Kota Kinabalu: In another round of survey on effect of MCO to business sector in Sabah, Institute Development Sabah (IDS) reveals an interesting finding on the fisheries sector in Sabah.
In his statement, Executive Director of IDS, Anthony Kiob stated that Sabah has been one of the highest contributors to the national fisheries sector for many years.
“From the period 2012 to 2018, total marine fish landing averaged at 208,159.34 metric tonnes per year worth an estimated RM1 billion ringgit, which indicates that Sabah is one of the main hubs for fish landing and consumption in Malaysia,” said Anthony.
“Unfortunately, although Sabah has one of the highest marine products’ landings in the country it has no control over the revenue from its marine product.
“The Fishery Act No. 317 (1985) gave the right to collect revenue for all marine products to the Federal Government while the State government is only given the right for inland products such as fresh water and aquaculture product. This means loss of millions of revenue for the state,” he said. Anthony said.
The situation was made worse when an export ban on marine products alive, dead, or fresh was enforced in 2016.
“Since 2016, a temporary periodic four-month export ban has been imposed in Sabah for selective marine products dubbed as “rakyat fishes”.
“The move is said to ensure sufficient local supplies for the festive seasons, but the State has consistently achieved surplus in self-sufficiency level.
“The ban was enforced arising from a report from the Lembaga Kemajuan Ikan Malaysia Negeri Sabah (LKIM) which indicates a drop in fish landing in Sabah which was not really the case,” he said.
Anthony further elaborated that the export ban has affected about 20 companies in Sabah with a total export volume estimated at 130,000 tonnes worth some RM800 Million.
“Since the implementation of the Act, Sabah’s government lose millions of possible income as it is unable to receive percentage of profit from these companies through taxes,” he said.
“The Sabah fisheries sectors continue to contribute revenue of RM700 to RM800 million annually which currently go directly to the Federal government through LKIM.
“Looking at the Sabah’s Fisheries contribution to the national economy, it is high time Sabah is given the right to control its marine export and marine income. This is after all is in accordance to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63),” said Anthony.
MA63 indicates that Sabah have rights over fisheries
Anthony stated that under MA63, Sabah have the respective rights over fisheries within the 200 nautical miles of the Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ) of the Coastal Borneo States of Sabah and Sarawak (CSOSS).
“The Fisheries Act 1985 is only applicable to the States of Malaya not to the Exclusive Economic Zone on the CSOSS.
“Sabah and Sarawak need to rectify this overlapping concern to revert to doing business as provided for under the MA63.”