Tuesday, November 25, 2008




The Sabah United Fisheries and Fishing Boat Association (SUFFBA) has called for Ko-Nelayan, a State agency, to continually manage the distribution of e-diesel in Sabah.

SUFFBA Chairman Arsani Arsaf expressed optimism yesterday that Ko-elayan would be able to handle the situation as they have been dealing with the matter over the last two years.

Malaysian Fisheries Development Board (LKIM) Chairman Datuk Abdul Rahim Ismail recently announced that the Sabah Fishermen Association (Pengasah) would be taking over the wholesale of subsidised e-diesel in Sabah gradually, beginning January next year.

Abdul Rahim said that the Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Ministry had approved the proposal in principle and RM9. 8 million litres of subsidised diesel was expected to be allocated to Pengasah for distribution to Sabah fishermen.

“We realise that there have been a few hiccups in the distribution of subsidised e-diesel by Ko-Nelayan but believe that the Agency has improved over the years. Even the e-diesel card is also causing a lot of problems to commercial fishermen, so we hope the relevant Ministry will review and look into ways that could help overcome the existing problems,” he said.

Arsani stressed that the Association is not pushing any kind of development, adding: “In fact, we welcome development which would benefit us in many ways. However sometimes these new developments are causing a lot of problems. Therefore, it is our hope that the relevant authority would at least provide us the opportunity to express our views on the proposed programmes before implementing them.”

He also called on the Government to reduce the RM1 .43 per-litre subsidised diesel price as soon as possible.

“We understand the current price is very much influenced by the global market, but many of our members are complaining that it was too much to bear, stressing that currently, the cost has also escalated.

“It is our hope that the Government could reduce the price to RM1 per litre ... fish output has not been that encouraging lately. Fishing is no longer as easy as anyone would think it is,” Arsani said.

He added that the fishermen are all waiting for good news from the relevant authority and hope that the Government would also take into consideration of their grouses.

There are five Associations representing 1,200 fishermen’s boats that are affiliated to SUFFBA with 700 members throughout the State.