KUALA LUMPUR: The controversial reclamation project, known as Forest City and located near the Johor Second Link, is “threatening the existence” of the Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP), said DAP Member of Parliament for Kluang Liew Chin Tong.
DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, who was present during a group visit to the reclamation site on June 28, noted that the size of the reclaimed island was 25 times larger than it was during his previous visit on Feb 15.
Citing documents obtained from the Johor Baru Land Office, Liew said the government had created a 5,000-acre (2, 023ha) land title in the Johor Straits close to the Second Link.
“Such large reclamation work in a narrow strait will inevitably increase sediment and pose risk to the operation of PTP when the sea becomes shallower.
“We do not want to see thousands of businesses suffering shipment delays and losses only because ships’ movements to and from PTP are impeded by shallow waters as a consequence of coastal reclamation,” he said.
Quoting sources in the Ministry of Transport, Liew said that the ministry was dissatisfied with the way the reclamation was being carried out.
The ministry had written a letter to the Johor government expressing its concerns over the project.
Liew urged the new Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai to ensure that there are no disruptions to port operations.
He proposed that Liow take “decisive action to protect national interest” if there are any risks posed by the reclamation work.
Singapore has raised concerns over any possible trans-boundary impact from the project, while other concerns include the potential environmental impact arising from the land reclamation.
Meanwhile, Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin was reported as saying that the reclamation work would not impact the environment.
Forest City is a multi-billion dollar project jointly developed by Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd and Johor’s economic development arm, Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor.
Country Garden Holdings is a China-based developer which focuses on building high-end properties. The company is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on July 1, 2014.
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