30% of public housing on 3 islands to be kept for fishermen

More than half of the fishermen engaged by the Penang government have requested compensation in the form of housing. (Bernama pic)

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government will set aside 30% of public housing on the three reclaimed islands for fishermen who qualify, the state assembly was told today.

State executive councillor Dr Afif Bahardin (PKR-Seberang Jaya) said this was as more than half of the fishermen engaged by the state had requested compensation in the form of housing.

He added that most of them appeared to prioritise housing over concerns on marine life in relation to the reclamation project.

He also said mitigating measures have been put in place to ensure that the fishermen have easy access to the sea through strategically placed jetties and the creation of breeding grounds for schooling fish and prawns.

The Penang government plans to reclaim three islands measuring 4,500 acres on the southern coast to finance the RM46 billion Penang Transport Master Plan, which will see highways, rail lines and other modes of transport built in the next 10 to 20 years.

On the issue of compensation, Afif said the quantum would likely be higher than what was given to those affected by the reclamation off the waters of Johor.

However, he added that the amount has yet to be decided, and that there are no federal guidelines on the matter.

Afif was responding to Azrul Mahathir Abd Aziz (Amanah-Bayan Lepas) who asked about housing for fishermen in the reclamation project, as well as Goh Choon Aik (PKR-Bukit Tambun) who asked if all 805 fishermen affected by the project had supported it.