Fishermen in Penang who previously voiced fear for their livelihoods due to the Penang South Islands (PSI) reclamation project say they are disappointed in the prime minister's lack of response before the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report was given the green light this month.
Zakaria Ismail, the deputy chairman of the Penang Fishermen's Association, said they were still waiting for an answer on the project from Anwar Ibrahim.
"We have tried everything but have yet to receive a response," he told MalaysiaNow.
Over 6,000 fishermen are expected to be affected by the project, in Penang, southern Kedah and northern Perak.
The association had previously sought to meet with Anwar to discuss the PSI project, through a letter dated Dec 2 last year.
Zakaria said the fishermen would proceed to appeal to the Department of Environment, adding that they would be faced with a protein resource crisis if the project continued.
The PSI is a project to develop three artificial islands, with an area of approximately 1,700 hectares in the waters of Permatang Damar Laut, near Bayan Lepas.
It was also the source of a dispute between DAP, which leads the state government, and Anwar's party PKR.
Anwar, who is also Pakatan Harapan chairman, met with the fishermen in 2019.
He said at the time that he wished to meet with Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow to obtain an explanation and find a solution to the fishermen's situation.
Balik Pulau MP Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik, when campaigning for last year's general election, had said that PKR did not support the effort, and that this was also the position of former MP Nurul Izzah Anwar.
Bakhtiar said then that his party was trying to persuade DAP and the state government not to proceed with the project.
Meanwhile, Persatuan Sahabat Alam Malaysia – a member of the EIA review committee for the project – voiced surprise and disappointment at the approval.
"We are disappointed that the new government has ignored food security, environmental protection and the true scale of the negative impacts brought on by this reclamation project," it said in a statement.
"Carbon- and capital-intensive reclamation projects are against the planning imperative that requires climate-resilient development."