Indonesian Fishermen In ESSZone Told To Boycott Going Out To Sea

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The fear of more kidnappings by cross-border criminals from southern Philippines sees Jakarta telling its nationals to stay away from fishing activities in ESSZone waters until they get better protection.

There are some 1,500 Indonesian nationals working as crew on board Malaysian-registered trawlers in Sabah's east coast. If they stop going out to sea, the fishing sector in the state would be badly affected.
There are some 1,500 Indonesian nationals working as crew on board Malaysian-registered trawlers in Sabah’s east coast. If they stop going out to sea, the fishing sector in the state would be badly affected.

TAWAU – Prices of fish and other sea catch in Sabah could go sky high following an advisory to all Indonesian nationals working in the fishing industry in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone), to temporarily stop their fishing activities there.

Hundreds of Indonesian nationals are employed by Malaysian-owner trawling companies in Sabah, and a boycott by them could result in the industry coming to a near stand-still.

Krishna Dielani
Krishna Dielani

The Indonesian Consulate chief representative, Krishna Dielani in Tawau said the advisory was valid until the Malaysian government could guarantee the safety of the Indonesian fishermen employed in ESSZone.

This covers the districts of Kunak, Lahad Datu, Tawau and Semporna for now.

“On Tuesday, the consulate held a meeting with 10 employers in the fishing industry and fishermen’s association representatives where they were informed that the Indonesian fishermen need to temporarily stop their fishing activities until their safety in the ESSZone waters is ensured.

“If this advisory is not abided by the Indonesian fishermen, they have to bear the risks including kidnapping,” he told reporters, here, Friday.

Krishna said to date, there were 1,500 Indonesian fishermen employed in the four districts.

On Nov 19, two Indonesian fishermen were kidnapped in the waters of Merabung, Lahad Datu, about two weeks after a kidnapping incident involving two others occurred in the Kertam waters of Kinabatangan, Sandakan.

fishermen unload their catch at a dock in the town of Semporna in Sabah State in East Malaysia, on the island of Borneo.
Fishermen, the majority of them Indonesians, unload their catch at a dock in the town of Semporna in Sabah. 

Krishna said besides fishermen, Indonesian nationals employed in the tourism and commercial sectors in the waters of the four districts also needed to suspend their work activities.

“This is in view of the security situation in the Sabah waters that border the Philippines where there had been frequent incidents of kidnapping for ransom involving Indonesian victims of late.”

He said Indonesian nationals affected by the advisory should return to Indonesia or do other work which did not require them to be at sea.

Krishna also said that Indonesian nationals in the ESSZone should follow the security rulings including the curfew order issued by the Malaysian authority.

“If there is an emergency situation involving Indonesians, particularly in Lahad Datu, Kunak, Semporna and Tawau, they should immediately report it to the nearest police station or call the Indonesian Consulate in Tawau at 089-772052 or 089-752969,” he added.