JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia has given assurance on the release of six Malaysian fishermen arrested for encroaching on the republic’s waters.

The assurance was given by Indonesian Marine Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti during the meeting with Malaysian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek yesterday.

Indonesia has given assurance on the release (of the fishermen) but not simultaneously, as there are several matters regarding the administration, laws and procedures to be adhered to in order to release them from the detention centre, said Ahmad Shabery here.

The minister said the fishermen would be released in stages starting today and the process was expected to be fully completed by February at the latest.

Malaysia also committed to release Indonesian fishermen held for encroaching on its territorial waters, he said.

We also have the same procedures, the administrative process , approval from the attorney-general, prisons and so on. They (Indonesian fishermen) are ready to be released, some of them will complete their prison time by end of January, and the rest, in February, he said.

The release of the fishermen is the result of the agreement reached between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the 12th Malaysia-Indonesia Annual Leaders’ Consultation in Kuching, Sarawak in November last year.

The six fishermen are Low Siong Huat, 59, who is now detained at Tanjung Pinang Prison; Chua Kee Chan, 63, (Labuhan Deli Prison, Medan); Mahabob Hasimat, 55 (Tanjung Pinang Prison); Leong Bian Seng, 61 (Batam); Abdul Rashid Nik, 53 (Lanal Tarempa) and Kamaruzaman Awi, 47 (Lanal Tarempa).