Penang Forum committee member, Dr Lim Mah Hui says the assessment should be conducted professionally and scientifically. NSTP/ZUHAINY ZULKIFFLI

GEORGE TOWN: Penang Forum, a coalition of environmental non-governmental organisations, has urged the Environment Department (DoE) to appoint an independent technical review committee to assess the Pan Island Link 1 (PIL 1) environmental impact assessment (EIA) report.

Forum committee member Dr Lim Mah Hui said the assessment should be conducted professionally and scientifically, without political pressure.

He said the independent technical review committee should not include proponents of the project.

“There are serious issues with the EIA, which is pending approval. Due attention must be given because the EIA is flawed,” he said today.

“We certainly don’t want the EIA to be quietly approved without addressing the issues and the objections that we raised.

“We want the DoE to appoint an independent technical review committee to conduct a thorough assessment.”

Lim said the EIA report had failed to spell out the rationale for PIL 1 as findings showed that the highway project would reach its maximum capacity in 2030, about five to seven years after its completion.

“Also not spelled out is the medical cost as a result of the pollution to be encountered in the course of contruction or even the social cost due to its impact on the community,” he added.

Another committee member Khoo Salma Nasution urged DoE to provide justification if it decided to set aside any of the feedback on the EIA report.

“There must be transparency, as advocated by the government. We have collected some 2,000 objection letters against PIL 1 and sent them to DoE. All these have to be taken seriously,” she added.

The PIL 1 highway project is a key component in the multi-billion ringgit Penang Transport Master Plan.

Penang Forum had raised concerns about mega infrastructure projects in the state, including PTMP, with the Council of Eminent Persons, and called for an independent review.

A group of concerned Penangites, calling themselves Beautiful Penang, have started an online petition for the cancellation of the PIL 1 project, saying that they were shocked by the impact of the proposed highway project after reviewing the EIA report.

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