KUALA TERENGGANU, July 18 — The Home Ministry will consider a proposal to impose whipping on foreign fishermen who are found guilty for poaching in Malaysian waters. Its Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ismail Mohamed Said said it was to curb poaching by foreign fishermen that had been happening for a long time and the existing fines and jail terms were seen as not sufficient as a lesson.
“The Fisheries Act 1985 provides for a fine of up to RM6 million for a skipper and up to RM600,000 or a jail term of up to two years, or both for a crew found guilty of poaching in the country’s waters.
“This proposal (whipping) depends on our discussions at the ministry level later,” he told reporters after visiting the Terengganu Maritime headquarters here today.
Ismail also suggested that locals who were found to be abusing their boat licences by giving and renting them to foreign fishermen be blacklisted.
“This is just our proposal to the Fisheries Department, (because) they are the ones who issue the licenses. If we just cancel the boat permit or license, they can re-apply using a new boat,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ismail said the ministry would also consider providing two assets to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), namely the Multi-Purpose Mission Ship and Maritime Patrol Aircraft to further strengthen enforcement and defence activities in the country’s waters.
In another development, Ismail said, 26 Vietnamese fishing boats were seized by the MMEA since Ops Kuda Laut was launched on June 24, involving seizures worth RM40 million.
He said the arrests involved 21 cases in Terengganu, Sabah (three) and Sarawak (two).