Penang exco to study compensation package for reclamation-hit fishermen

State executive councillor Dr Afif Bahardin.

GEORGE TOWN: Penang has come up with the latest compensation package for fishermen affected by the three-islands project (PSR).

State executive councillor Dr Afif Bahardin said the compensation options, which include ex-gratia payments, upskilling, housing and a new jetty for fishermen, had been reached in discussions with fishermen.

“But before that, we need the mandate from the state executive council. Only after that, can we discuss this matter with fishermen,” he told reporters in Komtar today.

This is expected to be confirmed by Oct 2.

Afif, who is the designated liaison man for the fishermen, said all considerations have been taken into account in the compensation option.

He said the reclamation work may take more than five years to complete.

On July 12, the Penang government had received a proposal from the Penang Fishermen’s Association, which represents more than 5,000 fishermen.

The fishermen had asked for boats, a temporary jetty and ex-gratia payments for all registered fishermen.

The association put aside claims that it had accepted the reclamation project by putting forward this demand for compensation.

Its chief, Nazri Ahmad, said it wants the project to be cancelled but if the PSR were to continue, it wants a “transformation” plan, not a compensation plan.

Under this transformation plan, the fishermen want the state to seriously improve their livelihoods as fishermen, not just through one-time payouts.

The three-islands project has been approved by environmental regulators. The three islands, covering 1,821ha, would be created and later sold off to finance transportation projects, costing RM46 billion, including a LRT line, which was recently approved.