GEORGE TOWN: Non-governmental organisations and Barisan Nasional are heaving a sigh of relief now that the RM75 billion offshore development project in Balik Pulau is being called off.
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) honorary secretary Meenakshi Raman was happy with the decision.
"However, this should have been done in the beginning. It is a shame it was done only after it was highlighted by the media," she said.
"We are pleased that the state took our complaints seriously. It is better late than never."
SAM and its sister organisation, the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP), were among the NGOs consulted by project consultant Nik Zamri Majid in October.
She said the two organisations had submitted complaint letters to the consultant and state agencies after they learnt about the proposal. Malaysian Nature Society (Penang chapter) adviser D. Kanda Kumar welcomed the decision to scrap the project, saying it incurred too much investment.
"Even Singapore, which has limited land, has not come up with such an idea. The cost of the project is actually three times the cost of reclaiming land, let alone the environmental impact. We don't need such projects here," he said.
State BN chief Teng Chang Yeow said this was yet another attempt at "camouflage" by the state government.
"To learn that the project was to take place after the general election makes one wonder what else the state is hiding from the people," he said.
"Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the project does not exist but letters were already sent to the stakeholders by the consultant. The project did not appeal to people's logic."
Although he was relieved the project has been scrapped, BN would go on a campaign to tell Penangites "the truth about the Pakatan government".