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Fishermen’s compensation the big question at Penang town hall

Fishermen’s compensation the big question at Penang town hall

Published by The Malaysian Insight • 12/03/2019 • 07:27 pm

The proposed Penang South Reclamation involves the reclamation of three islands off the southern coast of Penang island. Fishermen are concerned that the project will hurt their livelihoods. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, March 12, 2019.


THE proposed Penang South Reclamation (PSR) was the hot topic at today’s town hall between the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry, and fishermen and farmers.


Several fishermen said the project, involving the reclamation of three islands off the southern coast of Penang island, will see them losing their “last best fishing ground”.


Penang Fishermen’s Association chairman Nazri Ahmad said reclamation has been “aggressive” in the state, citing the Seri Tanjung Pinang 1 and 2 projects off the northern coast, and works off Jelutong and Bayan Mutiara.


“Now, we are left with the southern waters, but PSR is coming up there. Does the minister agree with the project?” he said, referring to Salahuddin Ayub.


“If you agree, then the fishermen here ask to be consulted so that we can resolve the issues that will arise. So far, we have not been properly consulted.”


The community previously cited environmental concerns in their objection to PSR, which could potentially destroy fish breeding areas.


However, fisherman Hadith Sidik from Teluk Kumbar, near the proposed PSR site, supports the project, saying it will boost Penang’s economy, and generate jobs and income for the community.


“I believe fishermen object to the project because they are worried about their future. They are concerned about compensation.


“So, we need to know the details. If it is worth it, fishermen will also support the project.”


Salahuddin, who was given a copy of Sahabat Alam Malaysia’s report on the impact of coastal reclamation in the
country, said the ministry is aware of the concerns regarding PSR.


“We are all waiting for the EIA,” he said, referring to the project’s environmental impact assessment report, which has yet to be approved.


Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Salahuddin Ayub says the ministry is aware of fishermen’s concerns regarding PSR. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, March 12, 2019.


He told the press that the PSR issue will be discussed further, and the matter of compensation will be dealt with in due time.


During the town hall, Salahuddin’s deputy, Sim Tze Tzin, gave an assurance that the Fisheries Department will give feedback on the project.


Penang agriculture and agro-based industry exco Dr Afif Bahardin said nobody can answer the question of compensation to fishermen now, as PSR has yet to be approved.


“Fishermen’s input on this matter is important, but at this moment, we can’t say how much compensation will be paid out, or when we plan to start the reclamation.


“The EIA has to be approved, and the project also needs to go through the National Physical Planning Council, chaired by the prime minister, in April.


“We will come back and consult the fishermen further after the necessary approvals are secured.”


PSR, which will provide Penang with additional land for future development, is also the financing model of the Penang Transport Master Plan.


Both projects have been criticised by state civil society groups. – March 12, 2019.


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