File photo of a housing area.

SIBU: The fishermen community in Pulau Bruit near here certainly has reasons to smile these days. A housing estate comprising 307 units of houses being developed by the government is finally nearing completion.

Very soon, these poor fishermen will be moving into their new homes.

Pulau Bruit Area Fishermen Association chairman Ismaily Johari was equally excited that their years of waiting for the state government to provide proper housing for them was coming to fruition.

According to Ismaily, the resettlement scheme is for members of the association who do not have their own house.

“Our association has 2,000 members and they are fishermen from 13 villagers in Semop area. There are 307 units in this resettlement scheme for fishermen who have registered as members of the association. The condition for the scheme is that they must not already own a house,” he said.

The new houses are equipped with basic amenities such as water and electricity apart from a community hall and a mosque.

“Commercial shophouses will also be built in the area soon as it has been included in the master plan,” said Ismaily.

Construction of two bridges in the area was also in the pipeline so as to hasten economic activity. With the two bridges, villagers could also travel with ease by roads instead of relying heavily on riverine transport.

Ismaily predicted that the future is very bright for the fishing industry in Pulau Bruit.

“Pulau Bruit has big potential in the fishing industry. We want to heighten the fishing activity here but our main challenge is to change the mindset of the fishermen by instilling in them that the industry indeed has big potential,” he said.

There are seven fishing villages in Bruit which constantly produce reliable supply of fish products.

Ismaily said in order to help them market their fish product, better infrastructure facilities were required.

“We hope infrastructure projects can be speeded up so that fishermen could market their produce efficiently. We also have plan for a mini petrol kiosk to be built here,” he said.

On behalf of the fishermen in Pulau Bruit, Ismaily thanked both the State and Federal governments and local leaders for the projects.

“I hope with these projects, the socio-economy of the local fishermen will be greatly improved in the future,” he said.