Sabah wants to regain right to collect revenues for all marine products
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah may only reopen its fishing industry to investors once it regains its rights to its sea and marine products.
In a statement after hosting the Malaysia China Business Council (MCBC) delegates here on Friday, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said the Sabah government is currently working to restore its rights over the State’s sea.
“We must do this because right now, we do not have the right to collect revenues from our own marine products except inland products such as fresh water and aquaculture products.
“The Fisheries Act 1985 gave the federal government the right to collect revenue for all marine products, which means that we are losing millions of ringgit revenue,” he said.
Currently, the State’s fisheries sector generates up to RM800 million annually which goes directly to the federal government through the Fisheries Development Authority of Malaysia (LKIM).
Kitingan said the situation had to be rectified as soon as possible so that the State could again take control of the industry including the issuance of licences.
In addition, he said having rights over its own waters would mean that Sabah would be able to attract investors who are interested to invest in its fisheries industry.
“Here is where we need the assistance from the MCBC to be the bridge for exports of Sabah produce to the Chinese market.
“We also welcome investors who are willing to share their technology to help increase our downstream industries and modernise the farming and agriculture in Sabah,” he concluded.