USM, PENANG, 1 July 2016 – Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), E&O through its subsidiary E&O Property (Penang) Sdn. Bhd. (EOPP), Macro Dimension Concrete Sdn. Bhd. (MDC) and University of Plymouth (UP) United Kingdom are collaborating to spearhead an eco-engineering research project that will provide an improved habitat for species along the coastlines on Penang island.
According to USM Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Industry and Community Network) Professor Dr. Abdul Rahman Mohamed, who represented the USM Vice-Chancellor at the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) signing ceremony here yesterday, said USM is very pleased to lend its expertise to this collaboration to jointly develop the first-of-its-kind, eco-engineering project in Penang.
Abdul Rahman said, there are two sub-projects under the “Eco-Engineering Design with Nature” research; the first sub-project is called the Flower Pot Project (FPP) while the second one is called the World Harbour Project (WHP).
“Both sub-projects will be led by Dr. Chee Su Yin from USM’s Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies (CEMACS) and supported by a team of local and international expertise which includes Dr. Louise Firth (University of Plymouth), Dr. Cheah Chee Ban (USM) and Assoc. Professor Dr. Aileen Tan (USM),” he said. He added that the whole research project was aimed at creating a new habitat on artificial coastal structures, encourage species colonisation via new habitat creation and assist in mitigation of impacts from coastal development on native flora and fauna.
“The Flower Pot Project (FPP) will see eco-designed concrete flower pots attached to the seawall, creating man-made rock pools to encourage recruitment of organisms.
“The World Harbour Project (WHP), on the other hand, aims to ascertain suitable and successful substrates and species for green engineering restoration of harbours and ports through instalments of settlement plates transplanted with oysters.
“The team will start their work on this pilot project from the coastline along Straits Quay Marina, Tanjung Tokong before moving to the other areas in Penang,” Abdul Rahman explained.
The FPP will be jointly-funded by USM (RM100,000), EOPP (RM75,000) and MDC (RM25,000) while the WHP will be funded by EOPP (RM8,000) and UP (RM8,400).
Both projects, which commenced upon signing of the MoA among the parties, will take two years to complete.
EOPP Group Corporate Strategy Director Chai Kim-Lyn said, “The Group is honoured to participate in this pioneering initiative within the region, especially when it involved collaborating in the area of research with a prestigious public institution of higher education such as USM.”
“EOPP’s involvement is an extension of the existing eco-themed Think Green Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme in Penang that the Group continues to implement and foster in line with our efforts towards sustainable development and community engagement” Kim-Lyn said.
Meanwhile, MDC Chief Operating Officer Leow Khang Heng said the green project was in line with its company’s CSR mission.
“It is our honour to be working together with USM and EOPP and we look forward to many more successful partnerships in the near future,” he said.
Dr. Louise Firth said this collaboration provides an opportunity to exercise eco-engineering techniques in a tropical setting which has not been done much previously.
“The scale of development gives a real work opportunity to trial eco-engineering on an ecosystem scale and there is real opportunity to put Penang on the map in terms of green agenda and sustainable development as long as developers talk to us and allow us to work with them,” Firth said.
Also present to sign the MoA were the USM School of Housing, Building and Planning Dean, Professor Dr. Aldrin Abdullah; and CEMACS Director Professor Dr. Ahmad Sofiman Othman.