Fishermen hold #PenangTolakTambak protest in the rain

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.

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.

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Aaron chong
Aaron chong
25 Aug 2019 7.40am

Why the state govt wd want to bullfoze thru this financially and economically, environmentally destructive and flawed PTMP is really beyond my rational thinking when there is clearly a viable alternative like t latest in tech transport system like the ART and the humble buses, the latter still needing so much room for improvent having achieved only a miniscule 5% public transport modal share.

Simon Tan
27 Aug 2019 1.41am
Reply to  Aaron chong

Why link the massive reclamation to the bloated and convoluted PTMP [the so-called Penang Transport Master Plan]?

Dominic Damian
24 Aug 2019 9.05pm

One must define progress in a meaningful way. The quality of one’s life is progress. A concrete jungle with trees or nature is regression. A fishing community is unquestionably a unique, integral and relevant part of society. They must be recognised and acknowledged as food essential providers in the cycle of life. Progress should mean taking care of them and their needs and improving the quality of their lives. If our state government provides them with better equipment and skills for their dignified sustenance- we are taking progress. Reclaiming land for the sake of profits for the wealthy is perverse profanity. Depriving the poor is certainly not progress.

Tony Tan CL
24 Aug 2019 7.53pm

Just don’t understand why they don’t want progress

Elize van Reenen
24 Aug 2019 8.19pm
Reply to  Tony Tan CL

Tony Tan CL what is progress if not everyone can enjoy it? If the sea is polluted? The sky polluted? The soil polluted? Gonna eat what? Gonna breathe what? 🤔

Zulfikar Aziz
Zulfikar Aziz
24 Aug 2019 8.51pm
Reply to  Tony Tan CL

There are many forms of progress. Some end up with us losing our morality & sanity resulting in wanton environment & social destruction in return for a concrete jungle. PSR is one of them. A better option is available but being denied to the people of Penang by the state rulers.

Ravinder Singh
26 Aug 2019 9.34pm
Reply to  Tony Tan CL

Progress does not mean making life good for the rich and bad or even very bad for the lower income groups. It does not mean spoiling the environment around us. It does not mean helping the rich to become richer, and the poor to become poorer. Previous “development” projects in the sea have badly damaged the seas, and that has affected sea-life (the fish and other sea-food) that people need.

Simon Tan
27 Aug 2019 1.42am
Reply to  Tony Tan CL

Now that we are experiencing the early signs of climate change, shouldn’t we have a moratorium on deforestation and reclamation?

Joshua Lim
24 Aug 2019 7.59pm

produce from the sea will keep becoming more expensive. This is an attack on their income n the environment.

Simon Tan
27 Aug 2019 1.44am
Reply to  Joshua Lim

There are many losers including the Rakyat like me who will have to grapple with scarce fresh wild fish supplies, soaring fish prices and the erosion of our food security.