03 Mar Penang forms cooperative for fishermen, locals in area eyed for reclamation
Published by The Vibes • 10/03/2022
GEORGE TOWN – A new cooperative to benefit fishermen, residents and local businesses at Penang island’s southern coast, which is being targeted for reclamation, held its first meeting today after it was formed through the initiative of the state government.
Named Koperasi Komuniti Pulau Pinang Selatan Bhd (KKPPSB), this co-op is set up under the Social Impact Management Plan (SIMP) for the Penang South Islands (PSI) project.
It was approved by the Cooperatives Commission of Malaysia on December 14 last year. The inaugural seminar and annual general meeting was held this morning at Hotel Seri Malaysia in Bayan Baru.
Present during the event was Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman who said that KKPPSB is aimed to spur economic growth in the southern parts of the island near the PSI project site.
“Setting off, KKPPSB will venture into the marketing of seafood under the Samudra initiative which will guarantee an equal and sustainable income for fishermen so that they are not taken advantage of in selling their catch to middlemen.
“Fishermen who are tied to a loan from a middleman cannot expect a good purchase price offer from the middleman.”
He also explained that many fishermen are tied to a ‘panggu’ system where the skipper and crew of a boat are paid daily wages.
“Under this system, income will be deducted from operating costs such as oil, ice and food before the balance is divided between the skipper and the crew,” he said.
A total of 952 fishermen are affected by the PSI project. They hail from nine units located south of the island. As of today, 342 fishermen have registered under SIMP.
The state hopes to increase the incomes of fishermen according to the concept of “fair trade” where they can choose a middleman from among themselves to sell their catch to the cooperative.
KKPPSB will buy at a higher price, pay a basic salary and a commission of 10% of the sales proceeds to the middlemen chosen by the fishermen before selling the catch at market prices.
The fishermen will also enjoy 70% of the profits from dividends while the co-op will absorb 30%.
Other initiatives include loans, additional job opportunities on passenger boats and other businesses.
Approximately 60 people registered to join the co-operative earlier today. It is open to three categories of people.
The first category covers fishermen registered with the Fisheries Department in southern areas of Teluk Tempoyak, Seri Jerejak, Permatang Tepi Laut, Sungai Batu, Teluk Kumbar, Batu Maung, Gertak Sanggul, Pulau Betong and Kuala Sungai Burung
The second category is for other locals who live or work in the southern part of Penang island and the third for officials from the state government and the project implementation agency. – The Vibes, March 10, 2022