18 Aug Most fisherman operate outside PSI reclamation site, critics overreacting: state GLC
Published by The Vibes • 15/08/2022
BUTTERWORTH – Many of the Balik Pulau fishermen get their catch from areas outside the Penang Southern Islands (PSI) reclamation project site, a state government-owned company said.
This was claimed by Penang Infrastructure Corporation (PIC) chief executive officer Datuk Seri Farizan Darus, who said it showed an “overreaction” on the part of some quarters opposing the megaproject.
That most fishermen from Balik Pulau fish away from the project site is also an indication that the ecological impact of the project will be largely muted, he added.
“South Penang Island fishermen usually catch fish outside the PSI site,” he told The Vibes recently at an event at Padang Benggali here.
The PSI project involves reclamation of up to 4,500 acres piece of land to make three islands off Batu Maung.
Among the main grouses against the megaproject is the impact it would cause to inshore fishermen here. The majority of Penang’s fishing community operates mostly inshore.
But Farizan’s remarks are considered an eye-opener, in addition to satellite imagery of the PSI area showing only limited fishing activity there.
At the event to present four new speedboats to the Padang Benggali fishing community, Farizan told fishermen present that PIC would appoint more boat makers to deliver new speedboats to those affected by the reclamation.
This is to ensure the vessels can be completed in six months after the reclamation works receive the green light to begin from both the federal and local authorities.
With the speedboats, fishermen would still be able to fish during and after the PSI reclamation, Farizan said.
The presentation of speedboats at Padang Benggali was done by Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Seri Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman on behalf of the project delivery partner, SRS Consortium Sdn Bhd, at the Fibra Marine Manufacturing and Trading facility.
Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman (centre, white shirt) with the fishermen and other stateofficials. – Penang Infrastructure Company Facebook pic, August 15, 2022
Zakiyuddin said that SRS and the state will work hard to ensure that the fishermen are not adversely affected by the reclamation.
To ensure they earn better income, Zakiyuddin said fishermen must also learn new skills in fishing as well as use new technology and equipment.
The PSI project is expected to begin once the resubmission of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report is done, and upon approval by the Environment Department.
The original EIA report was approved in June 2019, but local environmental groups and segments of the fishing community appealed against it, leading to its revocation.
Datuk Seri Farizan Darus has said that with speedboats, fishermen would be able to continuefishing during and after the Penang Southern Islands reclamation project. – PenangInfrastructure Company Facebook pic, August 15, 2022
The PSI project is expected to generate additional revenue for the state government to fund its ambitious RM46 billion Penang Transport Master Plan.
Under the master plan, the reclamation of three new islands is to underwrite a Light Rail Transit system and three Pan-Island highways.
It will also complement the proposed cross-channel undersea tunnel and three new paired highways which will link dense localities to the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway.
“For now, the state needs to wait for the necessary approval,” Zakiyuddin said. – TheVibes, August 15, 2022