KUANTAN - The Agriculture and Agro-based Ministry has never issued any order for local fishermen not to use foreign crew, said its minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
He clarified that what is prohibited is the wholesale leasing of Malaysian fishing vessels to foreigners such as the Vietnamese, in what is referred to as the "Ali Baba arrangement".
In a meeting with fishermen here on Sept 15, Ismail had said Malaysian boat owners caught leasing out their vessels to the Vietnamese would have their licences revoked.
He had said the authorities would also not allow the licensing of used vessels bought from Vietnam crewed entirely by the Vietnamese as they often do not land their catch in Malaysia.
Ismail said the ruling did not mean an outright ban on Vietnamese fishermen, and added that if there was such a move, then it would also have to ban all foreign workers as well.
There was a recent incident in the waters off Kuantan where Vietnamese crew members of a trawler were reported to have attacked local fishermen with petrol bombs and shot at them with a pistol.