Fishermen not responsive to aid
Only 2,000 register for monthly allowance
Fishermen in the hardcore poor bracket in Sabah are not very responsive to the subsistence allowance provided by the Federal Government, Fisheries Development Authority of Malaysia (LKIM) Chairman Datuk Abdul Rahim Ismail said. “Out of the 15,000 hardcore poor fishermen identified in Sabah, slightly more than 2,000 have registered themselves for the RM200 monthly allowance,” he said before breaking fast with the media here yesterday. Most of those who registered are boat owners and not crew members although the latter are also entitled to the assistance, he said. According to Abdul Rahim, the Federal Government has allocated RM180 million annually as subsistence allowance for hardore poor fishermen thrughout the country. LKIM, he said, has RM14 million monthly to dispense to fishermen needing assistance but since the scheme started in June this year, has paid out about half, or RM7.7 million monthly, to registered fishermen. He attributed this to the low number of registered fishermen as some of them have not bothered to renew their membership for the assistance scheme. “It is therefore the responsibility of the Fisheries Department in Sabah to go and register the fishermen so they are entitled to the assistance scheme,” he said, adding the recipients must be genuine fishermen to qualify. Abdul Rahim also said that he hopes to see at least half or 7,000 of the fishermen registered by the closing date for the scheme which is Oct 30. “Of course it does not mean that we will stop registering these people after Oct 30. We will continue as the deadline is only to ensure those who have registered receive the arrears,” he said. He also suggested billboards with information about LKIM’s assistance programmes be put up in coastal towns to promote awareness about what is available among the fishermen. Asked about abuse of e-diesel supplied to fishermen, Abdul Rahim pointed out that LKIM’s job is only to supply the fuel to the fishing industry. “After that is another story but you must remember e-diesel is not only supplied to the fishing industry,” he said. So far, the issue of the abuse has little impact on the fishermen and it is up to the relevant enforcement agencies to take the necessary action, he added.