KOTA KINABALU: The amount may be small for some, but for fishermen in the state, the RM200 cost of living allowance from the government is meaningful because it helps them cope with their daily lives.
Abdul Kahar Lait and Razit Serong, both of whom are natives of Pulau Gaya, off here, are among those in this group.
Both became fishermen since leaving secondary school, some 28 and 30 years ago respectively.
Abdul Kahar, 45, who is married to a teacher and has a two-year-old son, is thankful for being selected as a recipient of the Fishermen Cost of Living Allowance Assistance.
He said it was not easy being a fishermen as they were at the constant mercy of the weather and the condition at sea.
“On a good day, the catch can reach RM150 but on other days, we only manage to bring home two or three kilogrammes of fish, just enough for our own consumption.
“That is why this assistance is very meaningful to me. This is the first time that I receive such assistance since becoming a fisherman 28 years ago,” he said here yesterday.
Meanwhile, Razit, 51, who has five children, said the biggest challenge was to finance the children’s education.
With an income of RM450 a month and another RM500 to RM600 a month from his wife’s stall operation, the allowance has, in some ways, helped ease the burden of his family.
For Mastura Yusof, 58, from Pasir Putih, Putatan, said she would save the money for emergencies.
“I like venturing into the sea; that is why I follow my husband and son and become a fisherman myself.
“But I also run a small business at the Pasir Putih jetty for a side income,” she said, adding that the allowance could be used during emergencies such as when boat engines broke down.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Yahya Hussin, who is also the Agriculture and Food Industry Minister, presented the assistance to 1,072 fishermen around Kota Kinabalu.
Yahya said as of Jan 11, the Fisheries Development Authority of Malaysia had approved 8,192 applications for the allowance from 14 area fishermen organisations in the state.
The federal government allocated RM11 million a month to pay the allowance to fishermen nationwide, of which RM1.638 million a month will be for Sabah fishermen. — Bernama