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The Penang South Islands (PSI) project is bringing social uplift to the local community besides creating new land bank for the state’s future development, Penang Infrastructure Corporation (PIC) chief executive officer Datuk Seri Farizan Darus said.

He was tasked by the Penang government to oversee the execution of the project.

Farizan said that the project had already started providing stable jobs to fishermen, white-collar workers, and fresh graduates even before the reclamation begins.

“We want the local Penangites to benefit from the project.

“The PSI does not only create job opportunities to professionals such as engineers, architects, planners, and others. The project also provides job opportunities to the non-professionals and technical workers.

“Besides that, the project brings great value to the downstream value chain of the construction sector with spill over benefits to the other sectors,” he said in a statement.

It is learnt that currently more than 120 employees are on staff for PSI, including the local fisherfolk.

They are now earning stable salary and enjoying full-time perks such as insurance coverage, Perkeso and EPF contribution, which they previously didn’t have as fishermen.

Farizan said the PSI project was timely as it provided the necessary relief to the present economic recession in the state.

Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman welcomed the social uplift brought by the PSI project to the fishermen community.

“The PSI project provides career options to the fishermen. Without the project, job opportunity is limited.

“The Penang government prioritises the social uplifting of the fishermen. Therefore, RM100 million is allocated under the PSI project to fund community improvement programmes and fisheries enhancement initiatives,” he said.

Ahmad Zakiyuddin said the fishermen community would not be hindered from going to the sea as there would be a 250-metre-wide channel prepared for their use.

“Besides that, the fishermen community is provided with financial aid, new boats and engines, four new jetties for fishing vessels, new jobs and business opportunities, reskilling trainings, free tuitions and scholarships.

“The deployment of artificial reefs and fish aggregating devices, release of fish and prawn fry, planting of mangrove, and funding fisheries research to enhance coastal ecosystem for fisheries will also be carried out,” he added.

PIC said the Department of Fisheries’ (DoF) reports from 2013 to 2019 had shown that land reclamation projects have minimal impact on the state’s fisheries.

“The reclamation at Tanjung Tokong and Bayan Bay, began in 2016 and 2017 respectively, did not lead to a decreasing trend for fisheries.

“Marine fish landings (from 2017 to 2019) have increased from 153,864 tonnes (2013-2015) to 157,734 tonnes after the commencement of the two projects.

“The three-year average fish landing per fisherman recorded 40.5% growth from 7.66 tonnes (2013-2015) to 10.76 tonnes (2017-2019),” PIC said.

Adam Anuar, who is currently working as an information officer at the Pusat Perkhidmatan Setempat Nelayan (PPSN), said his new job helped him to save enough money to own a motorcycle.

“I can pay for the motorcycle instalment and monthly rental now,” said Adam, who was formerly a fisherman.

The PPSN is the PSI’s engagement centre serving the local fishing community.

Adam’s colleague who was also a fisherman, Samsuar Hasshim, said his salary enabled his family to have a better life.

Source: Buletin Mutiara

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