Mainland Fisherfolk Protest Against Seashore Reclamation Project




The fishing community in Seberang Perai has opposed a reclamation project along the seashore
The project spanning 8km in length and 854m wide covers the seafront from Butterworth to Teluk Ayer Tawar
Four fisherfolk groups - Persatuan Nelayan Seberang Perai, Unit Butterworth, Unit Bagan Ajam and Unit Teluk Ayer Tawar - held a press conference in Batu Maung to announce their protest against the project
Their spokesperson Nazri Ahmad said many issues related to the project, which involves the Butterworth Outer Ring Road (photo, above), remain unresolved since 2003

"These include compensation to the affected fisherfolk which was not properly paid since 2009," Nazri, who is the Penang Fishermen Association president, said
"Butterworth fisherfolk promised permanent homes as compensation have yet to obtain their units," he added
"They were also promised temporary jetties but these platforms have now been taken over by private companies which have built restaurants in the area," Nazri stressed
He said other than unfulfilled promises, the problem faced by the fisherfolk on the mainland is poor water quality, which affects their daily livelihood
He lamented the destruction to the mangroves ecosystem, which used to be a refuge for migratory birds in Teluk Ayer Tawar
"The livelihood of fisherfolk depends on the health of the ecosystem, including the mangroves which are an important breeding ground for fishes," Nazri said
"A popular tourist spot along the beach and village in Bagan Ajam has also been ruined by the reclamation project
"Please cancel the project or find an alternative to it, as we are still reeling from the effects of the reclamation exercise on the island from Gurney Drive to Tanjung Tokong, Tanjung Bungah and Batu Ferringhi," Nazri said
Nazri is also the spokesperson for fisherfolk on the island who opposed the Penang South Reclamation Project, which involves the creation of three artificial islands in Teluk Kumbar
The reclamation is currently being undertaken by Rayston Consortium (Butterworth) Sdn Bhd (RCSB), which was given the rights to reclaim 650ha of the Butterworth shorefront directly facing George Town
Under a new agreement inked in September last year, RCSB and the Penang government will come up with a reclamation master plan
It is uncertain what they have decided to build on the land, which covers the shoreline from Jalan Tunku Putra in Telok Ayer Tawar in the north to the North Butterworth Container Terminal in Butterworth. - Mkini

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