ON PAYING SUBSIDIES TO FISHERMEN.
The government is shooting itself in the foot over this one. It proposes to pay 10sen per kilogram of fish landed. Has anyone been to a jetty lately? Are all the catches going to be landed on one centralised jetty or what? My fishermen friends are agitating for the payment of subsidies.
The government is bound to crash headlong with problems. Receiving payments from Pos Malaysia is impractical. The fishing boat taikos have no time to be queuing up at post office counters.
Perhaps the biggest difficulty is in operations. Where will the fish be landed?. On one jetty alone, there may be several landing points. The jetty at Kuantan for example needs to have a least 10 officers manning landing counters to weigh the fish. Now who does the weighing or will the officers be instructed to accept what the fishermen tell them in good faith? We are giving too much personal discretion to these officers. What is stopping them from colluding with the boat owners to fabricate the quantity of fish caught?. If I were an owner of 5 boats, I will not mind paying the officer RM 1000 per boat if I can make a profit of RM1000 per boat after deducting diesel costs.
The sheer impracticality of manning the landing points and controlling possibility of abuses will endanger the government’s good intentions. Then what about landing points made elsewhere? In Kuantan some fishermen land their fishes on the beaches in Beserah, or in Tanjung Lumpur, even on Pantai Sepat. Will the government then set up shop in these places?
Perhaps, the government does not understand the fishermen mentality. These people think without borders. You know, everyday they go out to see with nothing separating them but the vast ocean. They have long mastered managing a borderless world. Their mindset has also been defined by their surrounding. They are a most uninhibited lot easily given to expressing their feelings bluntly and not always in ways beneficial to the government.
Next is the proposed payment of RM 200 each to the anak kapal. Who is to monitor the nationality of these fishermen? Most of the men are Thais working in Malaysia. Each boat tekong can pakat pakat with the Majuikan officer and certify all 28 men on a particular boat are Malaysians. Why not if I were to receive RM5,600 per boat?. If I have 5 boats I would receive RM 28,000. I will give my campanero RM 3000 per month and RM 10,000 to be shared by my crew. I still have in hand RM15,000 cash everymonth.
The government will be bankrupt in no time.