Safeguard fishermen’s interest too while pursuing economic initiatives

A Johor assemblyman has called upon the state government to safeguard the interest of the fishermen while it pursues two economic initiatives – the Johor-Singapore Special Economic Zone (JS-SEZ) and the Forest City Special Financial Zone (SFZ).

Datuk Pandak Ahmad (BN-Kota Iskandar) pointed his constituency that also includes the Forest City SFZ is also made up of 12 traditional fishing villages.

“What assurance can the government give to the fishermen who fish near the Second Link? As it is, they are facing difficulties when they were chased away by Singapore coast guards for alleged intrusion while fishing to earn their livelihood.

“Do not let the special economic (initiatives) be special to only one party,” he told the state legislative assembly sitting at Kota Iskandar yesterday.

A dispute between local fishermen and Singapore Police Coast Guard officers in October 2022 near the Second Link bridge near here, which connected Johor and the republic.

The group of fishermen claimed they were chased away by the Singaporean authorities while setting up shrimp nets.

Fishermen in Pontian and other areas would also feel insecure if no proper assurance were given by the government as it affected their livelihood, added Pandak.

He is also concerned that the JS-SEZ and SFZ would cause the price of properties to skyrocket and real estate speculation.

“The locals will not be able to afford their own properties if this happens. Do ensure that the initiatives are beneficial to all, and are not just one-sided,” he added.

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