Sunday, November 10, 2019

Penang fishermen peaceful assembly only allowed if NOT MORE than 1,000? Totally unjust?

Shocking when Penang fishermen's right to Peaceful Assembly imposes condition of not more than 1,000 > How can the Pakatan Harapan government and the police restrict the numbers of people who can participate in these peaceful protest - Even the previous BN government did not say that BERSIH and other protest only allowed if not more than 1,000...

Penang Fishermen’s Association chief Nazri Ahmad said about 4,000 fishermen had wanted to attend the protest but police only allowed 1,000 as part of the peaceful assembly permit. - NST
Nazri said they had obtained a permit from the police to hold the demonstration at Esplanade with strict conditions, including keeping the number of people below 1,000. “We have more than 4,000 people who could attend the protest but to comply with the police conditions, we capped it below 1,000 to maintain peace, as we do not want to cause unnecessary tension, ” he said. - Star
It is hypocritical when the fishermen of Tanjong Piai are given financial assistance and are getting their jetty's rebuild - whilst in another part of the country, the government is doing things that will jeopardise the livelihood of the fisherman..

Why is Penang even building 3 artificial island - we are not land-deprived like Singapore... Apparently the reason is to raise money to pay for LRT projects and highway projects..."to three artificial islands to be reclaimed south of Teluk Kumbar to be later sold to the highest bidder, as payment for building highways, a Light Rail Transit line and other modes of transport'

Something is very wrong - because it obviously will impact the livelihood of the fisherfolk...the environment. A factory can be moved ...but fishing ground cannot... and these fishing communities, I believe, have been there for years...generations...

Maybe, when Penang was governed by the Opposition and the Federal government was governed by BN > the State government could say, we needed money to develop the State and BN government was not helping ...(We recall the problems faced by Kelantan and Trengganu when they were governed by Opposition during the BN rule - even the oil royalty did not flow as before....)

But now, the Pakatan Harapan is in control of the Federal government - so, I am of the opinion that this reclamation project..building 3 artificial islands should be immediately stopped..

Governments should not have projects that will impact the livelihood of fisherfolk, farmers...or communities that depend on the land/seas/forest..

HARTAL AS WELL - A one day 'strike' as well - not just a peaceful assembly...

Before, the university students will be out in support of the poor as happened in Baling - In 1974, university students demonstrated with farmers in Baling, Kedah, to protest against the declining rubber price and rise in inflation.  

What has happened to the university and college students - do they no longer care about justice and struggles of fisher folk, farmers..

Or maybe, many wanted to come and join BUT the police under the Pakatan Harapan set that draconian condition - 'not more than 1,000'..

If not for that condition, maybe we would have seen tens of thousands joining ...next time, maybe they will say not more than 100...then maybe not more than 50...

During the BN era, that government tried to deny usage of central locations like Dataran Merdeka...they tried to get people to exercise right of peaceful assembly in locations where not many others will see...even in some closed hall...

Malaysians hoped that they will regain their full right to PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY after ousting BN...but sadly things are still about the same...?

Penang fishermen protest reclamation project, say it will affect their livelihoods


  • Nation
  • Monday, 04 Nov 2019

Fishermen's protest against the proposed Penang South Reclamation project in George Town, Penang. -Photo ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: Expressing their displeasure at the way their memorandum was received by the state government, members of the Penang Fishermen Association (PFA) and representatives of local non-governmental organisations say they were treated better when they protested at Parliament.

PFA chairman Nazri Ahmad said he was displeased with the response as the fishermen were better received at Parliament and managed to express their woes and worries to a few MPs and ministers there, but were made to wait outside the state assembly here.

"It is unfortunate that we were not entertained and could only hand over our memorandum outside of the building.

"They need to know why we are opposing the reclamation project.

"They believe we are against development but that is untrue, we want the state to prosper, we are just opposing the reclamation project as it will be bad for fishermen and their livelihood.

"The destruction of the ecosystem here and the coast is the crux of our memorandum.

"We will continue to make the effort to come forward and approach them.

"We are disappointed that we were treated in such a way.

"We only wanted to meet an assemblyman or an exco member to speak to them about our plight, but instead, we were stopped outside the gate," Nazri said at a press conference outside Dewan Sri Pinang on Monday (Nov 4).

Nazri, who handed over the memorandum to information officer Zahar Zainul, said the project to create three man-made islands off the southern coast of the island will not only jeopardise their livelihood, but also destroy the natural ecosystem of the area.

"The Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project will affect the fishermen directly, like how the Tanjung Tokong reclamation project has affected the fishermen there," he said.

About 1,000 fishermen in Penang had gone on strike earlier in the morning to protest the proposed PSR project.

PFA members and representatives from local NGOs gathered at around 9am on Monday to protest at the Esplanade.

Nazri said they had obtained a permit from the police to hold the demonstration at Esplanade with strict conditions, including keeping the number of people below 1,000.


“We have more than 4,000 people who could attend the protest but to comply with the police conditions, we capped it below 1,000 to maintain peace, as we do not want to cause unnecessary tension, ” he said.

The protest was led by Nazri, with the support of Penang Consumers' Association (CAP) president Mohideen Abdul Kader and steering committee member Khoo Salma Nasution.

Penaga assemblyman Yusni Mat Piah from PAS then went out to meet Nazri and accepted another copy of the memorandum from him.

“I am here on behalf of the opposition, as the Opposition leader is currently debating the supply bill inside.

"I am here to assure the fishermen that the opposition will fight for their rights.

"We will bring up PSR during the assembly and oppose it.

“We can agree with the Penang Transport Master Plan, but not the creation of three islands that will destroy the ecosystem there and the livelihood of fishermen.

"Many Penangites will not be able to afford the houses on the three islands, so the project does not benefit the people as well, ” he said.

The PSR near Teluk Kumbar here is a massive plan to reclaim three islands measuring 1,800ha.

It is expected to generate RM70bil, of which RM46bil will be used to fund the Penang Transport Master Plan. - Star, 4/11/2019


Imagine cucur udang without prawns, Penang fishermen warn in protest


Fishermen in Penang went on strike and held a protest demonstration at the Esplanade in George Town, Penang, today
GEORGE TOWN: Holding up cutouts of dead fish and placards condemning a proposed mega reclamation project, some 1,000 fishermen and sympathisers staged a protest at the Esplanade padang today.

In a one-day hartal (general strike), about 4,000 fishermen had hung up their nets earlier to protest against the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project, which calls for the reclamation of more than 1,800ha in an area deemed one of the richest fishery grounds in the northern part of the peninsula.

The fisherman came in fishing boats at the North Beach ghauts, and in cars from as far as Seberang Perai, and chanted anti-reclamation slogans for close to three hours.

Penang Fishermen’s Association chief Nazri Ahmad said about 4,000 fishermen had wanted to attend the protest but police only allowed 1,000 as part of the peaceful assembly permit.



Fishermen from Teluk Tempoyak taking part in a one-day hartal to protest against the Penang South Reclamation project.
He said today’s strike would show how wet markets in the state would suffer without fresh fish and to raise awareness that this could become a reality.

Nazri said the issue was not just about the fishermen’s rice bowl but also about the future of Penang’s food heritage.

“In just years from now, there may be no prawns for cucur udang and mee udang. And your char koay teow will probably just have a single prawn, sliced into two,” he told those present.

“The threat is real. The reclamation will severely affect the food chain. It will destroy Penang’s precious marine life and habitat. What are we going to eat tomorrow? Fish or concrete?”

A poster carried during the protest calls for the rejection of the three islands reclamation plan.
The fishermen later handed a memorandum to a state government representative at the state assembly building and also to opposition assemblyman Mohd Yusni Mat Piah.

Yusni, of PAS, assured them that their grouses would be raised at the assembly meeting, which is being held until Friday.

The RM46 billion PSR project calls for three artificial islands to be reclaimed south of Teluk Kumbar to be later sold to the highest bidder, as payment for building highways, a Light Rail Transit line and other modes of transport under the Penang Transport Master Plan. - FMT, 5/11/2019


Why are people protesting in Penang?

Anil Netto reports on a lively and creative protest against huge land reclamation projects around Penang.

Fishermen in more than two dozen small fishing vessels from mainland Penang crossed the channel to the waters near the Esplanade to join other fishermen and activists protesting against massive land reclamation plans around the state.

The fishermen had hung up their fishing nets in a symbolic strike on a clear morning, the air fresh and crisp after rain had damped the surroundings at Speakers’ Square (see video above).

The fishermen say the reclamation, especially for the 4,500-acre three-island project in the south of Penang Island, will hurt their livelihoods and undermine food security in the northern region.

University students, activists from Penang Forum and other NGOs, dancers and artists of all ethnic backgrounds joined in the spirited protest in solidarity with the fishermen. Also present were a team of lawyers monitoring the event.

Among those in the crowd was the mural painter Ernest Zacharevic, known for his Penang street art, especially of two children on a bicycle. He held up a large placard that read: “One island is enough.” Another placard spotted read: “Something fishy is going on down south.”

The thump! thump! thump! from a group of female drummers added to the sense of urgency and alarm that the reclamation plans have sparked.

Chanting “Tolak, tolak! Tolak tambak!” (Reject the reclamation!) and “Hidup, hidup! Hidup nelayan!” (Long live the fishermen!), the crowd then marched from Speakers’ Square to the Dewan Sri Pinang auditorium building a short distance away. The state assembly was holding its session there as the regular Penang State Assembly building was under renovation.

Along the way, the protesters paused at the coast to acknowledge the flotilla of boats bearing Penang Tolak Tambak flags fluttering in the gentle sea breeze (see video below).

The fishermen in each boat, from fishing units such as Bagan Ajam and Teluk Air Tawar on the mainland, waved back at the crowd. They too have been affected by land reclamation on both sides of the channel and are now worried about future reclamation along the Bagan Ajam to Teluk Air Tawar coastline on the mainland and the three-island project off southern Penang Island.

“The fishing catch in the Northern Channel has already been hit by the reclamation, which has churned up the waters.” said a fisherman from Jelutong, his face weather-beaten by the elements. 

“Considering our fuel costs, it is almost not worth fishing in the waters of the channel.

He gazed at the fishing boats bobbing in the sea nearby. “Now many of the fishermen have to go further north but then fuel costs are not cheap. Unlike a car, 50 litres in a boat won’t get you that far. Even the cost of crossing the channel on boats like these comes up to a fair bit.”

In the south, he said trawlers often encroach into the coastal fishermen’s fishing waters, damaging the sea bed.

As the protesters continued their march, a line of light strike force personnel a short distance away blocked their path to the auditorium.

A police officer said only five fishermen’s representatives would be allowed through as agreed. No one objected.

The fishermen were disappointed when only a junior officer at the assembly received the memo from them.

The fishermen and the activists then returned to the Esplanade, where a youth group performed a skit on the reclamation plans and a couple of women rendered songs. Two women from the Sungai Ara residents group, who are campaigning against a major hill-slope project in their area, added their support and appreciation for the fishermen.

The media coverage from this event is expected to boost the campaign to put a stop to the damaging reclamation plans. The fishermen feel the urgency most as they stand to lose their livelihoods to the projects, which are expected to reap huge profits for developers, contractors and others while eroding fresh local fish supply to ordinary Penangites. - ALIRAN

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Extremely high handed to restrict number of participants at the peaceful assembly to 1,000.
It must have been out of fear of the numbers that could show that practically all the fishermen
in Penang object to PSR. So now Chow and his people claim that "ONLY" 1,000 attended!
No morality, let alone accountability.