FISH breeders in Kukup and Johor Baru are looking forward to hefty savings from the 60% discount in temporary occupation licence (TOL) rate given by Johor government as they continue to cope with the economic slowdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kukup Fish Breeders Association chairman Lim Thiam Hock said the state’s move to lower the TOL rate from 50sen per sq ft to 20sen per sq ft was much welcomed.
“It is a relief for the 78 fish breeders under the association as the pandemic has hit our business by about 60% to 70%.
“The lack of weddings and events at restaurants and hotels during Covid-19 has caused a huge drop in demand for fish.
“The border closure has also affected the quantity of fish exported to Singapore, ” he said in an interview.
He added that the discount was timely as the breeders were still struggling to recover from the mass fish deaths in 2019.
The estimated losses from that incident amounted to about RM10mil, said Lim.
He cited the example of a breeder whose TOL dues were about RM18,000.
After the discount, he would need to pay only about RM5,000.
He said on top of the TOL rate discount, the state also exempted fish breeders from paying TOL arrears from 2013 until 2019 totalling almost RM700,000.
Lim hopes that the state government will allow fish breeders who have already paid their dues, to carry forward the payment.
“At least 10 fish breeders have paid it before the state government’s announcement of exemption, ranging from a few thousand ringgit to RM18,000, ” he said.
Lim said he sought assistance from Tanjung Piai MP Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng who in turn had highlighted the matter to Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad to see what could be done to help those affected.