BALIK PULAU: Prime Minister Najib Razak says the federal government will not support the land reclamation project in Penang if it incurs huge losses and affects the income of the people in the areas concerned.
The prime minister said the federal government had its own criteria when it came to approving projects and would not reject something solely on political grounds.
“The 1,800-hectare land reclamation project to be implemented by the state government must meet certain requirements. I do not want the federal government’s stand to be misunderstood.
“We reject a proposal not because the state government is from the opposition party, this is not our way,” he said at a gathering organised by the Balik Pulau Umno division and held at the Balik Pulau Polytechnic here today.
Najib said among the key criteria that must be taken into account before a development project was approved, was that it must not leave a big negative impact or result in any kind of loss for the local community. The project must also be environmentally friendly and sustainable as well as save public expenditure.
“In the case of this (land reclamation) project, 1,500 fishermen will be affected, so the project should not be implemented.
“Fishermen, don’t worry. If it does not benefit the people, the federal government will not support the land reclamation project,” he said.
The Penang government previously announced the implementation of the 1,800-hectare project in Permatang Damar Laut here valued at RM46 billion to build three artificial islands for development purposes.
Meanwhile in an another development, Najib said the Barisan Nasional (BN) was confident of retaining Balik Pulau, including the three state seats in the parliamentary constituency in the coming general election.
“I am confident the people of Balik Pulau already know how to vote and how use their power when the time comes.
“At the federal level, we know we must read the hearts of the people in selecting our candidates,” he added.