Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo said both countries agreed that the move was necessary after taking into consideration the fishermen’s welfare. Pic by NSTP/MOHD RADZI BUJANG

KUCHING: Malaysian and Indonesian fishermen arrested for encroaching into the waters of the two countries will be freed.

The proposal to free the fishermen and release their boats was deliberated and agreed upon during the 12th Annual Consultation Between Malaysia and Indonesia, which was held here today.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo said both countries agreed that the move was necessary after taking into consideration the fishermen’s welfare.

“We found that these fishermen come from low-income backgrounds and that their detention should not be continued.

“Today, we agreed that all fishermen detained in Indonesia and Malaysia will be freed along with their boats so that they can return home and generate income for their families.

“The governments of the two nations are concerned with the welfare of the fishermen and we agreed that they deserve all the protection enabling them to improve the livelihood of their families,” both leaders said in a joint press conference held after the meeting.

More than 10 issues including politics, economic development, socio-economy, border security and transboundary cooperation were discussed during the meeting, which was also attended by an entourage of 17 ministers and head of departments from the Indonesian government.

Najib and Jokowi earlier witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries on Islamic higher education sector cooperation.

Present were Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Kong, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, High Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid and Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed.

Also present were Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Abdul Rahman Zohari Abang Openg and his Sabah counterpart, Tan Sri Musa Aman.sia

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