Integrated fishery complex in main districts crucial for Sabah, says Kitingan


KOTA KINABALU: An integrated fishery complex must be established in Sabah's main fishery districts like Kota Kinabalu, Tawau and Sandakan to support the state's position as the main exporter for fishery products in Malaysia, says Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.

The State Agriculture and Fishery Minister said in his winding-up speech at the State Assembly on Wednesday (Nov 30), that Sabah contributed a positive balance of trade of around RM600mil to RM900mil yearly.

“The Self Sufficiency Level (SSL) for fish supply in Sabah is over 100%. The excess is over 50,000 metric tonnes with a value of around RM600mil. This excess catch includes live fish exported as well as those for downstream processing,” said Kitingan.

He added that such complexes will improve the handling of fishery activities, adding that this will include provisions for jetties, basic and support infrastructure as well as breeding systems for the aquaculture subsector.

Kitingan said that his ministry is also in discussion with outside investors to open a seaweed factory in Sabah.

Earlier, Kitingan said his ministry was allocated RM501.54mil under the 2023 state budget with Sabah Agriculture Department allotted RM115.39 mill from that amount.

He said this will support the Department’s aspiration to make the state a regional food hub.

Kitingan said that while RM6.513mil had been channeled in 2022 for preliminary upgrading work for the drainage and irrigation systems in Kota Marudu, Keningau, Membakut and Beluran, RM22.37mil will be channeled in 2023 to complete the upgrading of these systems.

“The Sabah Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) will always strive to reduce the impact of floods statewide, and RM41.80 mill has been approved for 2023 to complete flood mitigation projects at Kota Kinabalu, Tawau, Beaufort, Papar, Kudat and Sipitang,” he added.

Meanwhile, Sabah Public Works Minister Datuk Bung Moktar Radin said in his winding-up speech that the state's Public Works Department (PWD) has added and improved the drainage system along Pan Borneo Sabah highway project under the 2022 Budget.

He added that the Sabah PWD has coordinated with the state DID to find long-term solutions to the flood problem.

In his speech read out by Assistant Minister Datuk Robert Tawik, Bung Moktar said factors like climate change needs to be taken into account, especially unusual rainfall levels.

“To reduce the impact of flash floods, the appointed contractors continue manning the drainage systems to ensure the smooth flow of water from flood-prone areas,” said Bung Moktar.

“On their side, Sabah PWD will work on ensuring that the completed portion of the Pan Borneo Sabah highway project will be free from floodings and passable for road users,” Bung added.

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