Lawmaker urges Penang state administration to gazette Middle Bank patch

20 Apr 2015 / 21:11 H.

    GEORGE TOWN: A Penang government lawmaker has urged the administration to gazette the Middle Bank, a patch of rare seagrass just off the first Penang Bridge, a protected area.
    Tanjung Bungah assemblyman Teh Yee Cheu said the move to identify the 125ha site as an area for reclamation in the Penang Structure Plan 2020 (PSP) was a regrettable one.
    He called on the state to degazette the area as reclaimable and regazatte it as a marine conservation site.
    Chiding the state for seemingly dragging its feet in reviewing the PSP which began in 2012 after it was gazetted in 2007, he said three years was long and any move to reclaim the area could jeapordised marine life as seagrass beds were the habitat and breeding grounds for various marine animals.
    "This place should be a marine protected area," he told a press conference after leading reporters to visit the site.
    The Middle Bank site is only one of two sites in the peninsula where seagrass is found to be growing with the other in Johor.
    theSun in March, 2014, had highlighted the issue after Teh had raised the alarm when he claimed a request for proposal (RFP) was issued to reclaim the area.
    Teh voiced his fears over speculation that reclamation rights for the Middle Bank would be given as payment for the RM27billion Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).
    He described any such proposal as "selfish" and urged for other ideas to finance the plan which proposes a rail-based mass transport system and an undersea tunnel.
    "The administration could identify other areas for reclamation instead of Middle Bank," he said, adding he would again raise the matter at the state legislature session next month.
    Meanwhile, fisherman Johari Md Noor, 64, decried any attempt to reclaim the area saying the loss of breeding grounds could negatively affect catch as the place was a rich source of shellfish.
    "I can collect between 10kg and 20kg of bamboo clams here," he added.

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