φThe Environment and Natural Resources Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Jaafar said he will not approve Penang state government’s proposed land reclamation project.
As expected, the UMNO-BN federal government will do its best to reject the reclamation project by Penang state government.
For one simple reason: UMNO-BN does not want the opposition-led state to excel.
The project if approved will fund the Light-Rail-Transit, solve traffic congestion, boost local economy, and provide more land for Penangites.
In other words, the project will bring huge progress to Penang.
Politically, UMNO-BN’s future will be affected by the success of the project. If the project is successfully implemented, UMNO-BN will lose its hope for a possible comeback to rule Penang. Moreover, other states will be inspired to abandon them.
Economically, Penang will be more independent from the federal, able to build the state with less limitations. Penangites will not need to live by the mercy, or forever be deceived by empty promises, from the federal.
Socially, Penangites will have a much better public transport system than the current one, which is entirely controlled by the federal. The UMNO-BN government wants a Penang that is forever plagued by complaints over the traffic condition so that they can continue to bait Penangites with empty promises, like how they have done so at least three times in the past.
Despite all that the Penang state government does to compensate the affected fishermen or minimise the environmental impact, the UMNO-BN federal government will continue to give dubious excuses to reject the proposal.
The most recent one is that the reclamation will affect international border, as if reclamation by other states like a Melaka does not. The fact is that the proposed reclamation is toward the south, within the border of Penang state, not in the direction towards Indonesia, in the west. The federal government should stop giving lame excuses.
Joshua Woo Sze Zeng is a councillor at the Municipal Council of Seberang Perai (MPSP)