GEORGE TOWN: The controversial Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project involving the creation of three new islands in the south of Penang island is set to begin as early as March.
Penang deputy chief minister Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman said the project will be executed in phases beginning with the reclamation of island A.
“We will be proceeding at 25 acres a month,” he said. “Phase 1 is estimated to be completed by 2029.”
On the social impact management plan for fisherfolk affected by the project, he said the state government had proposed several suggestions.
He said the ex gratia amount remains at RM20,000, but did not reveal the compensation amount. Firshermen living on the south of the island have protested that the RM20,000 payout was too little.
“Seeing as how the Penang Fishermen’s Association (Pen Mutiara) is not ready to negotiate,” Zakiyuddin said, “the state has no choice but to reach out to fisherfolk for their feedback on these suggestions.”
This was following Pen Mutiara declining to provide feedback unless their appeal against the project’s Environment Impact Assessment approval is considered.
On Jan 22, the state government said reports claiming that fishermen affected by the PSR project will only be compensated with RM20,000 were “inaccurate” and had tarnished the state’s reputation.
This was after Pen Mutiara chief Mahadi Md Rodzi told Bernama that the sum was “too little” compared to the cost of reclaiming three islands as part of a RM46 billion Penang Transport Master Plan.
Zakiyuddin clarified that the RM20,000 was the ex gratia payment and not the compensation payouts, which were still being deliberated.