MELAKA: About 200 villagers from the Portuguese Settlement in Bandar Hilir here staged a peaceful demonstration with a mock funeral to protest against reclamation for the Melaka Gateway project.
Several of them lay inside coffins in front of the developer KAJ Development Sdn Bhd’s office to demonstrate that the activities had affected their livelihood.
Kampung Portugis Community Management Council chairman (MPKK) Jacinta Lazaroo said the RM43 billion project had affected the local community, especially fishermen, over the last four years.
“We demand the developer to temporarily stop the reclamation activities as it has effected the local ecosystem.
“Our waters are filled with mud and pollution as the water near the village has become shallow.
“When the tide is low, the mud goes up and the fisherman cannot go out to catch shrimps,” he said during the demonstration today.
She claimed that 1,500 local communities had been affected by the project and 80 per cent of them were fishermen.
“We do not reject development, but developer should consider our grudges.
“We can sit together to solve this problem,” she said.
KAJ general manager Hasbullah Zakaria said they did not receive any formal instruction from the state government to stop the reclamation activities.
“We are willing to meet the local community leaders to discuss this issue.
“Whatever issue or problems faced by the local community, we will discuss at the management level.
“So far, the project has adhered to all the state government’s regulations and we never received any formal protest from the villagers,” he said.