A non-governmental organisation (NGO) named Malaysia Tolak Tambak has called for the large-scale land reclamation projects and artificial islands to be cancelled due to the huge impact on the fishing community and citizens.
In a press conference, spokesperson Khoo Salma Nasution said the NGO was a coalition of 32 environmental-related NGOs across the country in unison, calling for the next federal government to ban such projects.
“The issue is a nagging one because apart from the negative impact of this project on the fishing community, the reclamation project also leads to permanent damage to the marine ecosystem and coast and emits carbon at a high level,” she was quoted as saying.
The movement currently has about 300 supporters, is also pushing for the massive Penang South Islands (PSI) project to be scrapped.
Khoo then condemned the state government for continuing with the PSI project despite it being rejected by the Environment Department twice due to the environmental impact assessments.
Only the rich are benefitted
On the other hand, National Fishermen’s Association chairman Abdul Hamid Bahari, who was also present at the conference, said it is time for the government to listen to fishermen as these reclamation projects do not benefit the average Malaysians, but only the rich.
“Only the rich can afford the scenic developments on reclaimed land. But over time, it causes ecological damage.”
“If we find that the parties are not supportive of the idea, then it is logical that each fishermen’s association committee in the country call on their members to withdraw support for political parties who are not keen to listen to our grievances,” he said.
Meanwhile, the group also listed 24 other reclamation projects nationwide that are either in the planning and construction stages or newly completed.
Penang has the most projects with six, followed by three in Melaka. The other states included Perlis, Kedah, Pahang, Perak, Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Johor, and Sabah.
The group said it will be submitting its findings to the federal government and the administrations in each state after the election.