MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Wednesday, March 30, 2022

EIA report on Muar reclamation project inadequate - NGO


Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) has called for the rejection of the Maharani Energy Gateway project after claiming the quality of its environmental impact assessment (EIA) report is far from adequate and cannot be approved.

Among the reasons cited was the EIA’s failure to take into account rising sea-level projections for Malaysia in accordance with climate change.

“The EIA has failed to assess the potential impact of tidal intrusion due to sea-level rise and climate change and also whether the proposed project will cause saline intrusion along Sungai Muar.

“The problem of flooding and stagnant water in the study area is a common phenomenon. One of the recreational sites there, Pantai Mesra Seri Menanti, is already facing erosion due to impacts from waves during high tide,” SAM said in a statement.

The environmental non-governmental organisation (NGO) added that the nearby Kampung Seri Menanti has been experiencing inland flooding whenever there is a high tide phenomenon.

Given sea level rise and climate change, the proposed project may further aggravate the situation, the NGO said.

It slammed the EIA report for deducing that the impact of reclamation activities on mangroves will be insignificant based on a hydraulic stimulation study on the proposed works.

It also called the water level impact assessment questionable.

SAM said the EIA cannot be approved if it contradicted the gazetted Muar District Local Plan and Johor State Structure Plan.

They claimed a reclamation project of this nature required clearance from the National Physical Planning Council as required under section 20B of the Town and Country Planning Act 1976.

Affecting environment, fisherfolk

According to the NGO, the EIA also failed to take into account access to the sea for fisherfolk, permanent loss of seabed habitat, a completed marine risk assessment study, a comprehensive economic valuation assessment, and a cost-benefit analysis.

The EIA also proposed the removal of mangrove trees, to which SAM highly objected on the grounds that mangroves help mitigate climate change.

The EIA report, which was initially made public on Maharani Energy Gateway project’s official website, has since been taken down after Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman raised concerns about the project.

Malaysiakini previously reported that the Maharani Energy Gateway project owned by Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar could begin as early as this year.

It aims to create an energy hub and a deep seaport.

It will involve creating three man-made islands covering an area of 1,295 hectares, about a quarter of the size of Putrajaya.

The EIA for the project states: "Fisherfolk who routinely fish in the affected area will have to find other locations."

The continuation of fishing activities was said to involve an increase in costs due to travelling a further distance to alternate fishing grounds.

The report said it surveyed 101 fisherfolk about the project and the majority (49 respondents) had no opinion while another 23 agreed with the proposal.

The project's gross development value is estimated at RM99 billion over 10 years and is projected to generate 26,769 jobs. - Mkini

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