KOTA KINABALU: The State Government wants immediate investigations to be carried out to identify those responsible for supplying the materials used for making fish bombs in the State.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal also wants stern actions, including imposing a stiffer penalty, on fishermen found using the bombing method to fish in Sabah waters.
He said the question was where the explosives used in the fish bombs came from.
“Where did they obtain the bomb device? Is it from this country or from outside the country? We have to look into that,” he said, adding the authorities need to place strict restrictions on the use of such materials.
The use of fish bombs in the State, Shafie said, has been going on for a long time and, hence, stern actions must be taken to combat such activities.
“Such actions must be taken against any party involved in the practice of fish bombing. As the Semporna Member of Parliament, I have repeatedly been voicing out on this subject matter, on how (steps) to overcome it.
“This fish bombing practice must be curbed, including by imposing heavy penalties on the perpetrators,” he told reporters after the 2019 Petronas Education Sponsorship Programme, here, Sunday.
Shafie said this in response to the incident which killed two tourists from China and a local dive master while diving in the waters near Kulapuan Island, Semporna.
In the incident between 4pm and 6pm on Friday, the three victims were hit by a fish bomb thrown by a perpetrator near the location of the dive.
Shafie said enforcement is also crucial to address the issue of fish bombing, which has long-term effects.
He also called on local residents to co-operate with the authorities if they have information on fishermen practising fish bombing.
“This (fish bombing) method does not benefit anyone in the long run as it affects the marine eco-system and human health.
“This is because fish bombs contain poison, the fish (caught using this method) will be poisoned and when we eat the fish, it would lead to illnesses,” he explained.
On calls that the State Government to ban the use of pump boats, Shafie said the Government would take into consideration proposals by all parties.
“The use of it (pump boats) among fishermen is not a major contributor to fish bombing because pump boat is just an equipment to catch marine products. The most important thing is we want to find the masterminds who are selling the materials used for making fish bombs,” he said.
Meanwhile, Shafie said the State Government will work closely with Petronas to identify new oil production sites in Sabah.
“We (government) will co-operate with Petronas in conducting exploration activities as the revenue to be obtained by Petronas will also benefit the State,” he said when asked about the potential of exploring new oil wells in Sabah.
“The exploration activity entails huge cost and it’s not a simple job,” he said.
Asked on claims that local contractors were not prioritised in the Petronas projects in Sabah, Shafie said there was room for contractors from Sabah but their existing abilities needed to be improved.