KUCHING, Aug 15: Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing says foreign vessels continue to encroach into Sarawak’s waters as there is no consequences.
“Unsurprisingly, my office has continued to receive complaints from local fishermen that foreign vessels are seen violating our maritime borders and intruding into our waters to plunder our local marine resources.”
“These Vietnamese boats are still boldly going to the exact spots where our local fishermen are plying their trade to shamelessly intimidate them without having to worry about any legal consequences for their actions.
“It is beyond infuriating that these very same fishermen who had filed numerous reports of these intrusions to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and the Miri police were not taken seriously,” said Tiong who is also Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) president in a press statement today.
He said, after being ignored by the authorities, the fishermen turned to him.
“…and obviously, I was disappointed to say the least. As past events have shown, these so-called maritime authorities only acted with piecemeal actions when faced with public pressure.
“The maritime and police authorities need to explain why our fishermen continue to file these complaints if there is really nothing to worry about out at sea. We simply cannot ignore their plight.
“Furthermore, since these complaints come with video evidence, how can the authorities continue to ignore them?” Tiong asked.
He said the head of MMEA Miri needed to answer for the agency’s lack of effective actions to contain the threats that are constantly being reported.
Due to frequent intrusions of foreign vessels and the subsequent complaints from local fishermen, Tiong said MMEA did hold a dialogue with the fishing industry’s representatives recently.
“Sadly, even after such a dialogue, the agency cannot come back with any effective methods to resolve the issue.
He said when the maritime and security enforcement authorities failed to carry out their duties of protection and maritime enforcement, the fishermen were forced to negotiate with these foreign vessels to safeguard their own livelihood and safety.
He pointed out that unfortunately, the foreign fishermen often reneged on the ad hoc agreement and continue to intimidate and threaten local fishermen since there was no enforcement by the authorities.
“It is doubly sad and infuriating that our local fishermen are faced with this threat with only their own meagre resources to protect themselves.”
Tiong said Miri chief of MMEA would be neglecting his duty if he continued to allow such incidences to recur and challenged him to personally go to the sea to experience the difficulties faced by local fishermen.
“Similarly, the Pakatan Harapan government must be held responsible for any threats and deadly consequences that could arise from these foreign intrusions.”
“It is a basic matter to instruct various agencies to carry out their duties effectively but obviously, even this is ‘insurmountable’ for the PH leaders.
“The only thing they can do is to continue heap blame on the previous government for their failures to carry out improvements now that they have formed the government,” said Tiong. — DayakDaily