Urgent need to deal with encroachment into Sarawak waters

KUCHING (Bernama) – Complaints by local fishermen that their fishing activities were badly affected by foreign vessels’ encroachment into Sarawak waters required the immediate attention of various authorities, said Jepak Assemblyman Datuk Talib Zulpilip.

Talib, who is also Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department, said there was an urgent need to deal with the issue as the foreign encroachers could likely be armed and dangerous not only to fishermen but also to the country’s security.

He said stating inadequacy of the various agencies as the reason for the problem, should not be accepted.

“This is tantamount to saying that there is nothing that could be or would be done.

“Are we signalling to the encroachers that they could do anything, as we do not have the capability to deal with them?” he said in a statement yesterday.

Sarawak Fishermen Association (Penesa) Chairman Jam Hajimi had recently said foreign vessels encroaching into Sarawak waters had affected the fishing activities in Miri, Bintulu and Sibu.

In the latest incident involving foreign fishermen from Vietnam, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Sarawak director Maritime First Admiral Robert Teh Geok Chuan said four boats were detained on July 7 at Tanjung Sirik, Mukah with 58 crew and skippers.

He told a media conference on Tuesday that the value of seizure of fish, boats and equipment from the four foreign boats was worth RM6 million.

On enforcement by MMEA in Sarawak waters, he said MMEA personnel were working closely with local fishermen on the matter as its assets were not operational at the moment.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Fisheries Development Authority (LKIM) chairman Muhammad Faiz Fadzil had an engagement session with local fishermen at Jalan Kampong Tanjong Bako yesterday.