KEPALA BATAS (June 13): Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican has asked the Penang government to provide information on the industrial sector to be developed at the high-technology industrial area on a 339-hectare site in Jalan Tun Hamdan Sheikh Tahir.

"We want an industry based on high technology because we do not want to depend on unskilled workers. Most of the [unskilled] workers are to be placed in centralised labour quarter (CLQ) in the industrial area and it is easy to understand, [there will be] influx of workers from outside, namely foreigners.

"I remain with the stance of not accepting the CLQ and have even stated the matter (disagreement) verbally to the mayor [of Penang City Council] and the project developer because the area (Jalan Tun Hamdan Sheikh Tahir) is an old residential settlement and traditional village, so it is very inappropriate [for the construction of CLQ]," he told reporters after launching the eSports Youth Cabin on Saturday.

Reezal Merican said the ministry would give emphasis to the industry to be developed in the industrial area and would not allow any "backyard industry" as it could open the door to the influx of foreigners there.

He said the relevant parties should also carry out a social impact assessment first so that in the end the goal of carrying out the project should be understood and agreed by the residents in the affected areas as well as the people as a whole.

Previously, residents from more than 10 housing estates near the project held a peaceful protest against the proposed construction of the CLQ in the area, which would result in the placement of thousands of foreign workers, and proposed that the construction be shifted to the Ara Kuda area in Tasek Gelugor, which is not too far away.

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