GEORGE TOWN, July 13 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will meet with Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow to discuss and listen to more detailed clarification on the land reclamation for the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) mega project that the state government wished to develop.
Anwar, who is PKR president, said he would meet with the top leaders of Penang in the near future to help find a solution on the crisis faced by traditional fishermen in southern Penang.
“I will ask the state government whether we can guarantee the fate and interests of the fishermen. I know that this is difficult because I have never known in any large-scale land reclamation project worldwide where the fate of the fishermen is guaranteed,” he told reporters after holding a meeting with residents and fishermen at the Permatang Damar Laut, here today.
During the approximately two-hour meeting, Anwar said he felt he should attend and listen for himself the uneasiness faced by the fishermen there.
“I came not to prevent (the project), I came to listen to the explanation from all parties including the developing company and I have read the memorandum submitted by the association and non-governmental agencies (NGOs). I have to be fair and listen to all parties.”
“We have to listen to both parties. What are the woes of the fishermen and what are the proposals of the state government for the fishermen. Whatever the project may be, never sacrifice the interests of the people,” he said.
On Thursday, a group of fishermen from Penang and Perak had staged a demonstration in Parliament requesting Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to reconsider the proposed PSR project as it was not beneficial.
In addition, the fishermen also submitted a memorandum containing three demands, namely, creating a National Physical Planning Council to cancel the PSR project, imposing a moratorium on the mining of sand from the sea off the Perak coast and conducting a comprehensive study by independent experts and professional planners for the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) project.
Earlier, Anwar said he had informed the prime minister yesterday to meet the fishermen and listen to their woes regarding the land reclamation project and to assist in finding a solution to the problem.
“I follow developments on the land reclamation project. I know this is a state government project that will refer to the federal government. So I made the decision to meet Tun and inform him to meet with the fishermen. To me this is a mega project and also a national issue,” he said.
The state government plans to reclaim 1,821.085 hectares from the sea and create three man-made islands stretching from the south of the Penang International Airport (LTAPP) to the east of Permatang Damar Laut.
The PSR Project was proposed to create a land bank to finance the Penang PTMP project. It is learnt that the time frame for the land reclamation project is 15 years and the overall project is expected to be ready between 30 and 50 years. — Bernama