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Lim is not sincere in protecting the environment

28 Jan 2015, 5:09 PM
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Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has been taken to task over his remarks regarding preservation of Pulau Jerejak and Bukit Jambul as forest reserves.

Penang Gerakan Youth Legal & Public Complaints Bureau Chief Jason Loo said Lim was not sincere in wanting to protect the environment with his remarks that “as long as everyone upholds the greener mentality, he or she will take care of the natures naturally”.

Loo said it is the duty and responsibility of Lim, who helms the state government, to protect Penang’s environment, and making it sure that the environment, including forest reserves, is greatly protected.
“Our environment cannot be protected by just his verbal words such “as long as everyone upholds the greener mentality,” Loo added.

Loo asserted that Lim’s remarks clearly showed that the state government is reluctant to protect the natural environment and “is thoroughly not sincere in wanting to preserve the forest reserves of Pulau Jerejak and Bukit Jambul in Penang.

“Penang Gerakan Youth is sad and upset over Lim’s remarks which also shows that the state government’s slogan of “Greener Cleaner Penang” is just a bluffing feel-good and empty one,” said Loo at a press conference held at the Penang Gerakan head office in Jalan Macalister on Wednesday.

Lim, who is also DAP secretary-general, also reportedly said that even “if he makes Bukit Jambul and Pantai Jerejak the forest reserves, the natures would be destroyed at the hands of those who do not have environmental friendly awareness.”

Lim also reportedly said that should the state government gazette Bukit Jambul and Pantai Jerejak as forest reserves, the procedure of any future development may become complicated.

Loo likened Lim’s remarks of the state government which can take action against the illegal parking car drivers without any drafted laws. If we interpret Lim’s comment on Pulau Jerejak, it is like “one will not breach the traffic regulations as long as he or she upholds the attitude to comply with it.”

On the other hand, imposing more traffic regulations is useless for those who do not see the importance of the traffic regulations. As such, can we say that Lim’s driver who has often been caught parking illegally is one of those who do not see the importance of the traffic regulations?

Loo questioned: Does Lim’s argument tantamount to turning Penang into a lawless state with the Chief Minister making all the calls? Is Lim bound by the laws?

Loo claimed that the concept suggested by Lim actually led to “Botak Hills” incidents. “Even DAP’s state assemblyman for Tanjung Bungah Teh Yee Cheu had protested over the Botak Hills incidents, but the state government had not looked into the matter seriously, monitored the incidents and prevented the same incidents from repeating.

Loo said that gazetting Pulau Jerejak as a forest reserve is not a new issue which Penang’s opposition leader Datuk Jahara had in November 2014 submitted a written question in the state assembly.

Back then, YB Phee Boon Poh answered on behalf of the Chief Minister that, Pulau Jerejak, a forest area of 295 hectares has been identified to be gazetted as permanent forest reserve. The relevant gazetting procedure will be executed when the state land committee completes the overall development plan.

Phee’s reply has clearly shown that all land matters to have Pulau Jerejak gazetted as a forest reserve are in progress. What surprised us is that in less than two months, the Chief Minister changed his stance on the issue completely. Obviously the state government is not sincere in protecting and guarding the natural environment. The “Greener Cleaner Penang” slogan is just an empty talk.

Loo shares the view that Penangites do not wish to see the state being damaged and destroyed. He hopes the rumour that the state government is destroying Pulau Jerejak, and reclaiming more lands for huge development will not become a fact.

Loo claimed it was the Pakatan Rakyat state government which had shown a lack of urgency on such an important matter. This showed their weaknesses in administration and a lack of urgency on their part to gazette Pulau Jerejak although Pakatan Rakyat had governed Penang for more than six years.

This again shows that the state government is not sincere in protecting the natural environment, otherwise it would not have taken so long to gazette Pulau Jerejak as a forest reserve.

According to Loo, during the Barisan Nasional’s tenure in the state, former Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, EXCO members Dr. Teng Hock Nan and Teng Chang Yeow had earlier revealed that there are foreign big corporations planning to run big-scale tourism project at Pulau Jerejak.

As such, Loo reckoned that if the state government does not gazette Pulau Jerejak as a state park and enhance the protection, the island may be the target for some awaiting investors.

Jason believed that the PR state government is very clear on the above issue, but he was puzzled why the state government did not speed up to make Pulau Jerjak a forest reserve?

Loo hoped that if the PR government has a new plan for Pulau Jerejak, it should let the public know about it instead of delaying on the gazette.

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