Some 279 fishermen from Kampong Sungai Melayu, Gelang Patah are demanding to be finally paid their compensation by a property developer after 11 years. The full amount agreed to was RM3.24 million, which was signed on in 2000.
Speaking on behalf of the unpaid fishermen, village headman, Pandak Ahmad, demanded that the development company comply with the compensation agreement and to pay the remaining balance of the compensation sum, amounting to RM3.1 million.
“We sought a total sum of RM5 million but finally settled for RM3.24 million as compensation for our 10 yearsof loss of potential income caused by ‘development’ in these areas,” said Pandak who was speaking to reporters after a dialogue organised by the member of parliament for Gelang Patah, Tan Ah Eng.
The Gelang Patah MP was indisposed and was represented by her personal assistant, Goh Teck Kuan.
“In 2004, the company paid us RM100,000 and that is the only payment we have received to-date,” lamented Pandak.
“We apportioned the RM100,000 and each of the affected fishermen received a mere RM358,” he added.
The 279 fishermen are from nine villages: Kampong Teluk Serdang (15 fishermen), Kampong Skudai Kiri (21), Kampong Bakar Batu (34), Kampong Sungai Temun (42), Pantai Lido (13), Sungai Danga (20), Sungai Melayu (81), Kampong Tebing Runtuh (39) and Kampong Usaha Jaya (14).
Pandak said that they are not opportunists and have no intention to stifle any development plan initiated by the state government or private sectors but merely need to protect their livelihoods.
Prior to the rapid coastal ‘development’ in their area, the fishermen used to earn between RM1,000 to RM2,000 a month but no longer, he added.
The fishermen also raised the issue of sea pollution around Kampong Melayu and also the frequent incidences of fishing nets destroyed by sand-filled barges and ships that ply the coastal waters.
For all these reasons, Pandak said, the fishermen community wants the private company not to delay in releasing the balance of the agreed compensation sum.