Trawler operator still receiving diesel subsidy

The C2 trawler operators are still enjoying a subsidy for diesel despite an earlier decision to remove all types of
subsidies for them, said Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Chua Tee Yong.

He said they still could purchase diesel at the subsidised rate of RM1.80 per litre but not the super subsidy for the fuel which was discontinued on June 1.

Super subsidised diesel is sold at RM1.25 a litre.

“RM1.80 per litre of diesel is still a subsidised price. Earlier, it was decided that we should remove all subsidies for C2 but after some appeals, we allowed them on the subsidy price of RM1.80 per litre, but not on super subsidy of RM1.25 per litre which previously they were entitled to. I hope they (trawler operators) can meet us and the officers from the Fisheries Development Authority LKIM who will explain to them in detail what it’s all about,” he told reporters today.

Chua was commenting on talk taht some operators of C2 trawlers planned to go on a nationwide strike on June 11 should the government not reconsider the disconinuation of the diesel super subsidy for them.

C2 licence holders are those who are allowed to fish up to 30 nautical miles off the coast while B and C holders are fishermen only permitted to fish within 20 nautical miles from the coast. Only C2 trawlers operators are affected by
the ruling on the subsidy cut.

The abolishment of the super subsidy for diesel given to the C2 fishing trawlers and the nine types of commercial vehicles, including limousine taxis, prime movers, general cargo movers, vans, rigid tanker lorries for flour transport, rigid lorries for refrigerated goods and water tankers took effect on 1 June.

Tee Yong explained the subsidy cut was implemented on 1,200 vessels with Zone C2 licences as they operated  under a commercial fishing licence where a licence holder could own more than one vessel and hire foreign workers.

Some of the vessels are also operated by companies.”The Government subsidises 25,000 to 28,000 litres of diesel equivalent to RM31,250 and RM35,000 for each vessel every month and all Zone C2 vessels could use up to an average of 14 million litres of diesel every month,” he said.

He said by removing the super subsidy, it helped the Government save RM18.9mil every month and RM226.8mil every year.

On the other hand, Chua said the Government would increase the incentive for fish caught by Zone C2 vessels from 10 sen per kilo to 20 sen following the abolishment of the super subsidy for them.

However, the C2 trawler operators still claim that the sudden increase of up to 67 per cent in fuel price was unbearable and they simply could not adjust well in such short notice.

They claimed that they had to pay up to RM10,000 extra for diesel and as ithas to be paid in cash, this had forced some of the trawlers operators, particulary in Sarawak stop going out to sea to catch fish.

Some representatives from the trawler operators are seeking a meeting with the ministry to discuss the issue as they want the government to reconsider the decision not to grant them super subsidy.

– Bernama