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Indonesia plans to send back its fishermen here
Published on: Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Sandakan: Indonesia plans to send home its citizens working as fishermen in Sabah if the security situation in the State's East Coast waters is still not conducive. Its Consul General in Kota Kinabalu, Krishna Djelani, said many of the fishermen have expressed concerns over the kidnappings of Indonesian nationals in Sabah waters.

He said Indonesians working for local fishing vessel owners in Sabah have been frequently kidnapped when going out to sea although the Malaysian Government had tightened security.

"We are very concerned because the kidnapping victims are citizens of our country.

"This uncertainty in Sabah's East Coast poses threats to our nationals, and we want to send them home if they want to go."

Krishna said the consul's office was in the process of gathering information and details of those who wish to leave Sabah.

In this respect, he urged employers to be more thoughtful of their workers and to help the next-of-kin of kidnap victims who have no one else to turn to for a living.

"Employers here can at least help to feed the victims' families back home," he said.

He said that of the 300,000 registered Indonesian workers in Sabah, some 1,700 are fishermen.

A total of 36 Indonesians have been reported kidnapped since 2003.

Most of the victims have been released but those from the two latest incidents–one taken from Pulau Gaya, Semporna and two in Pegasus Reef, Kinabatangan, and a handful of others–are still in the hands of their captives, Krishna told a press conference here Monday.

Also present were Indonesia Consul in Tawau, Jati Ismoyo, Head of Indonesia Citizen Protection Special Officers (Satgas) in Kota Kinabalu, Consul Hadi Syarifuddin, and Satgas in Tawau, Consul Iskandar Abdullah.

Employers in Sabah are also urged to install security systems in their vessels to better protect their workers at sea.

Krishna also expressed his gratitude to Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal for his concerns about the security situation in the State's East Coast waters.

He said they have met with Esscom (Eastern Sabah Security Command) and placed stickers of Esscom's telephone contact numbers as well as the consulate's on fishing vessels operating in the East Coast waters, including Kudat and Labuan.

Asked on the plan to send home Indonesian fishermen, Krishna said it would be carried out as soon as they have completed compiling the data.

During the meeting with the fishermen in Sandakan, he said, most of the Indonesian citizens present expressed their willingness to return to their country.

Meanwhile, Indonesian Consul General in Tawau, Sulistijo Djati Ismojo, expressed his gratitude to Shafie for the latter's suggestion that aggressive action should be taken against the armed kidnappers.

Ismojo also reminded the employers to equip their fishing vessels with good working communication tools, apart from the Indonesian fishermen's need to establish good relations with the security forces at Esszone (Eastern Sabah Security Zone). -Mardinah Jikur



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