KOTA KINABALU: The police are not rushing in their studies on the use of pump boats in Sabah’s waters as a firm decision must be derived together with all relevant agencies.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Omar Mammah said they will only come up with proposed measures after discussing with relevant agencies such as the Maritime along with the Agriculture and Fisheries departments to avoid going back and forth on the use of the boats, which used water pumps to move.
“We have to conduct a thorough study on the matter; we do not want to flip-flop between allowing it and then banning it again.
“The police do not want to take a unilateral stand, we have to discuss it with the other agencies as the decision affects the livelihood of the small-scale fishing community.
“We are still studying the matter before making a proposal to the state government whether pump boats should be totally banned, or should be allowed with certain conditions
“Hopefully, we can submit it to the Chief Minister soon, ” he said when asked about the progress on the review of the use of pump boats.
Omar said this when met during the third bilateral meeting of the Royal Malaysian Police’s Marine Police Force and Philippine National Police - Maritime Group (PNP-MG), which was also attended by Police Brigadier General Rwin Pagkalinawan, who is PNP-MG director, on Monday (Oct 21).
Late last month, Omar said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal had instructed him to take another look at the use of pump boats in the state, after the kidnapping of three Indonesian fishermen off Lahad Datu waters where the kidnap-for-ransom group used two pump boats.
The use of pump boats was initially banned by the previous Barisan Nasional administration but the current state government had allowed it to be used by small-scale fishermen at coastal areas, as long as they are not in the open sea.
Meanwhile, Omar said the bilateral meeting will see both parties discussing the emerging threat of vessels encroaching for illegal fishing, a shared problem in the waters of both nations.
“The meeting is an indication both countries are committed to safeguarding the security of our shared borders.
“One challenge of the vast border we share is that we cannot deploy our manpower to every inch of area.
“We see vessels from other countries encroaching our territories, both in Malaysia and the Philippines and hopefully this meeting will come up with good proposals and solutions that we can bring to our leaders, where if accepted, it can be implemented on both sides, ” he added.
Pagkalinawan, meanwhile, said it would be easier for Malaysia and the Philippines to cooperate in controlling illegal and unregulated fishing if they are on the same page with regard to communications and infrastructure such as faster boats to chase the culprits.
“I believe with more communications with the units in the field, it will make it easier for Malaysia and the Philippines to interact as we have the Palawan and Tawi-Tawi provinces connecting to Sabah," he said.