Malaysia:A new system for hiring foreign fishing boat crew members, which includes applying for temporary work visiting passes for jobs on deep sea fishing boats, is being put on hold.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the system, which was scheduled to be implemented on March 1, is being postponed until further notice; and that the issuance of new temporary permits for foreign crew will be frozen effective from the date.
The new system includes acquiring permits of RM1,500 per foreign crew member.
"This (postponement) follows a request from the National Fishermen's Association recently, which said that the new system would financially burden boat operators who usually have 20 to 30 crew members per boat.
''The government has decided to put the new system on hold and continue with the old system (for the time being), which uses the seaman book system for Zone A and B crews,'' he said in a speech during the handing out of fishermen's allowance at Hutan Melintang multi-purpose here today.
The work visiting pass application, as part of the requirement in hiring foreign crew members, was scheduled for implementation in Oct last year, but was postponed to March 1 to give operators time to prepare themselves in terms of finance and the documentation process for their employees.
Employers currently pay RM640 for permits for each of their foreign workers.
There are currently about 141,000 registered fishermen throughout the country, 38,612 of which are foreigners.
At the event, a total of 1,261 fishermen from Hilir Perak received their monthly allowance totalling RM339,300.