KIMANIS: The lives of more than 500 fishermen in the Kimanis parliamentary constituency, struggling to make a living due to dilapidated fish landing jetties, is set to improve.
Their 15-year wait for better and safer infrastructure is over with an allocation of RM500,000 received from the federal government to rebuild the facilities.
Bongawan Fishermen Welfare Development chairman Abu Bakar Jamil said the aid would be channelled shortly to improve the infrastructures in the area, thus allowing the fishermen to increase their income.
“On behalf of the fishermen, especially in Bongawan, we wish to thank the government for distributing this huge allocation.
“We also hope the government will pay attention to deepening the river to facilitate fishing boats to go out to sea,” he said.
Bakar received the mock cheque for the allocation from Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Salahuddin Ayub here recently.
The Kimanis parliamentary seat has two state constituencies — Bongawan and Membakut. The area is unique because Kimanis and Bongawan are located in the south of the Papar district, while Membakut is in the interior of Beaufort.
Bakar, who is also Papar Area Fishermen Association (PNK) board member, said the allocation was timely as fishermen in the area were making good catches.
He added that sea products, especially anchovies, caught by the fishermen were sold in Brunei, Labuan, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia.
Last Friday, Salahuddin also announced an allocation of RM90,000 to the fishermen’s representative in Kampung Biau, Bongawan, to repair the old jetty in the village.
Salahuddin also handed over a mock cheque for RM3 million to the Papar PNK. About RM1 million will be used for economic projects and RM2 million in building grants for business purposes.
Salahuddin said the allocation reflected the government’s commitment in ensuring the continuity of the ministry’s development programme for fishermen in the area, thus helping to increase the income of the group through entrepreneurship initiatives.
Meanwhile, Papar PNK chairman Kamis Jad thanked the federal government for their concern in giving importance to the fishery sector in the area as well as ensuring the welfare of the fishermen.
Khamis described the RM3 million allocation as a major success for the association this year after waiting for almost seven years.
“The allocation, among others, will be used to purchase a new building that will be used as the centre to sell fresh fish. We will take the fishermen’s catch and sell it there. This will help to increase their income,” he added.