PETALING JAYA: A new lighthouse is guiding fishermen from the Sungai Besar village through the dangerous shallows in and back from the sea.
Its beacon was switched on last Monday, although a ceremony to launch it has yet to be held.
Standing at over 10m tall, the construction of the new concrete lighthouse was overseen by the Marine Department and is used to complement another one closer to shore.
Bagan Sungai Besar village head Chia Bok Long said that after nearly three months of construction, the lighthouse was finally completed last week.
“With the beacon now, fishing boats can navigate back to shore safely. It helps prevent the boats from being stuck in shallow parts of the sea,” he said here yesterday.
“We will have a ceremony to launch the lighthouse soon.”
The lighthouse replaces a 6m-tall one originally constructed by the local Hai San Fishermen’s Association some 2.4 nautical miles off the coast of Bagan Sungai Besar.
The wooden structure collapsed in June 2015 when a fishing boat rammed into it.
The local fishermen’s association had tried rebuilding the lighthouse, but a lack of funds and a willing contractor meant that work was stalled.
When Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai visited the town during the Sungai Besar by-election, the association approached him for help and he pledged RM500,000 to rebuild the lighthouse.
The lighthouse, said Chia, was important for the safety of the fishing folk.
“We want to thank Datuk Seri Liow for upholding his promise as well as our MP Budiman (Mohd Zohdi).
“The lighthouse is very important to the people here,” he said.
The lack of a lighthouse previously meant that it was difficult for the fishing boats to navigate back to shore, especially during rain or fog, and trawlers as well as medium-large vessels would be trapped out at sea during low tide.
This affected the price of their catch. The village has over 160 fishing boats.