17 Aug First group of PSI fishermen receives new boats and engines
12 AUGUST 2022
First group of PSI fishermen receives new boats and engines
BUTTERWORTH: The Penang State Government has started to make good on its promise of new boats and engines for Penang South Islands (PSI) fishermen.
Today, four fishermen received new boats and engines under the Social Impact Management Plan (SIMP) at a ceremony graced by Deputy Chief Minister I YB Dato’ Ir. Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abd Rahman, who is also the Fishermen Taskforce chairman.
The new boats are larger with a length of 27 feet and a width of 7.4 feet and can carry loads of up to one tonne.
The boats also have safety features that prevent them from sinking when water gets into them and are equipped with GPS, sonar, robot (net hauler) as well as highpowered Mercury (90HP) or Yamaha (100HP) engines.
Veteran fishermen Mat Isa Mat Noor, 64, and Ahmad Khamis, 76, from Permatang Tepi Laut, who are among the first four recipients, said they were happy with the features of the new boats.
“I am very satisfied with the design and the safety feature. I saw for myself how they built the boat.
“The boat is also bigger. I will have more space to work onboard. My old boat is smaller and too cramped,” said Mat Isa, who last bought a new boat in 2004 at a cost of RM12,000.
Ahmad said he was excited to receive his new boat to replace his old 17-foot vessel, thanking the state government for the assistance.
He said he had been fishing for over 50 years and could only afford to change his boat twice.
“It’s not cheap to buy a new boat. I can hardly afford it. It is very good of the state government to provide fishermen like me with a new one,” he said.
Datuk Zakiyuddin said the handing over of the boats was a very meaningful moment for the fishermen and the Penang State Government.
“It means the PSI project’s benefits promised to the fishermen are being fulfilled in phases,” he said.
Apart from the boats, the implementation of the SIMP scheme also involves Koperasi Komuniti Pulau Pinang Selatan Berhad (KKPPSB), which was established earlier this year for the benefit of fishermen and locals, he said.
KKPPSB has been appointed by the Penang Infrastructure Corporation (PIC) to manage the boat designing by a marine consultant, the building of the fishing boats by local boat builders, and the supply of the boat engines.
“Through this boat and engine assistance programme, and other future business activities, KKPPSB will generate income and profit that will benefit its members, which are made up of fishermen and locals.
“Apart from that, local companies like Fibra Marine Manufacturing and Trading have been given the job to build the boats under the SIMP scheme,” he said.
Dato Zakiyuddin said this was a good example to show how a state project could provide economic spillovers to local residents and businesses in terms of business and employment opportunities.
According to the Department of Fisheries’ record, 315 boat owners from the Permatang Tepi Laut, Gertak Sanggul, Sungai Batu, and Teluk Kumbar units (Tier 1) are eligible to receive boat and engine assistance under the SIMP scheme.
Under the first phase, 16 more boats will be completed in late August and September for delivery to their new owners, who have been identified through the SIMP registration and boat audits conducted over the past year.
The Penang State Government, Dato’ Zakiyuddin said, decided to deliver 20 boats ahead of the project implementation to assist fishermen who were in dire need of new vessels to replace their old ones, which were no longer seaworthy or economic to repair.
“The 20 recipients in the first group were identified based on their SIMP registration and the condition of their existing boats,” he said.
The remaining 295 boats will be built after the PSI project’s Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIA) and Environmental Management Plan (EMP) are approved.
PIC chief executive officer Dato Seri Farizan Bin Darus said PIC would also appoint more boat makers to deliver the rest of the boats to ensure the vessels could be completed in six months after the reclamation received the green light to start.
He said the fishermen would still be able to fish during and after the PSI reclamation because their passage to the sea would remain unobstructed.
“South Penang Island fishermen usually catch fish outside the PSI site.
“Therefore, the SIMP scheme will also include a navigation channel to allow fishermen to go to sea around the clock regardless of the tide,” he said.
The SIMP scheme also includes financial assistance (ex-gratia), employment and business opportunities, training and upskilling programmes, educational support for fishermen’s children, and a housing ownership scheme.
“After the project is approved, the fishing community will be able to enjoy more SIMP benefits,” said Dato’ Farizan.
Also present at the ceremony were Teluk Air Tawar assemblyman YB Dato’ Mustafa Kamal bin Ahmad, Seberang Perai Utara district officer En Zulkifli Bin Rashid, and Transport Section head Dato’ Lim Hock Seng.
Others present were representatives from the state government and various agencies, the local police, Fire and Rescue Department, KKPPSB, Fibra Marine, MercurySupratechnic Sdn Bhd, Hong Bee Motors and HLY Marine engine suppliers, and project delivery partner SRS Consortium.