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Artisanal fishermen in southern Penang island provided with comprehensive aid

Artisanal fishermen in southern Penang island provided with comprehensive aid

Published by The Star • 26/7/2023

(Standing fourth from left) Penang Infrastructure Corporation chief executive officer Datuk Seri Farizan Darus, Penang state secretary Datuk Mohd Sayuthi Bakar and Penang Marine Department deputy director Muhammad Shuhaimi Abd Rahman celebrating with fishermen who received their Certificates of Competency after passing their seafarers’ examinations.

GEORGE TOWN: Nine fisherman units south of Penang island will be the beneficiary to the Penang South Island (PSI) Social Impact Management Plan (SIMP) scheme, said state secretary Datuk Mohd Sayuthi Bakar.


Mohd Sayuthhi said there would be no changes in the project SIMP scheme as it would benefit the fishermen units in the area.


He said the SIMP package promised to eligible fishermen remained unchanged even though the scope of the project had been reduced to a single island, which was Silicon Island (Island A).


He said the state government, which owned the project, decided at its state executive councillor meeting on June 21 that the SIMP package would remain unchanged as previously announced to fishermen.

Penang Infrastructure Corporation chief executive officer Datuk Seri Farizan Darus (in white), Penang state secretary Datuk Mohd Sayuthi Bakar (long sleeve blue shirt) and Penang Fisheries Department officer Nabilah Mohamed Yusof posing for a group photo with the second batch of 12 new boat recipients in a ceremony in Batu Maung.


“This means the SIMP packages promised to Tier 1 and 2 fishermen remain the same.


“Boat owners and their crew from the Permatang Tepi Laut, Sungai Batu, Teluk Kumbar and Gertak Sanggul fishermen units are still eligible to receive benefits for Tier 1 fishermen, namely the new boats and engines and jetty.


“The ex-gratia that they will receive is also unchanged,” he said at a ceremony in Batu Maung on Wednesday (July 26) where he handed over new boats and engines to seven fishermen from Permatang Tepi Laut and Teluk Kumbar under the scheme.


Mohd Sayuthi said the SIMP’s boat and engine aid programme would still be implemented in phases even though reclamation work had yet to begin.


He said the aim of the new boats and engines as well as other equipment such as robots, sonar and GPS was to empower southern Penang Island fishermen, who relied on their boats and engines to make a living.


He said the state government took into account the situation of fishermen who needed larger boats and more powerful engines to move faster and work more safely in fishing areas located far from the PSI site.


“The state government also takes into account that fishermen face huge costs if they need to repair their old boats or buy new boats.


“With this in mind, the state government decided to prioritise fishermen who urgently need new boats even though the PSI reclamation has not started,” he said.


In the same, five other fishermen, whose new boats are being built, also received replica keys from Mohd Sayuthi in the ceremony.


The five would receive their boats and engines in the near future, followed by others in phases. All 12 boats and engines in this batch cost the state government an estimated RM960,000.


Last year, the first group of 20 fishermen received their new boats and engines under the SIMP.


Under the scheme, all 315 boat owners from the Permatang Tepi Laut, Sungai Batu, Teluk Kumbar and Gertak Sanggul fishermen units located in PSI’s Tier 1 area are eligible to receive new boats measuring 27 feet and more powerful engines of 90 to 100HP (horsepower).


During the event Mohd Sayuthi presented the Domestic Mate Less Than 500 Gross Tonnage (< 500 GT) Certificates of Competence and the seafarer licenses to 11 fishermen who recently passed the Malaysian Marine Department’s exam.


They had earlier enrolled in the seafarer course offered under the SIMP to improve their qualifications so they could take advantage of new business and employment opportunities in the PSI project.


“With these certificates of competence, they can pilot passenger boats.


“This gives them the opportunity to earn extra income by providing water transportation services that will be required in the PSI reclamation soon,” he said,adding that the state government intends to prioritise fishermen and local residents in job opportunities that will be created to support reclamation and construction activities.


He hopes that the fishermen in south Penang Island will seize the opportunities available to progress alongside the project.


Some 150 people attended the ceremony. Among those present were Penang Infrastructure Corporation chief executive officer Datuk Seri Farizan Darus, Silicon Island Development Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Szeto Wai Loong and representatives from the state government and related organisations such as the State Fisheries Department,Fish Development Authority of Malaysia, Marine Department, Koperasi Komuniti Pulau Pinang Selatan Berhad and others.

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