CAP takes Penang government to task over mangrove destruction

 |Feb 10, 2017
CAP president Mohamed Idris has taken Penang government to task over mangrove felling.
CAP president Mohamed Idris has taken Penang government to task over mangrove felling.

So upset with rampant clearing of mangrove forest in Penang, the Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) has asked the DAP-controlled state government on whether it cared about the people’s welfare or it was more inclined to protect developers agenda.

CAP president S.M. Mohamed Idris said it was distressful to see the rampant felling of mangrove forests in Penang despite strong opposition from locals, especially the fisher communities.

“What is the main objective of the state government? Is it to champion the plight of the fisher communities or to forsake them in the name of development?” asked Idris in a strongly worded statement today.

He said many people, especially the fisher communities, had been protesting against destruction of mangroves because their livelihood had been threatened following the implementation of development projects.

Recently an area of 9.38 hectares of mangroves in Bagan Jermal has been reportedly destroyed to make way for a reclamation project in the area.

Tanjung Tokong shores were also similarly affected.

“These incidents clearly showed that the Penang government was not serious in protecting the environment and the lives of the people, particularly the fisher community,” blasted Idris.

CAP said that the mangroves in the area should have been gazetted as permanent reserved forest (PRF) to protect the natural treasure that was being threatened with extinction in some coastal areas in Penang.

CAP’s surveys revealed that hundreds of hectares of mangroves in Penang have been destroyed over the years in name of development and aquaculture projects.

The studies found that the environmental disaster was threatening the source of income of thousands of fishermen in the state because the breeding and nursing grounds of marine life and natural coastal areas had been destroyed for development, besides being threatened by pollution.

CAP hopes that project developers would take immediate action to replant the mangrove trees that had been felled to enable rejuvenation of the area and revive fisheries stock for the sake of the fishermen, future generation and the environment.

The reclamation project for the development of Seri Tanjung Pinang 2 (STP2) in Tanjung Tokong has and will bring more problems for the local fishers as their fishing area would diminish soon.

The Tanjung Tokong Fishermen’s Association has reportedly called on the DAP-led state government to clarify the felling of the mangroves in the area, which would have an impact on them in near future.

“Their problem is aggravated with the destruction of mangroves here and the livelihood of the fishermen will be adversely affected,” warned Idris.

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Athi Shankar has been a journalist for past 30 years. He believes that democratic rights come with responsibility.