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It was 9am and the committees were already at the site, arranging and rearranging and making last minute changes, and rehearsing to make sure everything’s perfect. The tide was slowly moving in, and the boats were ready at the jetty to take the VVIPs to release the fishes into the rivers. Local villages were bringing in cauldrons containing aromatic nasi beriyani and other dishes. Ah, can we just skip the ceremony and proceed to lunch?
Chairman of Malakoff, Tan Sri Abdul Halim Ali and MD/CEO of Malakoff, En Ahmad Jauhari Yahya arrived and chatted with Tuan Haji Sidek from the local Jabatan Perikanan. Haji Sidek has been with Jabatan Perikanan for many years and is passionate on the plight of the local fishermen.
He explained that for this project, he recommended ikan siakap (sea bass) as it has the highest fertility rate of up to 70% compared to other fishes such as ikan kerapu and ikan merah. This was a great opportunity and relief for the fishermen wo have suffered in terms of their daily catch and the initiative by Malakoff brings hope to the rehabilitation of the ecosystem and provides a boost to the livelihood of local fishermen.
Tan Sri Abdul Halim, in his speech, said that a total of 100,000 fry (anak ikan) will be released in Sungai Karang, Sungai Redan and Sungai Jeram Batu. The Malakoff Ikan Siakap Initiative is a part of Malakoff Community Partnerships (MCP) commitment towards the environment especially in the community where Malakoff held its operations. The initiative will benefit a total of 250 fishermen in the area and when successful, in 6 months’ time, will raise their revenue by up to 40%.
The VVIPs were then ushered to the jetty where a covered motorboat was waiting for them. A total of 7 bags of fry were released at the 3 key ares. It was a hot and sunny day but it didn’t deter them from enjoying the sceneries of mangroves at both sides of the river. The mangroves help protect the fry from intense sun rays and keep them cool underneath their shades. It also provides them with food and protection from strong tides.
Lunch was excellent, prepared by the local community. It has become a Malakoff tradition to bond with the locals by providing them such opportunities during various functions held at sites. It is also a way for us to taste the local special delicacies and assimilate ourselves with the locals.
While waiting for their ride to the airport, Tan Sri and En Ahmad Jauhari continued their discussions with the local authorities. Haji Sidek took this opportunity to thank and applaud Malakoff for coming with this initiative.
He added that this was a unique initiative that he has long hoped for, especially coming from a private sector, to help with the plight of local fishermen. He predicted that after 6 months, when they fry were old enough to breed and to be caught, the population of siakap would have increased and subsequently increasing the number of fishermen and their daily income.
**Congratulations and thank you to everyone who made the event a success. Well done!