Home Civil Society Voices State polls: Penang fisherfolk issue five demands to candidates

State polls: Penang fisherfolk issue five demands to candidates

Penang's beaches and marine ecosystems face multiple challenges, including rampant reclamation projects, marine pollution and inadequate protection for coastal fisherfolk.

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The Penang Fisherfolk’s Association (Pen Mutiara) was established under the Fishermen’s Association Act 1971, over fifty years ago.

It is an organisation that has the legal responsibility to represent and protect the rights and wellbeing of 6,000 fisherfolk in Penang.

Pen Mutiara is deeply concerned with the environmental issues plaguing our coastal communities. With that, we would like to issue this statement to draw attention of the Penang state election candidates to the urgent issues and demand immediate action from them.

Penang’s beaches and marine ecosystems face multiple challenges, including rampant reclamation projects, marine pollution and inadequate protection for coastal fisherfolk.

As representatives of the fishing community, we call on the election candidates in Penang to give priority to the following demands for the advancement of our coastal community:

1. Stop reclamation projects in Penang

Uncontrolled and unsustainable reclamation activities in Penang threaten the marine ecosystem and the livelihoods of our coastal fisherfolk. We urge the Penang state election candidates to stop all proposed and recently approved reclamation projects and explore sustainable economic alternatives that do not jeopardise our environment.

2. Facilitate the growth of blue economy

The Penang government must adopt and implement a blue economy strategy, where sustainable economic growth should be aligned with ocean conservation.

For example, the marine ecotourism sector should be facilitated. Ecotourism operations such as homestay programmes, visits to flora, fauna and natural resource destinations, and fishing activities can stimulate the local economy and empower the Penang fishermen’s association.

3. Conserve and preserve our marine ecosystem

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Penang state election candidates need to include this commitment and take immediate steps to conserve and preserve our marine resources.

Candidates must promise to implement stricter regulations so that marine pollution is reduced, important habitats are protected, and responsible fishing practices are encouraged.

All of these are important for the sustainability of Penang’s coastal ecosystem.

4. Recognise fishing villages as heritage sites

Many fishing villages in Penang have valuable historical and cultural significance.

For example, the Teluk Kumbar fishing village area has a recorded history since 1880. We call on the winning candidate in this state election to recommend to the authorities that the fishing community area in Penang be made a heritage site.

This is to ensure the protection of coastal communities and preserve their traditions and way of life.

5. Establish a climate resilience masterplan for Penang

Climate change brings great challenges to Penang’s coastal communities.

It is important for the state government to develop and implement a strategic plan that helps our coastal fishing community to adapt and be resilient to the effects of climate change.

This includes providing the necessary infrastructure, resources, training, and support to ensure our livelihoods are preserved. The winning candidate must support and lead this plan.

The Penang Fisherfolk’s Association is committed to working with the elected candidates in the Penang state election to address the above demands and to develop a fair and strategic plan for coastal fisherfolk that emphasises sustainable development goals.

By taking immediate action, we can protect the rights and livelihoods of coastal fisherfolk and ensure the long-term sustainability of our coastal communities. – Pen Mutiara

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Supported by:

  • Pertubuhan Jaringan Ekologi dan Iklim (Jedi), Penang
  • Agora Society
  • Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP)
  • Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM)
  • Tanjong Bungah Residents Association
  • Penang Public Transport Users Association (PeTUA)
  • Aliran
  • Forum Kedaulatan Makan Malaysia (Malaysian Food Sovereignty Forum)
  • Pertubuhan Lestari Khazanah Alam Pulau Pinang (Lekas)
  • Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam Malaysia (Peka)
  • Persatuan Kesedaran dan Keadilan Iklim Malaysia (Klima Action Malaysia – Kamy)
  • Pertubuhan Alam Sekitar Sejahtera (Grass Malaysia)
  • Greenpeace Malaysia
  • Family Frontiers
  • Alliance of River Three (Art!)
  • Pertubuhan Sisa Sifar Malaysia (Zero Waste Malaysia)
  • Gabungan Darurat Iklim Malaysia
  • Five Arts Centre
  • Persatuan Aktivis Sahabat Alam (Kuasa)
The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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