ELIGIBLE fishermen and the local community in the south of Penang island can benefit from a newly established cooperative called Koperasi Komuniti Pulau Pinang Selatan Bhd (KKPPSB).
KKPPSB was set up under the Social Impact Management Plan (SIMP) for the Penang South Islands (PSI) project.
Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman said the KKPPSB membership was open to eligible members in three categories – Category One (fishermen who are registered with the Fisheries Department and operating in Teluk Tempoyak, Seri Jerejak, Permatang Tepi Laut, Sungai Batu, Teluk Kumbar, Batu Maung, Gertak Sanggul, Pulau Betong and Kuala Sungai Burung), Category Two (those who reside or work in the south of Penang island, near the PSI site), and Category Three (government and implementing agency officers involved in the project).
“KKPPSB targets 2,500 cooperative members from Category One, 1,500 members from Category Two and 1,000 members from Category Three.
“To ensure that the fishermen are the majority cooperative members, fishermen under Category One would be given additional 500 shares when they register as shareowners in KKPPSB. Only Category One cooperative members are given this privilege.
“The cooperative will be given assets on PSI, in line with Penang government’s commitment to ensure the local community is not sidelined in the development.
“Apart from annual dividends, members of the cooperative will also get other benefits like job and business opportunities, besides death benefits,” he said.
Ahmad Zakiyuddin, who is also Penang Islamic affairs, cooperatives and community empowerment committee chairman, said KKPPSB’s first annual general meeting (AGM) was held in Bayan Baru, as reported by Buletin Mutiara.
He said the membership fee was RM10, while RM100 was for the acquisition of rights and minimum shares.
He highlighted that KKPPSB would venture into the marketing of seafood under the “Samudra initiative”, which would ensure an equal and sustainable income for fishermen so that they would not be taken advantage of in selling their catch to middlemen.
“KKPPSB will play a huge role in realising the SIMP benefits, such as the building of new fishermen’s jetties, job and business opportunities and entrepreneurship support.
“There will be many business opportunities for locals to provide goods and services to support PSI development, recreational fishing and agrotourism activities, which will generate good income for the people,” he noted.
Ahmad Zakiyuddin said the Penang government had allocated a RM5mil start-up capital to enable KKPPSB to kick-start several business activities.
The activities included selling seafood purchased from south Penang island fishermen, providing water transportation for PSI construction workers, as well as building and managing fishermen’s jetties that would be provided under the SIMP scheme.
“The business community from south Penang island that can provide goods and services to support the PSI development are also welcome to join as Category Two members.
“The PSI project will create many opportunities that can benefit local business owners and KKPPSB will be a major player in the south Penang island business landscape for years to come,” Ahmad Zakiyuddin added.
A media statement by Penang Infrastructure Corporation (PIC) stated that in future, KKPPSB would also run other business activities like manufacturing and deploying fish aggregating devices (FADs) and artificial reefs; managing fish and shrimp hatcheries; providing maintenance services; and supplying food and bus or van transport service for construction workers.
“The cooperative will go into the petrol station, mini market, restaurant and kiosk cafe businesses; supply ice to fishermen and other businesses in the area; and sell dried seafood products.
“KKPPSB can also go into the agrotourism business by running passenger or tourist boat services to ferry sport fishing enthusiasts or sightseers.
“For instance, KKPPSB will manage the recreational fishing jetty at Sungai Kluang in the future.
“The existing jetty, which will be involved in the Pan Island Link 1 construction, will be replaced with a modern jetty,” said PIC.
Those eligible can register to be a cooperative member at Pusat Perkhidmatan Setempat Nelayan (PPSN) Permatang Damar Laut in Jalan Permatang Damar Laut.