Monday, January 24

Tiong: Amended law will protect S’wak fishermen

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KUCHING: Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) staunchly supports the announcement by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to study the state’s laws on riverine and coastal fishing to amend the Sarawak Fisheries Ordinance 2003 to allow the establishment of a state coastal enforcement unit.

PDP president Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing in a statement last night said the amendments, slated to be implemented next year, will allow Sarawak to police the state’s coastal areas and detain illegal foreign vessels.

Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing

He said this is the political will needed to defend and secure the state’s marine borders from the rampant intrusion committed by foreign fishing vessels.

“As I have stressed numerous times in my statements, these intrusions make it extremely difficult for our fishermen to earn their livelihoods, and take away our God-given natural resources from our people.

“It is high time for Sarawak to take measures to secure our state maritime borders and marine resources, instead of relying on federal agencies which have shown to be ineffective at carrying out their mandate,” he said.

The Bintulu MP said over the months, there had been too many complaints from fishermen on the issue along with dialogue after dialogue, all of which did not seem to reach the ears of the heads of federal marine enforcement agencies.

Even taking into consideration Sarawak’s long coastline, the federal government clearly did not see fit to grant the level of resources needed for the state, he added.

Tiong added that the setting-up of a state coastal enforcement unit is well within Sarawak’s rights, highlighting that such a unit will give the state a much more rapid and effective solution to marine enforcement problems, and bring positive effects that can be felt in many areas away from the sea.

“Furthermore, such an enforcement unit will send a message to pirates and  foreign vessels to stay away from Sarawak waters, bringing back a much-needed sense of security to all legal vessels plying our state waters,” he said.