Review the Langkawi New City Project

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Dear Tun Dr. Mahathir,

When nearly 6 million Malaysians voted the Pakatan Harapan coalition into power, we not only voted out the kleptocracy of the previous government, we also voted in a New Malaysia. A Malaysia that was newly committed to the principles of good governance, transparency and democratic ideals as laid out in our Rukunegara. A New Malaysia that rejects the gross malfeasance of the previous government, but also sins of our not too distant past, such as crony capitalism.

Thus, it was with dismay that we heard the news of a massive land reclamation project to be launched on the island of Langkawi - your own constituency - tomorrow (https://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2018/06/01/ting-pek-khiing-to-build-rm30bil-langkawi-new-city-project/. The announcement is surprising considering that there has been no news of any such development being proposed, as well as what the approvals processes have been, the opacity which goes against the principles your government espouses. Further, we are concerned with the fact that the developer in question was also responsible for the environmental and economic disaster that was the Bakun dam project, the ravages of which the Penan people are suffering from to this day.

Last but not least, land reclamation projects, what more those undertaken on a large scale, are notorious for having very negative impacts on the environment, especially in coastal areas. Langkawi’s coastal environment is already fragile. See, for instance:
http://jurcon.ums.edu.my/ojums/index.php/BJoMSA/article/download/985/620 In addition, Langkawi’s own beauty and strength - the ecological diversity that draws so many tourists to the island, are already weakened by overdevelopment, which has had little impact in the local economy save for low-value job opportunities.

While we note that the proposal has passed the EIA, we also note that under the previous administration, EIAs as well as other development-related impact analyses could be non-transparent, open to regulatory capture, and biased towards the developer.

Hence, we strongly urge that the Langkawi reclamation project is put on hold and another EIA - this time transparently conducted, with the involvement of independent experts - is conducted.

Please let us not repeat the mistakes of our past.

 



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