BALIK PULAU – Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the federal government will not support the land reclamation project in Penang if it incurs huge losses and affect the income of the people in the areas concerned.
The Prime Minister said the federal government had its own stand in approving a project and not reject it solely on political grounds.
“The 4,500-acre (1,800-hectare) land reclamation project to be implemented by the state government, I think that such a project must meet the requirements, I do not want the federal government’s stand to be misunderstood solely on political motives or grounds.
“We reject a proposal by the state government not because the state government is from the opposition party, this is not our stand,” he said at a gathering organised by Balik Pulau UMNO Division in Balik Pulau Polytechnic here today.
He said, for instance, the decentralisation of many development projects being brought to the state even though Penang is under the leadership of the opposition.
Najib said among the key criteria that must be taken into account before a development project was approved was that it must not have a huge impact and loss to the local community, environmentally friendly and sustainable as well as save public expenditure.
“In the case of this (land reclamation) project, 1,500 fishermen will be affected, so it should not be implemented.
“Fishermen, don’t worry, if it does not benefit the people, the federal government will not support the land reclamation project,” he said.
The state government had previously announced the implementation of the 1,800-hectare project in Permatang Damar Laut here valued at RM46 billion to build three artificial islands for development purposes.
Meanwhile in an another development, Najib said the Barisan Nasional (BN) was confident of retaining Balik Pulau, including the three state seats in the Parliamentary constituency in the coming general election.
“I am confident the people of Balik Pulau already know how to vote and use their power when the time comes. At the federal level, we know we must read the hearts of the people in selecting the candidates in tandem with their heart pulse,” he added. – BERNAMA