PONTIAN: It was the first day of work for fisherman Mohd Sani Mohd Sood, a day which turned into an ordeal the 38-year-old will not soon forget.
While on the trip, he and three other colleagues were detained for 12 days by the Indonesian authorities.
Mohd Sani with skipper Koh Tuan Guan, 53, Teo Chin Heng, 49, and Abdul Rahman Chia, 52, had cast their fishing nets near Pulau Pisang at 1.30pm on Dec 17 when Indonesian Navy officials came aboard and told them to put their hands up.
The fishermen were directed onto the Indonesian Navy’s boat but Mohd Sani managed to discreetly inform boat owner Ang Siak Hui of their detention.
Teo said he could only think of his wife and three teenage children.
Koh said they were prepared for the worst when the Indonesian authorities detained them but they were well treated.
“Some of them constantly checked if we needed food or to use the bathroom,” he said after reaching the Pontian fishermen jetty yesterday, a day after their release.
His son, Wei Lun, 19, said his father’s arrest hit his mother the hardest when she received a call from the police.
“She spent many sleepless nights holding the phone and looking out, waiting to hear from my father.
“She only started to eat and smile after hearing my father’s voice on Dec 24,” he said.
Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Johor Baru District 6 director Maritime Capt Syed Nor Adli Syed A B Rahman said the fishermen, including a boat skipper, were arrested at 10.7 nautical miles (19.8km) South-East of Pulau Pisang on Dec 17.
He said MMEA, through the Malaysian Government, held a discussion with the Indonesian Navy over the matter.
“It turns out that the Indonesians suspected the fishermen of encroaching into their waters but investigations found that the fishermen were actually in Malaysian waters,” he told reporters yesterday.
The detained men were released on Dec 28 and were brought to the Pontian jetty.
Capt Syed Nor Adli thanked the Government as their close ties with their Indonesian counterpart led to the issue being resolved quickly.