Boat-Making, A Dying Industry In Pulau Duyong

Last update: 23/07/2015

KUALA NERUS, July 23 (Bernama) -- The boat-making industry in Pulau Duyong is said to be on the decline with no order received since five years ago.

A well-known boat-maker on the island, Abdullah Muda, 78, said the people on the island thrived on the boat for a living during the 1970s and 1980s with several workshops built then for the purpose.

"Now, there is no more and the main factor the industry is dying is because of the multi-folds increase in raw material, especially the chengal wood.

"When I first started making boats in the 1950s, the price of cengal was only about RM300 a tonne, and now it has gone up to RM16,000 per tonne," he told Bernama when met at his residence here today.

Known as "Haji Lah" to residents here, Abdullah said there were attempts by Giat Mara to save the industry by sending its trainees to learn the art of boat making from him, as well as making a recording on building a boat.

He said there were also trainees from the Central Terengganu Development Authority (Ketengah).

Abdullah said he had been in the boat industry for about 60 years and had built more than 100 boats, including luxury yatchs, with the help of six to seven skilled boat makers.

"I started with building passengers boats and then progressed to fishing boats, the price of cengal wood was cheap then," he added.

He said his clients included from the United States of America, Alaska, England, Italy, France, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, Algeria, Canada and Singapore.

"The most expensive yatch, which cost about USD1 million, was ordered by a client from England.

"I was only asked to build the yatch, while the engine and other equipment were provided by the owner of the yatch," said the recipient of the 2005 Anugerah Tokoh Seni Negeri Terengganu.