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Ahmad Samah, 60, said the use of pump boats would help reduce operational cost for traditional fishermen. NSTP/ Poliana Ronnie Sidom.

SANDAKAN: Local fishermen here welcomed the proposal to introduce a system to colour code pump boats within Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone) in an effort to beef up security there.

Ahmad Samah, 60, said the use of pump boats would help reduce operational cost for traditional fishermen.

He said the fishermen currently used 15 horse-power outbound engine which consumed up to 20 litres of petrol for a one-way trip to catch fish and shrimp.

“It’s costly compared to the amount of the catch. At most, we could bring back is three kilogramme of shrimp and they are sold between RM12 and RM30 a kilogramme.

“If we use pump engine, we can be at sea longer and bring home more catch,” said the local fisherman from Pulau Libaran, adding most fishermen have previously used pump boat and operated near the beach.

Meanwhile, Sharif Hashim Kampung Bahagia said many of the fishermen were still using pump boats as they could not afford the expensive outbound engine.

“We really support Esscom proposal to introduce colour-coded pump boats and to re-register all owners. This will allow local fishermen to carry out activity without breaking the law,” he said.

Another fisherman Suhaili Abdul Rahman, 38, from Kampung Pulau Bambangan, said continuous monitoring was needed when the move was introduced.

Recently, Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) commander Datuk Hazani Ghazali said the ban on pump boat remained until an effective mechanism to manage and monitor its use was identified.

Esscom has also proposed to the state government and other security agencies on colour-coded pump boats differentiated according to the districts, re-registration of boats as well as permit issuance.

The use of pump boats was banned by the previous state government following series of kidnappings and robberies at sea.

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