KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry will table a motion to amend the Fisheries Act at the upcoming Dewan Rakyat session to enable local fishermen to enter the deep sea.
Its minister Datuk Salahuddin Ayub (pix) said the move was to give local fishermen the opportunity to venture into the tuna fishing industry, one of the worldâ€™s biggest industries.
â€śWe will give the permit first, but we will have to wait for the next parliament session to amend our Fisheries Act to enable our fishermen to go out to the ocean. I can see this is going to be among the future industries which will bring good returns as the tuna industry has the potential to raise global income levels,â€ś he said during the Ruang Bicara programme entitled One Year into the New Malaysia: Agricultural Transformation, here last night.
In addition, he said, the ministry is looking for the best model to replace Padiberas Nasional Berhad (Bernas) which would conclude its concession in 2021.
Salahuddin said the module has yet to be finalised as the matter would have to be debated at eight levels of the ministry.
Among the approaches would probably be to propose that 30 or 40 per cent of Bernasâ€™ profits be channeled to farmers through a trust fund.
â€śPerhaps Bernas still needs to hold shares in certain percentages. We need to be careful because this is related to food safety. If 30 or 40 per cent of the profits go to the trust fund the farmers and fishermen will benefit not in the form of cash but through aid to upgrade their fishing boats or nets,â€ś he said.
On the export of agricultural products to China, Salahuddin said the ministry would intensify promotion so that Musang King durians, pineapples and honey jackfruits could enter the Chinese market.
â€śThrough statistical data provided to us on a visit to Beijing led by the prime minister, we were told that of the 1.4 billion Chinese population, only one per cent have tasted the Musang King durian.
â€śAs such we have to make sure that the integrity of our industry is maintained. We have to go into planting of good quality durian, pineapple and jackfruit species to advance. We will get to see the results in five yearsâ€™ time,â€ś he said. â€” Bernama