Minister wants agencies to do their jobs to prevent encroachment

KUCHING: A minister wants the issue of foreign fishing vessels trespassing into Sarawak waters looked into immediately.

It was reported recently that encroachment occurred in the waters of Sibu, Bintulu and Miri.

“We should not allow any encroachment at all. This is a serious issue,” said Minister in the Chief Minister’s Office (Integrity and Ombudsman) Datuk Talib Zulpilip.

The Jepak assemblyman viewed excuses of inadequacy made by various agencies as unacceptable.

Talib Zulpilip

“This is tantamount to saying that there is nothing that could be or would be done,” he told New Sarawak Tribune.

“Are we signalling to the encroachers that they could do anything, as we do not have the capability to deal with them?

“Or are we telling our fishermen that the authorities are not going to afford them protection?” he questioned.

Talib also expressed his concern for the safety of local fishermen.

“Foreign encroachers could likely be armed. They could be dangerous not only to fishermen, but to the security of the state.

“So, there is a sense of urgency in the need to address the ongoing issue,” he stressed.

Last Monday, Sarawak Fishermen Association (Penesa) chairman Jam Hajimi revealed that two weeks ago, representatives from Sibu, Bintulu and Miri complained about incidents of encroachment.

Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing also lambasted the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and Fisheries Department for not doing their job in preventing incidents of encroachment last Saturday.