KOTA KINABALU: It is not necessary for fishermen to carry firearms when at sea as doing so will only pose more danger to them, said fishermen associations in eastern Sabah.
Semporna Fishermen Association chairman Salleh Abdul Salleh said what was needed more were security devices and not firearms to ensure the safety of fishermen.
“The Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) or relevant authority must tighten regulation stressing on requirement for fishermen to have the automatic identification system (AIS) device, radar, and walkie-talkie.
“The authority must not allow fishermen to go fishing if these security devices are not installed. If fishermen were to have firearms on board, it will only invite more danger.
“Also if a fight broke out among crewmembers, the firearms can be misused. There will be more problem and we want to avoid untoward incident among our fishermen.”
He was commenting on a suggestion raised by Sri Tanjong assemblyman Chan Foong Hin during the recent state assembly sitting to allow fishermen to apply for a firearms licence.
Yesterday, Sabah police commissioner Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun said it would be up to the government whether to allow the implementation, adding situation would go out of control if fishermen were allowed to carry guns when at sea.
Meanwhile, Sandakan Fishermen Association Phua Peh Chee said it was important for the association and all fishermen to comply with instruction given by the authority such as Esscom and marine police.
“Carrying firearms will not help protect fishermen. What is important is to ensure that we install AIS and communication devices as advised by Esscom and police.”