Some 200 fishermen from both Penang Island and mainland Penang converged to stage another in a series of protests against a 4,500-acre land reclamation project to create three artificial islands off southern Penang Island. Anil Netto reports.
This time the rally was held at the Penang Polo Ground, across the road from the Caring Society Complex and the Governor’s Residence.
The fishermen listened to speeches and then linked up to form human letters to read “Tolak Tambak” (Stop the reclamation).
Despite the pouring rain, the weather-beaten fishermen, used to more severe conditions, did not flinch and carried on their protest in high spirits.
Also present were representatives from prominent Penang-based NGOs, which are part of the Penang Forum coalition.
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Observing the event were a team of lawyers from the Penang Bar as well as uniformed and plainclothes police personnel.
A group of fishermen from Kedah could not make it for the protest apparently due to a trailer accident along the highway.
The fishermen are showing no signs of letting up in their opposition to the massive land reclamation which they fear will undermine their livelihoods and erode food security in the northern region of the peninsula.
Of late, tens of thousands of fish have died along the northwest coast of Penang Island due to unknown reasons, adding to the worries of fishermen, whose hauls have plummeted in recent years.