GEORGE TOWN: A group of fishermen have called for the cancellation of the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) scheme, adding that they will not accept any compensation offered by the Penang government.
Penang Fishermen's Association chairman Nazri Ahmad said the reclamation project near Teluk Kumbar would destroy the their livelihood.
"The compensation will not make up for the loss we have to endure.
"Even if the state insists on carrying out the project, what we want is a transformation plan, not compensation," he said during a press conference at the Pen Mutiara Restaurant in Batu Maung on Wednesday (July 17).
"We made our stand in rejecting the PSR project and will continue to do so.
"We respect the state government but hope they will hear us out on this," he added.
The PSR project is a massive plan to reclaim three islands, measuring 1,800ha or the size of 3,600 football fields.
About 75% of the three islands will be for sale via open tender.
The project is expected to generate RM70bil, of which RM46bil will be used to fund the Penang Transport Master Plan.
The conditional Environmental Impact Assessment Report for the project was approved by the Department of Environment (DOE) on June 25.
On Tuesday (July 17), SRS Consortium, the project delivery partner was told to obtain approval for a detailed Environment Management Plan (EMP) from the DOE before starting the project.
On the issue, Penang Forum steering committee member Khoo Salma Nasution said they hoped for an explanation regarding Penang Agriculture and Agro-Based Industries committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin's claims on engaging the local fishermen in the issue.
On Sunday (July 14), Dr Afif tweeted that the state government had held numerous engagement sessions with local fishermen since 2016, amounting to over 4,773 sessions to date.
Khoo said as of public record, they have not heard of the engagement sessions taking place.
"We would like to request that Dr Afif make public the details of what went on during those 4,733 engagements as this issue is of public interest.
"To have conducted 4,733 sessions in a span of four years would require an average of 3.25 sessions on a daily basis for 1,460 days straight, including weekends and public holidays.
"We therefore hope Dr Afif could provide information and proof that such engagements were actually held," she said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Dr Afif said that he would respond to the issue soon, as he is currently in Hong Kong.