THE Penang Fishermen Association (PFA) is disputing a report that more than 60% of the villagers living on the south coast of Penang island are in favour of the Penang South Reclamation project in Permatang Damar Laut.
Arshad Omar, president of the Southern Penang Fishermen Association, which comes under the PFA, said the report in a Malay daily quoted two individuals who are not members of the association.
“How can they represent us, as it is clear the project will disrupt our livelihood.
“We have not agreed to the project,” he told a press conference at the Pen Mutiara Restaurant in Batu Maung on Wednesday.
Arshad issued a challenge to both the men quoted in the article to come forward and produce the list of fishermen who approve of the reclamation project.
He was referring to an article published in a Malay daily on Feb 16 , which reported that more than 60% of the villagers, especially fishermen, have accepted the reclamation project after being briefed on its advantages.
The project involves a proposed reclamation of three new man-made islands off the south coast of Penang island.
The revenue from the land reclamation will fund the proposed Penang Transport Master Plan, which involves several mega projects, including three major road projects and a tunnel linking the island to the mainland.
PFA deputy chairman Mahadi Md Rodzi , who was also present at the press conference, hoped the state government could ensure all fishermen received new fishing nets.
“It has come to light that not all fishermen are receiving the fishing nets promised to them.
“Previously, the Malaysian Fisheries Development Board was the one distributing the nets. However, in 2016, the state took over.
“We have no problem with that, but we do not want anyone to miss out on receiving the promised nets.
“We hope the state can liaise with us so that they can get the list of fishermen and give out the nets fairly and in a systematic manner,” he said.
The Star reported on Feb 16 that some fishermen on Penang mainland held a peaceful demonstration against the state government for its alleged failure to provide them with the promised nets.
They claimed that the state government representatives came with only 60 nets to give to the fishermen instead of the promised 191.