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PSI: Fishermen start registrating, benefitting from SIMP

PSI: Fishermen start registrating, benefitting from SIMP

Published by Bernama• 20/10/2023

More and more fishermen near the reclamation site of the Penang government’s Penang South Island
(PSI) project are coming around, signing up to receive benefits under the Social Impact Management Plan (SIMP). – NSTP/DANIAL SAAD

GEORGE TOWN: More and more fishermen near the reclamation site of the Penang government’s Penang South Island (PSI) project are coming around, signing up to receive benefits under the Social Impact Management Plan (SIMP).


After Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow announced on September 1 that reclamation works would start the same day, fishermen have started visiting the Fishermen’s One-Stop Service Centre (PPSN) to register for the SIMP.


Within two months since the approval of the Environmental Management Plan (EMP), 70 per cent of Tier 1 and 47.4 per cent of Tier 2 fishermen in south Penang Island have registered, compared to 56.6 per cent (Tier 1) and 17.1 per cent (Tier 2) in more than two years since the SIMP was announced in early 2021.


With over half of the fishermen registered to receive SIMP benefits, more fishermen are willing to express their real opinions on the project.


Rosli Din, 58, from Permatang Tepi Laut, which is nearest to the PSI site, said he looked forward to getting the ex-gratia and a boat measuring 8.23 metres (27ft) with a more powerful engine.


“With a larger boat and a more powerful engine, I will have no worries about going further out to catch fish. My current boat is old and smaller.


“The ex-gratia will go into my savings for the future,” Rosli said when met at PPSN after he registered for the SIMP recently.


Rosli, who has been a fisherman for over 30 years, did not sign up earlier as he only got his skipper licence last year after trying for five years.


“I wanted to wait until I got my skipper licence. Now, the time is just right. I am looking forward to the SIMP benefits,” he said.


All south Penang Island fishermen registered with the Fisheries Department are eligible to receive the financial aid under the SIMP while the boat aid is being given to all boat owners from the Permatang Tepi Laut, Sungai Batu, Teluk Kumbar and Gertak Sanggul fishermen units.


The skipper and crew pair of Rohhman Darus, 63, dan Hezri Muhammad, 49, from Sungai Batu, also registered earlier this month after hearing the news that PSI has received the Environment Management Plan (EMP) approval to start reclamation works.


Both of them are from one of the fishermen units which had strongly opposed the PSI project.


“I don’t know why they want to fight it. Are they waiting for more money? Whatever the state provides, we should accept it,” Rohhman said.


Rohhman said he personally believes that the PSI is good for the future, and he is looking forward to taking the seafarer course under the SIMP to upskill himself.


Meanwhile, Hezri said registering for the SIMP was the natural thing to do since the reclamation has started.


“In the past, we were ordered not to go to PPSN but now the unit chief keeps silent when we ask him for updates. So, we are signing up,” said the father of three, whose daughters are also eligible to receive education support under the SIMP, such as sponsored tuition fees and cash incentives for good exam results.


Mat Isa Mat Noor, 65, from the Permatang Tepi Laut, who was among the early SIMP registrants, said he and his family are happy with the benefits.


Last year, he received a new, larger boat and a more powerful engine. He recently received 75 per cent of his ex-gratia payment of RM15,000.


“I can use the money to buy more nets so I can catch more fish. I plan to save most of it for my retirement.


“We are very grateful for the aid. I hope the project will create more jobs for the young people,” he said.


Fisherwoman Fajinah Jaafar, 62, one of the most vocal PSI supporters in the community, said the sea and fishermen would not disappear because of the project.


She was confident PSI would bring economic benefits and job opportunities to the locals.


“We can earn side incomes, and improve our standard of living,” said Fajinah, who also received a new boat and engine, and earned a seafarer’s licence last year under the SIMP.


“Fishermen who have not signed up for the SIMP should do so now before a cut-off date is being set,” she added. – BERNAMA

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