GEORGE TOWN, Dec 16 – The State Government will continue to hold public consultations with fishermen around the coast of Permatang Damar Laut until the SRS Consortium Sdn Bhd received the approval from Social Impact Assessment (SIA) and Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIA) to start the reclamation work in area, said State Religious Affairs, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman Datuk Abdul Malik Abul Kassim.
Malik, who is also Batu Maung assemblyman, was asked to explain the public consultation on 9 December, which involves about 120 fishermen. He said he had met over 120 fisherman in Penang were also giving the the explanation and how it would benefit them, they tended to support the process with accepting the land reclamation.
“Land reclamations in Penang is nothing new due to such projects have been done before off the coast of Jelutong, Tanjung Tokong, Gelugor and Bayan Lepas. People would accept the proposal if they knew that the land reclamation will benefit them and their children as it provides economic growth,” Malik told reporters at Komtar here on Tuesday.
Malik said the hub for either a mass rail transport (MRT) or light rail transit (LRT) system will also be in Batu Maung, while the fishing community can benefit from businesses like water taxis. He said this after the announcing of the Penang International Halal Expo and Conference (PIHEC) which will begin on Jan 29.
On Sunday, about 1,000 fishermen from 14 shallow sea fisherman had hold a peaceful demonstration to protest over the state’s proposed land reclamation project, involving thousands of hectares, off Permatang Damar Laut, Teluk Kumbar and Gertak Sanggul.
It was reported that the proposed land reclamation, which would allegedly help fund the state government’s massive Master Transport Plan (MTP), would see the construction of two man-made island was about 2,000 acres and 1,300 acres respectively, with additional areas that may be identified to reclaim another 800 acre island which next to the two larger islands which some 300 meters from the shores of Teluk Kumbar, Gertak Sanggul and Bayan Lepas.