Penang Govt willing to meet fishermen affected by PSR project

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GEORGE TOWN (July 11): The Penang Government is prepared to meet with fishermen who claim their livelihood would be affected by the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project, said Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.

Chow said the protest held outside Parliament this morning by a group of fishermen against the project would not stop the State Government from continuing to engage the affected fishermen.

"I am confident the affected fishermen would understand the desire of the State Government to implement this project based on the meeting we had with them in May," he told reporters here today.

During the protest, some 200 fishermen from Penang and Perak asked Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to reconsider the PSR proposal because they said it is not beneficial.

The group also submitted a memorandum with three demands: create a National Physical Planning Council to cancel the PSR project, place a moratorium on sea sand mining in the waters off Perak and get independent experts and professional planners to conduct a comprehensive study on the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).

Yesterday, Chow said the Penang Government will go through the conditions for the approval of the PSR project Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report before meeting affected fishermen to discuss the issue of compensation.

He said the meeting with the State’s fishermen association was planned to discuss compensation packages for the fishermen, which was among the conditions stipulated for the EIA approval.

Commenting on the protest, Dr Mahathir was reported to have said that the Government would study the grouses of the fishermen and would take the appropriate action if their claims were true.

The PSR project involves the development of three man-made islands with a total size of over 1,800 hectares with parts of the islands to be put up for sale.

The proceeds from the sales would then be used to fund projects under the PTMP, an RM49 billion project aimed at solving traffic congestion on the State’s island side.