SUNGAI PETANI: A group of fishermen in Teluk Bayu in Kampung Bukit Kechik here have taken the initiative to raise RM30,000 to build an alternative route to avoid paying a RM10 fee to use the only road to a jetty.
One of the fishermen told FMT that since last year, visitors to the jetty in the village have been charged between RM4 to RM10 depending on whether they are going fishing or want to transport their catch using lorries.
Zahid Ahmad said the jetty can only be accessed through the private road and the fee is a burden to the fishermen.
“We are now collecting donations to build a road that goes through government reserve land. Once the road is complete, we won’t need to pay to use that private road,” he said.
He said the fishermen who operate the 100 boats used at the jetty have promised to contribute RM300 each.
Meanwhile, he also hoped that the government would increase its monthly assistance to fishermen from RM300 to RM500 due to the rising cost of living, adding that their income was also uncertain as they have to compete with foreign fishermen in the same waters.
“We can’t save any money,” said Zahid, who has been a fisherman for 15 years.
Another fisherman, Mohamad Firdaus, said he hoped the jetty could be equipped with modern facilities such as cranes.
He also urged the government to assist them in developing fish cage farming to generate additional income.
According to Mohamad, the pollution in the waters off Kedah had also impacted them as it has reduced their catch.
“We have requested for help from the relevant authorities and our local MP several times but they remain silent until now,” he said.
Another fisherman, Ahmad Zakaria Abdullah, hoped that those elected in the upcoming state election will be more actively involved in the area.
“We don’t want them (elected representatives) to only appear during elections then disappear after winning. All this while we struggle to make a living by ourselves.”
“The cost of living is increasing, goods are becoming more expensive, and our catch is unpredictable,” he added.