Is the end of Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) nigh?
Media statement by DAP Johor State Chairman and MP for Kluang Liew Chin Tong in Kluang on 30th June 2014
The shocking massive reclamation project outside Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) is threatening the existence of the port and I call on the new Minister of Transport Liow Tiong Lai to take a stand on behalf of the Ministry and the Government of Malaysia.
On Saturday 28th June, I visited the illegal reclamation work of Pulau Ubah aka Forest City near the Second Link crossing in the Straits of Johor. Together in our group for the visit were DAP Parliamentary Leader and MP for Gelang Patah Lim Kit Siang, DAP Johor State Assembly Opposition Leader Dr. Boo Cheng Hau, DAP Johor Environmental Affairs Spokesperson Cheo Yee How, as well as representatives from Parti Keadilan Rakyat, Tan Yen Ming and Vincent Seah.
It was Kit Siang’s second visit since 15th February 2014. It was a shock to him as the size of the reclaimed island was now probably 25-fold what he saw in February.
PTP is located west of Forest City. PTP is now undergoing expansion by building towards the east. (Please see attached map) According to official land search documents obtained from Johor Bahru Land Office, the government created a 5,000 acre land title on yet-to-be reclaimed coastal waters in the Johor Straits close to the Second Link. Such large reclamation work in a narrow straits will inevitably increase sediments and pose risk to the operation of PTP when the sea becomes shallower.
Is Forest City putting the future of PTP at risk? Our concern is not so much on the profitability of PTP, which is another business owned by UMNO-linked tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al Bukhary.
From what we can see during our visit, PTP is certainly under threat.
Critical as we are towards the way Syed Mokhtar build his monopolistic business empire, we are acutely aware of the importance of a functioning port to local businesses, large and small, in Johor and beyond. We do not want to see thousands of businesses suffering shipment delays and losses only because ships movement to and from PTP are impeded by shallow waters as a consequent of coastal reclamation.
Sources from Ministry of Transport revealed to us that the Ministry was unhappy about the way reclamation is ongoing and has written officially to Johor State Government to express their concern.
I call on the newly appointed Minister of Transport, Liow Tiong Lai, to take proactive steps to ensure port operations work for businesses and if there is indeed risk posed by reclamation to the future of PTP, he has to take decisive actions to protect national interest.
Liew Chin Tong