Indonesian Fishermen Invading Penang Waters

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Four Indonesian fishermen were caught encroaching into Malaysian waters near Penang by maritime authorities yesterday.

Four Indonesian fishermen were caught encroaching into Malaysian waters near Penang by maritime authorities yesterday. (image credit)

At about 2pm, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) officers moved in to seize the boat, which was carrying some 100kg catch believed to be made in local waters.

MMEA Second District enforcement chief First Admiral (M) Kamaruszaman Abu Hassan said the boat was first located 39 nautical miles southwest of Pulau Kendi. He said the boat’s skipper and his three crew members, all aged between 25 and 30 were brought to the Batu Maung LKIM Jetty for investigation.

"The boat went beyond 36.4 nautical miles beyond the Malaysia-Indonesia borders towards southwest of Penang," he said in a statement issued earlier this morning.

Political And Youth Worry About Penang Heritage Issues

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GROUPS of heritage lovers are working with Penang Gerakan Youth to call for more effective planning on the demarcation of zones in the heritage enclave to control commercial exploitation.

George Town as a World Heritage City. (image credit)

The wing’s legal and public complaints bureau chief Jason Loo said a roundtable meeting was held on Jan 3 to discuss the preservation of George Town as a World Heritage City.

“These groups feel that the state government has not been effective in protecting the heritage area and is instead encouraging high commercialisation.

“We hope the Special Area Plan (SAP) will be gazetted by the middle of this year,” he told a press conference at the Penang Gerakan headquarters in Macalister Road.

Loo said the meeting was attended by Youth Unity Movement, Penang Canton & Ting Chew Association, George Town Heritage Action, Penang Chinese Town Hall Youth Wing and Malaysia Inbound Tourism Association.

Public complaints bureau chief Jason Loo (image credit)

It was reported on Jan 4 that the area plans, which will draw out guidelines for George Town World Heritage Site, Penang Botanic Gardens and Penang Hill, should be gazetted by the middle of this year.

Loo also referred to a Dec 8 article in an online news portal quoting Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng as saying that the state was in the midst of translating the plans from English to Bahasa Malaysia and he hoped to gazette them next year.

“We obtained a copy of the Bahasa Malaysia version of the SAP for George Town World Heritage Site in January last year.

“Why was there a contradiction by the Chief Minister?” Loo questioned.

George Town Heritage Action founder Mark Lay claimed that he obtained a soft copy of the Bahasa Malaysia SAP from an officer in the state Planning Department in January last year.

He stressed that his group was not politically affiliated.

Loo said among the proposals raised in the roundtable meeting were a unit to vet prospective buyers of pre-war houses and residents awareness campaigns highlighting the intangible values of heritage properties.

Land Reclamation Agreements Will Be Disclosed

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The Penang government will be publicly disclosing its land reclamation agreements in Bayan Mutiara and Pantai Jerejak which were inked by the present administration.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng says details will be released on how the public can access the documents. (image credit)

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the state government would be informing the people of the procedures, time and place to access the documents beginning this Thursday.

"The state secretary will issue a statement tomorrow to inform the people how and where they can access the documents.

"The documents will be released under the Freedom of Information Act," he told a press conference at Komtar today.

The documents to be disclosed will be on the 35 acre (14.16ha) land reclamation by Tropicana Ivory Sdn Bhd in Bayan Mutiara and the 25 acre (10ha) land reclamation by Ideal Gim Venture in Pantai Jerejak.

Lim said the state would reveal the approvals given for the two projects.

He promised to reveal the documents in December last year when the state government came under fire over plans to have land reclaimed off the southern coast of Penang island to fund the ambitious RM27 billion Penang Transport Master Plan.

He also planned to release documents on land reclamation projects signed during the previous administration under Barisan Nasional, but the agreements were protected by confidentiality clauses.

Penang land reclamation (image credit)

"We have received word from IJM and E & O Bhd. They have declined to waive the confidentiality clauses to reveal their agreements.

"The state has consulted our legal adviser and we have been told to respect their decision. There is nothing we can do about that," he said.

Both IJM and E & O have been reclaiming land off the northern and eastern coasts of Penang island for their The Light and Sri Tanjong Pinang multi-billion ringgit development projects respectively.

Development On Botak Hill Not Ruled Out

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The Penang government has not ruled out the possibility of Bukit Relau, more commonly known as “Botak Hill”, being developed in the future.

Locals started calling Bukit Relau 'Botak Hill' after a large bald patch appeared atop the hill in May 2013.

Responding to critics, local government, traffic management and flood mitigation committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said anyone can submit development plans for the hill to the Penang Island City Council.

However, he said, it was up to the council to approve or reject such plans.

“Those who are interested in developing the area are welcome to submit their plans as the council has its development guidelines,” said Chow during an inspection on mitigation works on the hill yesterday.

“The council will decide on any proposals based on such guidelines.”

However, he said no one has submitted any Bukit Relau development plans to the council so far.

Also present during the inspection were city council Mayor Datuk Patahiyah Ismail, mitigation works project manager Khoo Koon Tai and non-governmental organisation (NGO) Penang Forum member Rebecca Duckett.

Bukit Relau still under scrutiny by many interested parties.

The mitigation works for Bukit Relau, which was developed illegally in 2013, is scheduled to be completed this June. So far, 60 per cent of the works have been completed.

During the site visit, there was some disagreement between Khoo and Duckett over the correct mitigation works to be carried out on the hill. Khoo said the mitigation works included planting grass and conducting hydro seeding for effective growth of vegetation and trees on the upper part of the hill.

Duckett, on the other hand, said mitigation works must include restoration of the hill as promised by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng during a forum two weeks ago.

Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Committee Chairman Chow Kon Yeow

Khoo replied that mitigation works must be completed before any restoration works could be carried out.

“Now, we are focused on completing the mitigation works first before proceeding with other earthworks,” said Khoo.

He also said the land owner, General Accomplishment Sdn Bhd, would have to fork out RM50 million for the mitigation and restoration works.

Locals started calling Bukit Relau “Botak Hill” after a large bald patch appeared atop the hill in May 2013.

Many NGOs and local assemblymen, such as R.S.N. Rayer, Teh Yee Cheu, Dr T. Jayabalan and the late DAP leader Karpal Singh, spoke out against the illegal land clearing.

General Accomplishment was then hauled to court in 2014 and the company was fined RM50,000 under Section 70A(1) of the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974 for carrying out earthworks on Bukit Relau without obtaining necessary approval from the council.

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Bigger Airport To Cater To Tourists Is Needed

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PETALING JAYA: A bigger Penang International Airport (PIA) is crucial in efforts to boost the state’s economic growth, said the Penang government recently.

Departure Lounge at Penang International Airport (click to enlarge)

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said there was a need to expand PIA to cater to the growing number of tourists thronging the island that last year reached its maximum annual capacity of 6.5 million.

Speaking about Prime Minister Najib Razak’s response to the Penang government’s plan that was conveyed to him last week during the Northern Corridor Investment Authority meeting, Lim said, “He (Najib) said my request was noted and we hope the plan would come to life soon.”

In June 2014, Lim had declared that Penang had the option to expand or build a new airport on reclaimed land, while dismissing suggestions that land scarcity could be a hindrance to the proposal.

At the time, Lim was against a proposal by the Kedah government to build an international airport in Kulim.

Ground floor view of the new-look Penang International Airport

The Kedah government however said the proposed airport in their state would cater to the increasing demand for flights to the northern region while boosting economic growth in Kedah as well as other northern states.

Kedah currently has an international airport in Langkawi and a domestic airport called Sultan Abdul Halim Airport in Kepala Batas, near Alor Setar.

“If another airport in Kulim is approved, Penang wants at least two airports,” Lim had countered then.

Dengue Fogging Mistaken For Fire

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The thick fog from the fogging led many people to call the department to report a fire.

The thick fog from the fogging led many people to call the department to report a fire

“The fogging carried out was often wrongly assumed to be fire.

“Most of such calls to the department were by those who claimed they saw smoke from a fire.

“However, when we got there, there was no fire,” department director Azmi Tamat said.

He also said that the department received calls from lonely people who just wanted to talk to somebody.

“However, the number of such calls is small,” he said yesterday.

Azmi said that the number of prank calls to the department had also increased over the years.

“Based on statistics provided by the department, the number of prank calls had increased from 10 in 2011 to 13 in 2012.

“Then we recorded 54 in 2013, 115 in 2014 and 141 last year,” he told a press conference after an annual gathering at the department’s headquarters in Batu Kawan, Penang, yesterday.

Penang Bomba always ready to serve and to protect the public.

He added that the department received fewer emergency calls last year compared with 2014.

“We received 6,216 emergency calls last year and 6,386 calls in 2014. We hope the public will make emergency calls only when necessary,” he said.

Azmi also said that three deaths were recorded, while 18 were injured in fire cases last year, compared with six deaths and 29 injured in 2014.

Statistics provided also showed that the department had helped prevent 37 suicide cases and apprehended people with unsound mind last year, compared with 27 cases in 2014.

At the gathering yesterday, several firemen were presented with certificates of excellence.

Festive Fun For All At Sunway Carnival

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VIBRANT, exciting events like acrobatic contortionist performance and Shanghai acrobatic troupe performance, sushi eating competition and yee sang making demonstration by Sushi King will greet shoppers at Sunway Carnival Mall Seberang Jaya in Penang, during the weekends until Feb 14.

Sushi King at Sunway Shopping Mall

Other events include drum monkey performance, red packet handicraft workshop, dragon dance, dough figurine making demonstration and giveaways.

As usual, the God of Prosperity and God of Monkey will be doing their rounds in the mall to bring success and wealth to everyone.

The Nee Music Academy will also entertain the crowd with their Chinese New Year performance as Shaolin Martial Art students showcase their talents.

Other activities include mystical mask-changing performance, flying spinning bowl performance, calligraphy demonstration and giveaways.

On Feb 14, there will be a traditional lion dance performance at 3pm, while the final event will be a drum performance by The Five Elements at 8pm.

Shopping Sunway Carnival Mall Penang

The upper ground concourse area of the mall has been transformed into a charming emblematic Chinese garden and spruced up with lovely cherry blossom trees (artificial trees), bamboo trees (real trees) and cherry red lanterns.

As this year’s special, the mall has also put up special cherry blossom trees for shoppers to make their wishes.

State Tourism Development and Culture Committee chairman Danny Law Heng Kiang recently launched the mall’s Chinese New Year celebrations, themed ‘A Hopeful Spring’ at the mall’s upper ground concourse.

Also present were the mall’s general manager Chow Heng Wah, its marketing manager Sharley Ooi, EDS Business School founder and president Datuk Dr Ben Lee, Sunway Hotel Seberang Jaya general manager Ben Ho and Parkson senior store manager Neoh Kean Teong.

Chinese New Year 2016 - The Year of the Monkey

Law, in his speech, hoped that the Year of Monkey would bring lots of wealth, health and prosperity to everyone.

Earlier, Chow in his speech, reminded shoppers not to miss out enjoying the sizzling happenings especially over the weekends with dance performances as well as Chinese traditional performances.

The shopping mall also offers plenty of festive goods like dried barbecued pork slices also known as bak kwa from well-known outlets such as Bee Cheng Hiang, Oloiya and Loong Kee, gift hampers from Eu Yan Sang, cookies from Casahana and many more to kick-start thecelebration at the mall’s Chinese New Year promotional booths located on the upper ground floor.

Shoppers who spend RM188 and above (RM128 with HSBC credit cards) or RM388 and above (RM288 with HSBC credit cards) in a maximum of two combined same day receipts can redeem limited edition red packets and, or a calligraphy set, until Feb 7.

Rising Suicide Rate In Penang A Concern

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The number of cases of firefighters rescuing people attempting to commit suicide increased by 37% last year compared with 2014.

Suicide attempts up by 37%

Penang fire and rescue department director Azmi Tamat said they received a total of 37 cases of people attempting to commit suicide in 2015 compared with 27 the previous year.

He added most of the cases were of people attempting to do so by jumping off Penang Bridge.

"It is a new challenge for us now to monitor both bridges, Penang Bridge and Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge.

"Normally we collaborate with the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and marine police to handle the cases in order to ensure the person would not jump off the bridge.

Saving lives is what the emergency services do best.

"We need to have some communication skills to convince the people, who feel they are in a dead end, by giving them a more positive angle and ensure they think wisely," he told reporters after officiating the department's assembly at its headquarters in Batu Kawan yesterday.

He said recently the state firefighters took up to two hours to convince an individual not to jump off the bridge.

Azmi also said two new fire and rescue stations would be set up in Penanti and Batu Kawan to ensure they could response to any case in the areas within eight minutes after receiving an emergency call.

New Benchmark In Lifestyle Standards at City Of Dreams

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Houses are more than just shelters for most people. Homebuyers now expect so much more, such as a nice façade, a pleasant environment and facilities that can enhance their quality of life. In fact, lifestyle developments are becoming the norm in Malaysia’s highly competitive residential market.

Ewe has confidence unit prices for City of Dreams will be competitive. – Pic courtesy of Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd, January 26, 2016.

Ewe says he wants City of Dreams to shine like a diamond. – Pic courtesy of Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd, January 26, 2016.

Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd deputy chairman Datuk Ewe Swee Kheng is determined to set a new benchmark for lifestyle living with its new residential project in Penang: City of Dreams.

According to Ewe, the 3.67-acre project is part of the 50-acre Wellness City of Dreams development, which will cover part of a 110-acre freehold reclaimed tract in Bandar Tanjong Pinang. The development of the remaining 60 acres has yet to be determined.

Ewe says the parcel was given to Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd (CZBUCG) by the Penang government as compensation-in-kind for the building of the upcoming RM6.3 billion Penang Tunnel, which will include three road bypasses.

Ewe has confidence unit prices for City of Dreams will be competitive. – Pic courtesy of Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd, January 26, 2016.Public-listed developer Ewein Bhd, which was founded by Ewe, later formed Ewein Zenith with CZBUCG to develop Wellness City of Dreams. The development has a potential gross development value (GDV) of RM13.89 billion. Ewein owns a 60% stake in Ewein Zenith and CZBUCG, the remaining 40%.

City of Dreams, which has a GDV of RM800 million, is the first component of the overall development. The luxury seafront serviced apartment project will comprise two 38-storey towers with 572 seaview units. Their built-ups range from 1,097 to 2,350sqft.

Bandar Tanjong Pinang is an established mid- to high-end residential district with 90% of the developments being homes. It is a self-contained township not too far from the busy Gurney Drive, making it popular with investors and homebuyers, according to Raine & Horne International Zaki + Partners Sdn Bhd senior partner Michael Geh.

“Bandar Tanjong Pinang offers views of the sea and is within walking distance of the retail marina (Straits Quay) and Tesco hypermarket. Property prices in Bandar Tanjong Pinang should remain strong because it is strategically between Gurney and Batu Ferringhi, the shopping and leisure paradise in the north of the peninsula,” he says.

The two main towers in the complex are named after Ewe’s wife and child. – Pic courtesy of Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd, January 26, 2016.
The two main towers in the complex are named after Ewe’s wife and child. – Pic courtesy of Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd, January 26, 2016.

However, he foresees high-rise condominiums facing some competition because there are a few upcoming developments nearby, such as Mont Residence, Skyridge Garden, Mira Residence, Alila 2 and HH Residence, which are priced lower.

“Nevertheless, Bandar Tanjong Pinang condos’ advantage is the location. Property prices will adjust accordingly to new demand and supply,” said Geh.

As the latest development in the area, City of Dreams offers a better view as it sits on the opposite shore of Gurney Drive. Its positioning ensures that all its units face the sea and Gurney Drive. There are only 10 units on each level and each unit has its own lift lobby.

City of Dreams will be connected to the planned Penang Outer Ring Road (PORR), making access to the other parts of the island easy. The RM1 billion PORR is an 18km toll expressway linking Gelugor in the south, near Penang Bridge, to Tanjung Bungah in the north.

All units are expected to have a sea view. – Pic courtesy of Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd, January 26, 2016.All units are expected to have a sea view. – Pic courtesy of Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd, January 26, 2016.

The façade of City of Dreams, which is inspired by a diamond, is set to change the scene in Bandar Tanjong Pinang.

“I want this project to shine like a diamond in Penang. Just imagine how shiny it will be when the glass façade reflects the sunlight. Also, diamonds are precious, very much like your family and home. This is also my reason for naming the towers after my wife, Elaine, and my daughter, Chloe.”

He added that naming the towers after his family members showed his commitment to his second residential project.

Ewe’s first project was a low-density condominium, The Palazzo, in Pulau Tikus, which was completed and handed over to buyers in 2006. It was developed by Ewein Holdings Sdn Bhd, the property development arm of Ewein Bhd.

Ewein Bhd has embarked on a diversification programme since 2011. The counter was reclassified from the industrial product sector on Bursa Malaysia to the property sector on December 23, 2015.

The project will have direct access to the Penang Outer Ring Road. – Pic courtesy of Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd, January 26, 2016.The project will have direct access to the Penang Outer Ring Road. – Pic courtesy of Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd, January 26, 2016.

Ewe said currently, the company was focusing on City of Dreams, which had been well received since it was opened for registration at end-2013. “So far, we have received over 1,200 registrations.”

The developer is looking to officially launch the project as planned, in 1Q2016.

“We are targeting local buyers. However, we have received registrations from all over, with the majority from the northern part of Peninsular Malaysia. We are also looking at having 20% foreign buyers. We will hold roadshows in China, Singapore, Indonesia and the Middle East soon,” Ewe said to “City & Country” in an interview at the project’s sales gallery in Penang.

City of Dreams will have more than 50 unique facilities, which are creating a buzz in Penang’s property market. Apart from the standard serviced apartment facilities like a swimming pool or gym, it will boast many special features and amenities such as an eight-tier security system, Rolls-Royce limousine and private yacht charter service, seaview steam and sauna rooms, free WiFi access in the lobby and emergency transport and room.

“I imagined how I wanted my dream home to be and what kind of lifestyle I wanted. This was how I came up with the facilities for the project,” Ewe said.

The ground floor will include a main lobby, reception desk and VIP parking. – Pic courtesy of Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd, January 26, 2016.The ground floor will include a main lobby, reception desk and VIP parking. – Pic courtesy of Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd, January 26, 2016.“

For example,” he added, pointing to a Rolls-Royce parked outside the sales gallery, “People want to stay in a nice home and drive a nice car, but how many can afford both? And how often do you get to ride in that luxury car? In City of Dreams, we’ll have a Rolls-Royce at your service; all you need to do is book the car via a residents’ facility management mobile app and pay a fee (the rate has yet to be determined).”

The facilities will be on the ground floor and levels 1, 6, 36 and 37 of the towers. On the ground floor, there will be the grand lobby and reception desk, 116 VIP parking bays, an automated car wash system, a driver’s room and an emergency room.

On level 1, there will be a business lounge, meeting rooms and a mail room with mail sensor detector post boxes. The developer is also looking at the possibility of sending mail arrival messages via the residents’ app in the future.

Level 6 will feature indoor and outdoor facilities such as a salon, gym, sauna and steam room, jacuzzi, pre-function gallery for cocktails before a sit-down event at the grand ballroom (sits up to 240 people), swimming pool, barbecue area, karaoke room, private cinema, bowling alley, three-in-one court for tennis, futsal and basketball, and a mini garden for residents who want to grow their own vegetables, for example.

On level 36, there will also be sky lounges, a daybed area and sky terrace. On the next level, there will be a sky library or reading room, dining room with a kitchen for private events, wine room and cigar bar as well as a gallery that presents a brief history and development story of City of Dreams.

To ensure the quality of service and lifestyle as promised, Ewein Zenith will form a management committee with a hotelier to manage the development.

In line with the wellness concept of the Wellness City of Dreams development, there will be more than 20 wellness fittings that can be added to the units before the handover to buyers (at a cost that has yet to be finalised) such as air purifiers, Vitamin C-infused showers, posture supportive flooring or blackout shade.

The apartments are priced from RM1,172psf. According to Ewe, the price is lower than those of the neighbouring projects, some of which are as high as RM1,800psf. The maintenance fee of City of Dreams is only 30 sen psf, compared with 60 sen to 80 sen psf in the nearby projects.

“Every unit will contribute more than RM300 a month if I charge 30 sen psf for maintenance fees. With more than 500 units, I will get at least RM200,000 a month. Did you know that with that amount a month, you can manage a hotel?

“Furthermore, City of Dreams is a green development. We will install a solar power system and a rainwater harvesting system, hence, the maintenance cost will be low,” Ewe said, adding that the project’s design was Gold Green Building Index-compliant.

Other green features include a food waste processing machine and centralised water filter system.

Level 6 is expected to include a swimming pool. – Pic courtesy of Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd, January 26, 2016.Level 6 is expected to include a swimming pool. – Pic courtesy of Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd, January 26, 2016.Beside City of Dreams, Ewe will be adding three more residential blocks, which will occupy 4.43 acres. He declined to share details about the project, which is currently referred to as “City of Dreams II”, except to say: “It will be another landmark project with an estimated GDV of RM1 billion. It should have a similar concept as City of Dreams, but will have smaller units... more affordable for the younger generation.”

Last month, Ewein Bhd announced the land acquisition of City of Dreams II from CZBUCG for RM162 million.

Ewe is optimistic about the take-up of City of Dreams II despite the property market slowdown.

“The property market is not doing well now, but that has never been a reason for me to stop launching projects as planned,” he said.

He believes the success of a launch in Penang depends not so much on the market sentiment but on the uniqueness of the project and its quality.

“As a Penangite doing business here, Penang people always spend wisely, especially when it comes to property purchases. Hence, I will not hold back City of Dreams II. Once everything is ready to go, I will announce its launch.”

Need To Find New Fishing Grounds

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Fishermen in the south coast of Penang island believe that they will have to fish off the southwest coast of the island in the next few years.

Fishermen in the south coast of Penang island believe that they will have to fish off the southwest coast of the island in the next few years.

Southern Penang Fisherman Association president Arshad Omar said that when work on two artificial islands (provided for under the Penang Transport Master Plan) to be sited in their fishing ground starts, they would have to seek greener pastures.

“If the reclamation project follows through, we will have to fish near the southwest.

“It’s already crowded over there with more than 1,000 fishermen and their daily catch has dwindled over the years.

“Can you imagine if we all move there? It would definitely be a congested sea,” he said during the question-and-answer session held by the master plan’s delivery partner SRS Consortium with fishermen at Kompleks Tabung Haji yesterday.

Penang fishermen protesting to protect their futures.

“Also present were Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, state Local Government, Traffic and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow, state Agriculture, Agro-Based Industry, Rural Development and Health Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin, Batu Maung assemblyman Datuk Abdul Malik Abul Kassim and about 400 association members.

Arshad pleaded with the Pakatan bigwigs to seek an alternative to the man-made islands and ‘not make fishermen the victims’.

Ten other fishermen also voiced their misgivings over the man-made islands proposal.

One described monetary compensation in exchange for their livelihood as ‘not a fair exchange’.

Lim urged the association to provide a solid explanation to debunk the study done by SRS Consortium.