Central Government Allegedly Failed to Pay Fishermen’s Incentives

KUALA LUMPUR, 3 Dec: The central government failed to settle the outstanding catch incentive payment of over RM100 million to fishermen throughout the country since last July.

The Member of Parliament for Taiping, Nga Kor Ming, said that the government, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industries, failed to pay subsidies for catch of 10 cents per kilogramme as promised.

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He said that the ministry received the RM6.03 billion allocation in the 2014 Budget and has the ability to bear the payment to fishermen, especially the Department of Fisheries which was given an allocation of RM240.5 million to carry out the programme.

“I have received complaints from fishermen in Hutan Melintang, Pantai Remis, Sungai Besar and Kuala Sepetang, that the ministry failed to settle the arrears of the incentive payment.

“The fishermen have submitted a claim however, the government failed to make payments as promised and now is already the fifth month in,” he said in a press conference at the Parliament lobby today.

In relation to this, he urged the central government to take immediate action on the outstanding payment because it affects the income of fishermen.

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    Kor Ming said that fishermen have to bear a high stress of living because of the increase in diesel price, 38 millimetre bottom trawls and restrictions to hire foreign labour to catch fish.

    “In addition to the catch incentive arrears, I also urge the government to announce an independent expert’s report on the basis of the 38mm fishing trawl involving fishermen on islands in November.

    “Without an independent expert’s report, the fishermen are not sure that the implementation of the policy can defend marine resources. An independent expert’s research should also be conducted to convince fishermen, and other ministries should continue to dialogue with them because fishing is the main protein source of this country,” he said.

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