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Most Tier 1 fishermen register for scheme

Most Tier 1 fishermen register for scheme

Published by The Star• 10/10/2023

Mohamad signing a plaque during the handing over of two new sheds to Permatang Tepi Laut fishermen in Kampung Binjai, Bayan Lepas. With him are Penang Infrastructure Corporation Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Seri Farizan Darus (left), Bayan Lepas assemblyman Azrul Mahathir (in maroon shirt) and Mohd Hafiz (in light blue shirt).


SINCE the Penang South Island (PSI) reclamation began on Sept 1, some 70% or 347 Tier 1 fishermen have registered for the project’s Social Impact Management Plan (SIMP).


Tier 1 fishermen totalling 496 are those from Permatang Tepi Laut, Sungai Batu, Gertak Sanggul and Teluk Kumbar fishermen units located closest to the PSI site.


Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Dr Mohamad Abdul Hamid said figures showed that fishermen were receptive to the project.


He said this was a positive development, considering that it was perceived that local fishermen were against it in the past.


“As soon as fishermen found out that the project had been approved, they were ready to register for the scheme.


“They also know that they can continue fishing,” said Mohamad who chairs the Fishermen’s Taskforce Committee.


He was speaking to reporters after handing over two new sheds to Permatang Tepi Laut fishermen in Kampung Binjai, Bayan Lepas.


Besides Tier 1, there are also Tier 2 registrations for 456 eligible fishermen from the Pulau Betong, Kuala Sungai Burung, Seri Jerjak, Telok Tempoyak and Batu Maung units.


A total of 210 fishermen or 46% from Tier 2 have signed up for SIMP.


The SIMP package offered to the 952 fishermen from nine fishing units in south Penang Island is based on their units’ locations and their status as tekong (boat owners) and awakawak (crew member).


They must be active and registered with the Fisheries Department to be eligible for SIMP benefits offered.


All registered fishermen will receive financial assistance (ex-gratia) and opt to take part in skills training programmes such as seafarer courses.


Tier 1 boat owners are also entitled to bigger boats and more powerful engines so they can go further to catch fish.


Permatang Tepi Laut fishermen, who berth their boats on the banks of Sungai Bayan Lepas, are also getting new sheds while waiting for a multipurpose jetty that can only be built after the reclaimed land is formed.


Two fishermen have received the first two units.


SIMP has been implemented in phases since last year.


So far, the state government has given new boats and engines to 32 fishermen and sent 20 for seafarer courses.


The SIMP educational support programme was also launched last year, benefiting the children of fishermen and other locals.


At the ceremony, eight fishermen’s children were rewarded with cash prizes for entering higher learning institutions while another eight received book vouchers for doing well in their university exams.


With the project kicked off, the disbursement of the first ex-gratia payment of 75% also started last month.


Southwest district officer Mohd Hafiz Aswad Nadzri said Penang had advanced some of the benefits ahead of the reclamation to help fishermen, especially those who were in desperate need of new boats.


He said the fishermen’s SIMP registrations were being checked and verified by the Pusat Perkhidmatan Setempat Nelayan, the state government and fisheries department before the Southwest District and Land Office processed the payments.


“To fishermen who have yet to receive their first payments, we ask for patience,” Mohd Hafiz added. — By TAN SIN CHOW

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