project.
PTMP is a state government project costing an estimated RM46 billion, comprising an undersea tunnel connecting the island to the mainland, highways, LRT, monorail and a comprehensive bus network on the island and mainland.
"Penang will regain its place as an industrial powerhouse if the PSR project is allowed to go through," he said.
Meanwhile, Mohd Nasarudin Sultan, a former fisherman in Teluk Kumbar also supported the PSR project saying, it would enhance the livelihood of fishermen in the south of Penang.
According to him, some quarters had tried to instigate the fishermen by claiming that the area was a fish breeding ground.
“It is not,” he asserted, adding the project would in fact help to improve the economy of the fishermen and create more employment opportunities for their families.
“With the state government’s record of helping the needy, I’m confident that the project would serve to develop all fishermen in the area. I hope they won’t reject the project or be influenced by any quarters for the sake of their children,” he added.
On July 4, the Penang state government received environmental impact assessment (EIA) approval for PSR from the Environment Department
The state government on July 16 also revealed 72 conditions set by the department in approving the EIA report for PSR.