GEORGE TOWN, July 2 — Keen to contribute to their community in a way they know best, members of a fishermen’s association in Tanjung Tokong on Penang island banded together this week to hand out fresh fish to feed impoverished families in their area.
Persatuan Kampung Warisan Nelayan Tanjung Tokong vice-chairman Mohd Hydzir Noor said about five of the association members decided to come together to help poor families around the Tanjung Tokong area about two days ago.
“We started with buying fresh caught fish directly from the fishermen at a reasonable price and then we will either directly give it to the families we know are in bad economic situations or to the respective Village Development and Security Committees to hand it out,” he said.
He said several of the association members decided to pool their funds together and buy the fish directly from fishermen to give out to poor families.
“We will discuss with the fishermen on the prices of the fish, if the market price is very low, we will buy the fish from them at a reasonable price to give it to the poor so that they don’t face losses,” he said.
He said some fishermen had also willingly contributed the fish free to be given out and some offered to sell the fish at a lower than market price.
He said the initiative is also a way to help fishermen who were unable to sell their catch of the day at a reasonable price, if the market price is low.
“Sometimes, the prices of the fish will be so low, they will just release the fish back into the sea instead of bringing it in to sell to the middlemen so in this case, we will offer to buy it from them at a reasonable price of between RM3 to RM4 per kg,” he said.
Mohd Hydzir said yesterday they had managed to buy about 50kg of fish from the fishermen to distribute to several villages in Tanjung Tokong.
“Our goal is to buy about one tonne of fish each day to distribute to 10 villages in this area, especially the ones with poor families,” he said.
He said with one tonne of fish given out daily, each village will get about 100kg and each family could get about 1kg to 2kg of fish which could feed them for a few days.
“We have seen groups and non-governmental organisations giving out dry food stuff and we felt that these people need some fresh protein and fish is a good fresh protein,” he said.
This is not the first time the group of members in the association has done this.
The association treasurer Ishak Mohamed Yusoff said they have done this three times during the previous movement control orders.
“Each time, we gave out about one ton of fish and we directly handed it out to the people in the villages here,” he said.
Due to the good reception to their initiative, when they read about the white flag movement, they decided to get in on the action to do this again.
“We hope to do this as long as we can afford to help the poor, it is our way to contribute and help them during these challenging times,” Mohd Hydzir said.