MALACCA: Six Malaysian fishermen, who were detained for almost 10 months by the Indonesian authorities for allegedly encroaching on their waters, arrived home yesterday after they were granted amnesty by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
The six of them, together with an Indonesian fisherman, were detained in international waters between Malaysia and Indonesia on March 8 last year.
They were released from Bengkalis Prison on Wednesday after Susilo offered an amnesty in the form of a reduced jail sentence and an abolition of the one million Rupiah (RM350,000) fine per person.
The Malaysian fishermen, all from Pontian, Johor, are Jamil Mohd Top, 53, Mohd Zamri Hambali, 26, Rosli Abd Rashid, 34, Zainodin Adam, 53, Ridzwan Aris, 35, and Ibrahim Mohd Kasim, 29.
They arrived at the Banda Hilir ferry jetty here at 1.30pm and were welcomed by their family members and friends.
One of the fishermen, Ridzwan, said the time spent in the Indonesian prison was an unforgettable experience for him.
"I never gave up hope and never stopped praying that I would be reunited with my family.
"My thoughts were always of them, especially my wife and three children."
Ridzwan, a fisherman for 15 years, said they were treated well while in prison.
Meanwhile, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Ahmad Maslan, who was at the jetty to welcome the fishermen home, said their release reflected the harmonious relationship between Malaysia and Indonesia.
"This is a historical event because never before has a Malaysian citizen been given amnesty by an Indonesian president.
"I really appreciate it," Ahmad said.
Ahmad, who is Pontian member of parliament, also thanked Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for discussing the matter with his Indonesian counterpart which led to the release of the fishermen.
"I have informed the prime minister of their release and he is very happy with the good news," he added.