Fishermen want to meet Penang CM over reclamation of islands

The state government is intent on implementing the Penang Transport Master Plan, which will be financed through the creation of the three islands.(Bernama pic)

GEORGE TOWN: A Penang fishermen’s interest group said it is waiting with bated breath to meet Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow to discuss the livelihood of more than 5,000 fishermen in the state who will be impacted by reclamation projects.

Persatuan Nelayan Pulau Pinang (PNPP) chairman Nazri Ahmad said it had requested for meetings with Chow and his predecessor, Lim Guan Eng, but to no avail.

Nazri said he had sent letters via courier and emails repeatedly to Chow on the possibility of having closed-door talks but had failed to get any response.

“We sent Lim Guan Eng a letter and two memorandums but there was no response.

“We sent a letter to Chow, via PosLaju and email. We are very hopeful that the new CM will meet us,” he told reporters in Batu Maung here today.

Nazri said those immediately affected by the three reclaimed islands project were eager to express their concerns and views.

“The place where these three islands are going to be reclaimed is a good fishing spot for fish, prawns and crabs. This serves as the rice bowl for over 5,000 fishermen in this state.

“We are not against development, but we are worried about how it would affect us.

“I think a closed-door session would do some good for us to present our Fisherfolk Modernisation and Transformation Plan,” he said.

Nazri said the state must consider helping fisherfolk to acquire bigger boats so they could venture further into deep seas while the reclamation project is taking place.

“Chow had said fishermen need to understand the importance of the reclamation project, but the state must hear out our views.

“We do not want money but merely help so we can go out further to sea to improve our catch. Let there be a win-win situation.”

The state government is intent on implementing the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP), which is a series of roads, rail and other transport modes to be financed through the creation of the three islands. These man-made islands will be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

The state is expected to push for the Pan Island Link 1 highway and the Komtar-Bayan Lepas light rail transit projects to kick off the PTMP, concurrent with the reclamation of these three islands.

The state had said it was likely to get the nod from Putrajaya by June to carry out the projects.