Malaysia: Set up direct line for marine enforcers

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has called on Asean members to set up a direct line of communication between their maritime enforcement authorities to better coordinate the fight against piracy, sea robbery and maritime terrorism in the region’s waters.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said without effective regional coordination, even countries with advanced capabilities would not be able to effectively police maritime criminal activities taking place across borders.

“There is a need to develop information sharing mechanisms among related agencies as well as between countries within the region.

“The establishment of a focal point network will facilitate such information sharing,” Shahidan said at an Asean seminar on piracy, sea robbery and maritime terrorism.

The three-day event, which started yesterday, is organised by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) in collaboration with the Japan-Asean Integration Fund.

Speaking to reporters, MMEA director-general Datuk Mohd Amdan Kurish expressed his hope that representatives from other Asean maritime enforcement agencies attending the seminar would agree to Malaysia’s proposal.

“Right now, I have direct access only with my counterparts from the Police Coast Guard of Singapore and Indonesia’s Badan Keamanan Laut Indonesia, but not with the other Asean countries.

“We all need a direct line whereby if an incident occurs, I can pick up my phone and get to my friend from the Philippine coast guard, for example, so that we can work together more effectively,” said Amdan.

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