Fears for marine life at Middle Bank

OhTongKeong 20151017 Penang Reclamation Project BIPENANG — The opposition parties in Penang fears that the proposed Middle Bank reclamation project will affect the livelihood of more than 600 fishermen and endanger the ecosystem at the site.

State Opposition Leader Datuk Jahara Hamid said the site off Karpal Singh Drive was a vital source of catch for the fishermen.

She claimed that the project would destroy precious marine life and endanger the ecosystem there.

She said the reclamation would involve about 600 hectare and asked if the state government was “trading in” the Middle Bank for reclamation to the developer of the RM27bil Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).

“The state government should publicly state if compensation will be paid to the affected fishermen if the reclamation is carried out,” Jahara told a press conference yesterday after a tour of the Middle Bank with Barisan Nasional assemblymen.

She said Barisan would bring up the issue in the coming state assembly sitting which begins on Nov 6.

DAP’s Tanjung Bungah assemblyman Teh Yee Cheu had also protested against the proposed reclamation, saying that the site, which he claimed had a 50.6 hectare of sea-grass bed, was an important breeding and foraging ground for marine organisms and should be gazetted as a protected area.

He had said the seagrass served as a food source for seahorses, four species of which could be found in Penang.

Teh said the seagrass patch in Middle Bank was the second largest in peninsular Malaysia after Merambong in Gelang Patah, Johor.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had said in May that the state government was not in the stage of approving the Middle Bank reclamation project, stressing that it was “very far from that stage”.

It was reported that the Penang Development Corporation had called for a Request for Proposal to reclaim the area.

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