GEORGE TOWN: Some 1,500 fishermen on the south coast of the island are worried after Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow announced today that the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project had been approved.
Penang Fisherman Association deputy chairman Mahadi Md Rodzi said the announcement had upset the fishermen, particularly those who fish near the proposed PSR site.
“We have been hoping that the project will not go ahead to ensure the livelihoods of the fishermen are protected,” he said.
“Once the project kicks off, we fear that we may not be able to make a living.
“What is even more worrying is the fact that the PSR project will take years to complete.
“By then, everything will change... it will never be the same again. The fishing ground in the southern coast, rich in marine life, will be gone forever.”
Mahadi said even though there were promises of compensation, the amount handed out to the affected fishermen may not suffice.
“This, to me, is something which should be looked into seriously.
“Like I said, the project will take years to complete, so the compensation should be adequate to ensure the fishermen are able to fend for themselves during the period, as they will undergo total change.
“Surely they can’t be going to sea, especially with the big ships parked there. The whole ecosystem will change.”
Mahadi expressed hope that what happened at the reclamation site in Tanjung Tokong, where only selected fishermen received compensation of RM15,000, does not happen in the southern coast.
“This is tantamount to discrimination and should not have happened in the first place. This should serve as a lesson to all.”
Mahadi said the association would meet Chow to discuss things in light of the latest development.
Mahadi was responding to Chow’s announcement that the National Physical Planning Council (NPPC) had given the nod for the implementation of the proposed PSR, which will see the creation of three man-made islands to fund the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).
The approval came with an 18-point advice which Chow is expected to unveil in a press conference tomorrow.
The reclaimed islands, with a total land area of 1,800ha, would be used to fund the state government’s highly-ambitious RM46 billion PTMP project, announced in 2015, to address the state’s traffic woes.