The Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek announced some good news today, especially for the families of six fishermen.
He said the six fishermen, arrested by Indonesia for trespassing into the country’s waters, were expected to be released soon.
He said in a statement that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and President Joko Widodo of Indonesia had agreed at the 12th Malaysia-Indonesia Annual Leaders’ Consultation last November that the two countries would release fishermen held by them for having trespassed into each other’s territories.
“I met Indonesian ambassador Rusdi Kirana yesterday and he was very positive (on the matter). Both sides are in the final stage of the process of releasing the fishermen, which is expected to be very soon.
“Today, I chaired a coordination meeting to ensure that the release of the Malaysian and Indonesian fishermen goes smoothly,” he said.
The meeting was also attended by representatives of the relevant ministries and agencies, including the Foreign Ministry, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry, National Security Council, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and Royal Malaysia Police, he said.
Six Malaysian fishermen are being held in Indonesia while 70 Indonesian fishermen are under detention in Malaysia for having trespassed into either country’s waters while fishing.
Shabery said he would go to Jakarta next week and call on Indonesian Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti to finalise the release of the Malaysian fishermen.
Meanwhile, in Dungun, Terengganu, the families of two of the six Malaysian fishermen harboured great hopes of being reunited with their breadwinners, namely Kamaruzaman Awi, 47, and Mahabob Hasimat, 54, who had been detained in Indonesia since April and July 2017, respectively.
Kamaruzaman’s wife, Farizon Engah, 41, said she hoped that her skipper husband could be released sooner to be reunited with the family.
“The telephone has been the only antidote to my longing to meet my husband who has been away for almost nine months,” said Farizon whose husband was arrested just three weeks after their marriage.
She was overjoyed when contacted by Bernama over the news of the impending release of the six Malaysian fishermen.
“Only Allah knows how much I miss my husband, and our families look forward to my husband’s return,” said Farizon who has been staying with her elder sister in Bukit Katil, Malacca, since the arrest of her husband.
Kamaruzaman was arrested along with three of his crew, his younger brother Roslin, 40, cousin Mohammad Zamri A Rahman, 46, and friend Ariffin Kasim, 58, after allegedly trespassing in the Riau waters of Indonesia on April 16 last year. The others have been released since.
The family of Mahabob, who was arrested on July 11 last year, also expressed gratitude over the announcement of his impending release.
Mahabob’s son Nasaruddin, 33, expressed gratitude and thanked the government and all others who had helped to get the fishermen released.
Nasaruddin said he had gone to Tanjung Pinang, Indonesia, four times between Sept 24 and Dec 28 last year to see his father at the prison there and found him to be in good health.