Fishermen bear disproportionate cost of Penang transport masterplan


The financing model for the Penang transport masterplan and the very plan itself appears to be fundamentally flawed.

For a start, it is the fishermen of Penang who will have to bear a disproportionate amount of the cost in the form of their very livelihoods.

And secondly, the land-for-transport infrastructure swap deal is fundamentally flawed because it forces Penangites to choose between better public transport and the fishermen’s livelihoods, which will be affected by the massive land reclamation of over 4,000 acres.

Is this the path to sustainable development and a greener Penang? Even before starting, the Penang state government is faced with a serious moral dilemma.

This is a case of the livelihoods of the fisherfolk versus the mega profits that the well connected Gamuda and property development companies stand to reap from the land reclamation and transport infrastructure.

But when mega bucks are at stake, it is not difficult to predict who will prevail.

This is from a Bernama report:

LKIM Supports 1,700 Fishermen, Opposes Reclamation Project At Permatang Damar Laut

GEORGE TOWN, Dec 26 (Bernama) — The Fisheries Development Board (LKIM) on SAturday gave the assurance that the board will do its utmost to prevent any land reclamation activities at the Permatang Damar Laut, Sungai Batu and Teluk Kumbar areas, here.

Its chairman Datuk Irmohizam Ibrahim said the board had vehemently opposed the project proposed by the Penang DAP government, deemed to be non-beneficial to the fishermen there.

He said the proposed reclamation area which covered an area of 809.73 hectares for the development of three artificial islands was believed to be harmful to the ecosystem and thus would jeopardise the livelihood of 1,700 fishermen from Teluk Kumbar, Gertak Sanggul, Sungai Batu and Permatang Damar Laut areas.

“The rationale of the reclamation project, as I see it, is more towards corporatisation and commercialisation, while the welfare of the lower class groups is ignored.

“This is a crucial matter and as LKIM chairman I have to ensure fish source especially fresh fish, is always available. The important thing is we are trying to reduce fish imports and Balik Pulau is among areas in Penang as well as the Melaka Straits, with the most abundant fish supply.

“So, do not destroy the economic resources available as well as the areas in which the fishermen had depended on for their livelihood all these years,” he told reporters after meeting fishermen at Dewan Nelayan Unit Sungai Batu, Teluk Kumbar, near here.

Also present was Balik Pulau MP, who is also Health Deputy Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya.

Irmohizam said LKIM had built a fishermen market at Teluk Kumbar, Sungai Batu and Pulau Betong areas so that fishermen could sell their catch directly to customers and earn up to RM4 million yearly, and if the project was approved it would affect the fishermen’s sales revenue.

Asked if the federal government would approve the proposed reclamation project, Irmohizam said: “We will continue to oppose it. In my opinion, the voice of the people in this area is more important and they should be heard.”

Meanwhile, Dr Hilmi said the state government’s reasoning on having the reclamation project, to build public transportation system in the areas, was unacceptable and unreasonable.

“The transportation system cost will not be affordable to any state government, including Penang. After its completion, maintenance costs too will be high,” he added.

He said the matter was just a gimmick played up by the state government which would eventually raise public outrage in the state.

“So….when the federal government rejects this proposal they (the state government) will say, we had our development plans but the federal government opposed them…and this will later be a political issue and lead to public outcry in the state,” he said.


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1 Jan 2016 6.55pm

Everyone experience job changes due technologies. Man instead of hunters become readers. Go for commercial fish farming, operate waterways boats and ferries. Interlink Penang and langkawi and south thailand iskands with fast boats. Umno Gomen downgrade uni petanian to ordinary uni

1 Jan 2016 10.10pm
Reply to  Anil Netto

Farmed fishes no different from farmed chickens – lots of chemically produced fish feed to induce speedy growth of animal stocks (to speedy profiteering?) which will inevitably channel these chemicals into our food chain. Fancy that? Love that? All in the name of unchecked & unverified progress????? Sustainable fishing management is the way to go which primarily includes protection for the sea environment from further artificial changes (which benefit only the developers). We can’t be too clever to play God in changing Nature in the name of science & progress (for commercial purposes to meet demands) without understanding the implications… Read more »

Don Anamalai
Don Anamalai
2 Jan 2016 12.46pm
Reply to  zoro

Automation redefined blue collar employment and reshaped a global economy.
Now, technology is replacing higher skilled jobs by augmenting :

Warren Buffett explains why he thinks it’s progress to have technology replacing human jobs, but acknowledges that people who are left behind need support.

No Job is Safe from Technology:

gk ong
gk ong
1 Jan 2016 12.59pm

In 2016 most household in Malaysia will face financial challenges, despite Ahmad Maslan’s 2-job financing model is presented as a solution. People are now cutting back their expenses, and retailers are affected – Aeon Big in George Town is the latest casualty.

Don Anamalai
Don Anamalai
2 Jan 2016 12.39pm
Reply to  gk ong

Top 10 ways to save money in 2016
(advice from a financial recovery specialist from Penang who sympathises with his clients who were unable to make their monthly dues to him)

Johan Khun Pana
Johan Khun Pana
30 Dec 2015 10.43am

Irmohizam mentioned something about RM4,000,000 per year. Not sure if the 4million is per fisherman or the sales volume generated by 1700 fishermen. As if 1700 fishermen is bringing sales volume of 4 million per year. This works out to $333,333 per month / 1700 fishermen = $196 per month. Better close shop and refurbish boats into tourist and leisure boats. Maybe the artificial island may have a marina just for leisure boats. But, if sales volume of $4million per fisherman then is there a need to subsidize diesel fuel for them? OTH, Hilmi mentioned the cost of upkeeping will… Read more »

30 Dec 2015 8.43am

Bear disporportionate cost? How much do ALL the fisherman make for the next decade? It adds up to pennies compared to even just the reclamation cost.. Just because you can put the word “livelihood” on the cost, does not make necessary that signficant. If you gentrify the entire Penang Island so that no hobo or beggars can make a living, do they “bear the disporportionate cost” of the gentrification? Its all relative..

29 Dec 2015 11.20pm

Where was hilmi when Bn govt granted those reclamation contracts?
N that at a pittance returns to the state govt
Granted anil that two wrongs won’t make one right
To me lkim n this man is just politicising the issue
If Bn is running the state I m very sure they will be taking a different stance

ong eu soon
ong eu soon
29 Dec 2015 6.23pm

If I have my way soon there will be a political earthquake strong enough to (defeat) certain state government.

gk ong
gk ong
31 Dec 2015 2.15pm
Reply to  ong eu soon

Are you refering to the coming Sarawak state election?

Have you successfully sued the person who beat you up? I hope you have recovered from the emotional ordeal sustained from that unfortunate incident. Stay safe in the new year.

29 Dec 2015 5.23pm

Funny I dont find anyone speaking for the fishermen of Portuguese Settlement in Malacca

29 Dec 2015 1.00pm

Who do you think bears the cost of economic “crises” and “development” everywhere? The prices of fuel, commodites, consumer goods, food and even credit tend to be similar prices across borders, except during specific crises. Therefore, the main effect of national “austerity” or currency depreciation is devaluing domestic wages [Prof. Michael Hudson]. This includes the income of the self-employed poor. For the same reason, attracting investors and industrialists also means exploiting the same group of victims.

29 Dec 2015 12.10pm

Ideal Properties reportedly paid Sungai Tiram eg pig farmers quite handsomely e.g. an affordable home + cash. The fishermen surely ask for good compensation, hence the price of the developed condos on the reclaimed sites definitely not cheap for general folks on BR1M support.