Agenda Daily

Sabah fishermen advised to install proper communication systems

Sabah police have urged fishermen in the state to install proper communication systems on their boats which will enable them to raise the alarm in the event of attempted abductions or attacks from pirates.

Sabah Police Commissioner Abd Rashid Harun said, if possible, fishermen should install the Channel 16 communication system or the cheaper Automatic Identification System (AIS).

“Only 50 per cent of fishermen have switched to Channel 16,” said Rashid in a statement in the Daily Express. “Other fishermen say the AIS is cheaper and more effective for smaller boats.”

The authorities “don’t mind whatever system is used as long as all parties concerned can work together”.

“Any system must allow the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) to monitor the situation,” said Rashid.

He cautioned that it would be difficult to respond quickly and help fishermen in trouble if they refuse to install any system, adding that Channel 16 now communicates directly with Esscom.

Rashid noted that fishermen preferred to rely on their mobile phones.

“If their phones are taken away, they are left with nothing,” he said. “A system like Channel 16 will help them report any suspicious movements and these are tracked by it.”

The police chief said that whatever system used by the fishermen should be able to ensure the east coast was safe for fishing.

He also made two other important points in his statement.

The first, he said, was the need to employ foreigners legally.

“There was no issue with employers hiring foreigners but it must be done the proper way,” said Rashid. “Take the initiative to apply for work permits, proper papers and train the foreigners to co-operate with security enforcement teams.”

Also, said the police chief, local fishermen should not encroach into foreign waters.

He referred to an incident near Philippine waters off Pulau Tiga, Kudat, in October this year.

“Several local fishermen suffered gunshot wounds after they were fired at by a group of men,” said Rashid. “Those who were fired on claimed to be in Malaysian waters.”

It was not true, he said. “They should abide by the law in other countries just as we enforce our laws.”-29/11/2016

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