KOTA KINABALU: Putrajaya has been lambasted for openly inviting Vietnamese and Thai fishermen to Malaysian waters.
This comes after the Chairman of the Fisheries Development Authority of Malaysia (LKIM), Datuk Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz Syed Abdul Fasal on Monday claimed that there was a 10% shortage of fish landings during MCO 3.0, due to lack of manpower for deep sea fishing.
Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz who is also a Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) leader also claimed that the manpower shortage could not be filled by locals, as locals are either not keen or do not possess the necessary skills.
In response, Datuk Junz Wong who is former Sabah Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry said that the LKIM Chairman’s statement was an insult to local fishermen throughout the country.
“No interest? No skill? That is an utter insult to fishermen nationwide!”
“The LKIM Chairman should go to the ground and meet local fishermen before coming to this silly conclusion.”
“We have so many fishermen. They have been catching fishes their entire life, but recently lost jobs.”
“So how can Putrajaya just claim that they are not interested or unskilled?”
Junz who is also Warisan Vice President also questioned the Sabah State Government’s silence.
“If KL wants to invite fishermen to KL, it is up to them. Let KL deplete their own fishes. But Sabah must not allow that to happen as we must prioritise Sabahan fishermen!”
“Unfortunately GRS have not said anything.”
“My successor, Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan must be aware of Putrajaya’s open invitation to Vietnamese and Thai fishermen by now. So what is his stand on this?”
Junz further elaborated how this MCO 3.0 is the perfect opportunity to turn-around the Sabah local fisheries industry.
“It is an open secret that at present, even without the admittance of new Vietnamese fishermen, there are already many Vietnamese fishing boats in Sabah waters.”
“The whole Sabah knows that the enforcement is having a hard time catching these Vietnamese boats, because of the complex web how these Vietnamese operators mask disguise themselves as Malaysian boat operators.”
“So, now at a time whereby all borders are closed, this is the perfect timing and chance to once and for all eradicate Vietnamese fishermen from Sabah waters.”
“When Warisan took over as government in 2018, there were already 52 deep sea licenses issued by BN. More than half were Vietnamese boats!”
“What did Warisan do? Number one. Warisan stopped issuing new licenses. Number two. Warisan froze and cancelled more than half of all these issued licenses.”
“We made sure only genuine Sabahan fishermen have these licenses, because ultimately, Sabah’s produces must go to Sabahans first.”
“We also protected the marine ecology for long term sustainability.”
“Not too hard right?”
“So what is GRS’s stand now? Yes man? Act don’t know or take a firm stand for the interests of Sabahans?”
Towards the end, Junz reminded the government to show empathy and compassion during this pandemic.
“I hope the government’s conscience is clear. Please do not turn a blind eye on the many local fishermen who have lost jobs.”
“Have some empathy and compassion. Help them. Not make their lives worse.”