Malaysia: 1,000 fishermen upset over Penang reclamation work

AUDREY DERMAWAN New Straits Times 27 Jul 17;

GEORGE TOWN: Nearly 1,000 fishermen from Tanjung Bungah, Tanjung Tokong, Gurney and Paramount here are crying foul over their loss of livelihood as a result of ongoing reclamation works nearby.

The fishermen, who used to be able to make nearly RM3,000 a month previously, said they made only one-third the amount since the reclamation works started two years ago.

They also claimed that no help has been forthcoming from either the state government or developer of the project, except for a "saguhati" (consolation) payment in July 2015.

Their letters to the state government and developer, seeking bigger boats and engines for them to go further out to sea had fallen on deaf ears.

Mohd Shariff Abdul, 57, from the Tanjung Tokong fishing unit, said his income had been slashed by more than 60 per cent, due to the reclamation project.

"What happens when it reaches 100 per cent? By then, the waters where we used to fish will be a 'dead sea'. So, where am I going to get money to feed my wife and children?

"We are not being unreasonable. We just want the state government and developer to give us the necessary equipment to go out further to fish," he said when met today.

S. Selvaraju, 60, from the Paramount fishing unit, said the sea was no longer a healthy breeding ground for fish as it had been turned into a loading and unloading bay for the reclamation works.

He pointed out that there were also times where they were threatened by the workers.

The fishermen then sought assistance from Barisan Nasional leaders in the state after their requests were not entertained.

State Gerakan vice-chairman Oh Tong Keong said the state government and the developer should not ignore the fishermen's plight.

He also urged the authorities to ensure that mitigation measures have been taken, as suggested in the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report to minimise the impact on fishermen

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