A TOTAL of 5,814 coastal fishermen from Zone A, who were badly affected by the movement control order (MCO), are now receiving their one-off payment of RM400 in stages from May 20.
The incentive, which is part of the RM76mil Penang People’s Aid Package 2.0 by the state government, aims to assist the people during these challenging times in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
State Agriculture, Agro-based Industries, Rural Development and Health Committee chairman Dr Norlela Ariffin said the Penang government has already disbursed the payment on May 20 through the Penang Fisheries Development Authority (LKIM).
“The state LKIM will then credit the payments to the fisherman who have bank account in stages.
“For those fishermen who do not have bank account, they can collect the incentive at the selected locations on the island and mainland starting from yesterday (May 21) and today,” she told Buletin Mutiara when met at Dewan Besar Sungai Dua in Butterworth. She was there to oversee the distribution of the one-off payment to the fishermen.
Buletin Mutiara managed to interview a few of the recipients regarding the incentive and below are their views:
Mohd Baharom (55, fisherman)
“First and foremost, I would like to express my deepest appreciation to the state government for not forgetting about us.
“I still remember the struggles that we, fishermen, faced during the MCO.
“One of the problems was that our catch dwindled due to the limited movement allowed during MCO.
“And it truly affected my income because I only depend on my daily wage as a fisherman.
“Thus, the one-off payment of RM400 really means a lot to me.
“At least, I can use it to spend on the upcoming Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration for my family.”
Nor Azmi Md Sapar (43, fisherman)
“I am from Kuala Muda Fisherman Association, and like everyone else, I was also badly affected because of the low catch.
“Life was hard for us back then but now, since the state government has started to open up the economy, we are starting to regain our pace.
“And this one-off payment of RM400 really eases my burden to prepare for the upcoming Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration.
“Although it is not much, I am still grateful. Other people may be in a worse situation.
“Thank you to the state government for looking into our plight.”
Mohd Zaidi Awang Mat Isa (35, fisherman)
“For me, my catch is not affected at all. At least, not in Penaga.
“But, it affected us when it came to delivery.
“Before MCO was implemented, we could send our catch to various markets in Seberang Perai.
“But during the MCO, it was hard for us to travel from one place to another.
“We could only sell our catch to a few markets in Penaga only. Hence, it caused our revenue to go down more than 50 percent.
“Thus, I am grateful for this RM400 cash aid.”
Chew Yam Kiang (65, fisherman)
“I have been a fisherman for almost 30 years.
“Never before have I faced such a difficult time like Covid-19 pandemic.
“It affected my livelihood as well as my family’s welfare with the low catch during the MCO.
“Luckily, there were some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that came forward to assist my family by providing us with some basic necessities.
“And with this RM400 cash aid, it can further ease up my burden.”
Bahar Siraj (84, fisherman)
“It was difficult for me to go out to the sea during the MCO and as a result my finance was severely impacted. But that did not stop me from finding an alternative way to generate income.
“My wife and I started to sell nasi lemak from house to house in our neighbourhood.
“This at least help to provide some income for us during the dire times. We were also not eligible for the Bantuan Prihatin Nasional (BPN) cash aid from the Federal Government.
“So, we are doing everything we can to survive.
“And with this RM400 cash aid from the state government, it will surely bring a huge relief to my family as we prepare to celebrate Hari Raya.”
Rosli Yusoff (62, fisherman)
“My main job is a fisherman but I do own a fishing shop which sells fishing equipment.
“Unfortunately during the MCO, my business was not allowed to operate as it does not fall under the essential services category.
“Furthermore, I am also not eligible for the BPN cash aid. Thus, this is a big blow to me.
“So, I only survived by using my only savings to support my family. I am the sole breadwinner; so just imagine our hardships during those times. I almost give up.
“But, since the Penang government has allowed almost all sectors to operate, my shop is already open for business.
“And with this RM400 cash aid from the state government, it serves as an additional cash assistance for me. I thank the Penang government for that.”
Story by Riadz Akmal and Danny Ooi
Pix by Noor Siti Nabilah Noorazis