Penang’s proposed reclamation will ‘kill’ us all, say fishermen

A group of fishermen hold a peaceful demonstration to oppose the Penang South Reclamation project at Teluk Kumbar March 13, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
A group of fishermen hold a peaceful demonstration to oppose the Penang South Reclamation project at Teluk Kumbar March 13, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

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GEORGE TOWN, March 13 — The proposed Penang South Reclamation (PSR) will “kill” off all fishermen along the coast of Penang and northern Perak, not only in Permatang Damar Laut, a group of fishermen claimed today.

The group, together with Malaysian Inshore Fishermen Association for Education and Welfare (Jaring), held a peaceful demonstration against the proposed PSR by the coast off Teluk Kumbar this morning.

One of them, Faisal Sabri, from Teluk Bahang said all inshore fishermen will be negatively impacted by the reclamation works.

“They will be mining sand from Muka Head and off the coast of Kuala Kurau in northern Perak, then they will be dumping silt off Pulau Kendi during reclamation works,” he claimed.

He said the marine ecosystem will be destroyed by the sand mining and siltation due to the reclamation works.

“Even now, the reclamation off Gurney Drive affected Teluk Bahang in which the tides bring in the siltation and mud from the reclamation site,” he said.

A Teluk Kumbar fisherman, Bakri Bakar, said the proposed project was a way to kill off all fishermen in the state.

“We have generations of fishermen who depended on the sea for an income and now, they are taking away our livelihood,” he said.

He called for intervention from the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to help all affected inshore fishermen.

A group of fishermen hold a peaceful demonstration to oppose the Penang South Reclamation project at Teluk Kumbar March 13, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
A group of fishermen hold a peaceful demonstration to oppose the Penang South Reclamation project at Teluk Kumbar March 13, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

He pointed out that the PSR project will take 15 years to reclaim, according to its environmental impact assessment (EIA), and the whole project will take up to 30 years.

“This will affect thousands of fishermen, not only a few people,” he said.

The group of fishermen from Teluk Kumbar, Teluk Bahang and Permatang Damar Laut claimed that more than 6,500 fishermen will lose their livelihood due to PSR.

Another fisherman, Mohd Sabri Yusof, 64, demanded to know which fishermen had reportedly accepted the project and agreed to compensation offered.

“Did they come down to the ground to meet with us? They only called in their cronies, the few fishermen, and some of them were not even fishermen, to talk and discuss,” he accused the state authorities.

He said the authorities should go down on the ground to talk to all fishermen affected, not only the few representatives who do not represent all of their voices and concerns.

The PSR is a reclamation project to create three man-made islands off the southern coast of Penang island.

The PSR was to fund the RM46 billion Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) and also to create additional landbank for the land scarce state.

Both PSR and PTMP are still in planning stage and pending the relevant approvals.

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