07 Mar Penang agency behind PSI project looks to train, upskill fisherfolk
Published by The Vibes • 7/03/2022
BUTTERWORTH – A key infrastructure development agency under the Penang government is upbeat about opportunities for local fisherfolk to earn a decent living and ensure their skills are passed on to the next generation, despite criticisms of coastal reclamation projects in the state.
Datuk Seri Farizan Darus, chief executive officer of Penang Infrastructure Corporation (PIC), said the state wants the income of fishermen to be on par with other jobs’ through the utilisation of new technologies and skills when netting their catches.
PIC is the lead public agency formed to oversee the execution of the proposed mega reclamation project off the southern coastline of the island.
Despite having seen rejection among segments of the inshore fishermen community and hitting a setback after it failed to get its environment impact assessment approved, PIC has decided to continue offering training to coastal fishermen to upgrade their skills and to consider deep-sea fishing to boost their catch volumes.
Farizan said the state government wants to create more jobs and business opportunities for the fishing community as the state intends for them to be on par with others.
Ten fishermen from the Penang South Island (PSI) area eyed for reclamation have become the first batch to benefit from the seafarer’s programme offered as part of the PSI’s Social Impact Management Plan.
Farizan said the “Mate Domestic less than 500 GT Open” seafarer’s programme would cover teachings on chartwork, rules and regulations, meteorology, general knowledge of ships, engineering knowledge, and restricted operators’ certification.
“The participants who pass the written assessment test will advance to the oral test, which will be conducted by the Maritime Department in two weeks. Those qualified will be awarded the certificate of competence that will enable them to work in international waters as seafarers,” he said.
Farizan said this after handing over certificates to 10 participants who attended the seafarer’s programme held at Akademi Maritime Penjana Ilmu at Taman Inderawasih in Prai near here.
The seven-day programme for the fishermen community ended yesterday.
Also present was Mohamad Nazir Hamzah, the managing director of maritime academy and Mohd Hafiz Abdul Majid, director of the Maritime Department for the northern zone.
Fauzan said that the certificate of competence would allow participants to widen their horizons and work on pontoons and ships of less than 500 tonnage.
“They can also work boat transport services for construction workers and tourists in the future to earn additional income. The programme was aimed to uplift the lifestyles of the fishermen community in the PSI area.
“This is another golden opportunity for the fishing community to enhance their knowledge in other aspects of the fishing industry and seafarers’ career and to obtain new skills and knowledge in new sectors,” Farizan added.
One of the participants, Fajinah Jaafar, 60, said the programme has taught her how to properly work at sea.
“It was an eye-opener as I did not know there were so many rules and regulations even for the fishermen to know. Normally, a fisherman does not have such knowledge, which he ought to have before going to sea,” she said. – The Vibes, March 7, 2022
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