BAGAN DATUK, Feb 14 (Bernama) -- The country's largest tuna processing plant will be built in Hutan Melintang here in the near future.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said 8.1 hectares of land near the Sungai Bernam estuary had been identified for the construction of the plant.
"My friends from the Fishermen's Association suggested to open a tuna factory in Hutan Melintang. I agreed for Malaysia's largest tuna factory to be built in Hutan Melintang.
"I have discussed with the Malaysian Fisheries Development Authority and 20 acres (8.1 hectares) of land will be developed in Bagan Hutan Melintang," he said in his speech at a dinner held in conjunction with the 35th anniversary of the Hutan Melintang Hai Suah Association (1983) and Chinese New Year Celebration here today.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also Bagan Datuk MP said the factory would provide employment opportunities to about 2,000 locals, especially residents of Bagan Datuk.
He said Perak contributed 25 per cent of the country's total marine catches, part of which was from Bagan Hutan Melintang.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said he was aware of three fishing boats and crew from Hutan Melintang in custody of the Indonesian authorities on Jan 19, and taken to Langsa in Sumatra.
He said he had already asked Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek to work on freeing the fishermen and their boats.
At the same time, Ahmad Zahid said he would also seek help from the Indonesian Government to assist in the matter, as was done to free fishermen from Sekinchan, Selangor, in the past.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Prime Minister said he would also instruct the National Registration Department to resolve issues of children born out of wedlock among the Chinese community, not being able to obtain a MyKad, especially those in Bagan Datuk.
"I see these children have done no wrong, they were born...but because their parents did not register their marriage, the children are not able to sit for their exams.
"I will fight for these eligible children to receive their identity cards and Malaysian citizenship," he said.