MFA hopes federal govt to maintain fuel subsidy for Miri fishermen
MIRI: The local fishing community wants the federal government to continue fuel subsidy for them.
Miri Fishermen Association ( MFA) chairman Musa Bujang believed that if the subsidy for both petrol and diesel for Class A fishermen here are discontinued, fishermen would have to fork up more money to buy fuel from the petrol kiosk, at retail prices – which could be between 20 and 30 per cent higher than subsidised prices; leaving them with no choice but to sell their catch at higher prices.
“It is important that the fuel subsidy be maintained so that fishermen could continue fishing and the prices of fish at the market would not increase,” he told The Borneo Post yesterday.
According to Musa, the majority of over 1,000 registered fishermen here are under Class A – those using longboats and ‘sampan’ (traditional boats) would be affected should the present fuel subsidy be discontinued by the present federal government.
He gave a scenario to illustrate the situation should the subsidy be revoked – at present, the subsidised price for 45 litres of petrol is around RM70; without the subsidy, the same volume of fuel would cost nearly RM100, which is a big difference for the local fishing community, many of whom are from poor households.
In relation to fish price, he said a kilogramme of ‘ ikan jarang gigi’ – the local golden snapper, which is among the most common catch here – would normally cost around RM12, but with the subsidy revoked, that same weight of catch could reach RM15.
“The consumers would feel the effect from the price hike,” added Musa.
Additionally, he also appealed to the government to continue providing the monthly cost of living allowance (Cola) to registered fishermen here as it as is of vital assistance.
According to him, over 300 MFA-registered fishermen are receiving Cola allowance.
It is reported that beginning this month, the government through the relevant ministry would conduct thorough screening of existing recipients and new applicants to determine their eligibility for Cola.
It is also learnt that MFAregistered fishermen are those from Kuala Baram, Batu Satu Lutong, Piasau Utara Miri, Kampung Pulau Melayu, Bakam, Beraya, Tusan, Peliau, Bungai, Kuala Sibuti and Niah.