PUTRAJAYA – The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) is in need of two vessels to function as motherships to beef up security control and surveillance in the country’s waters, especially to curb intrusion by foreign fishing boats and smugglers, it was stated here.
MMEA director-general Maritime Admiral Datuk Zulkifli Abu Bakar said these vessels, which would be able to carry more food and fuel supplies for operations, would most probably be stationed in the waters of Beting Patinggi Ali in the South China Sea and off the peninsular east coast.
These are big vessels which will enable longer periods of enforcement as they can be in the waters for a long time.
Small patrol boats can obtain food and fuel supplies from these vessels without having to return to shore, and it would save time and cost,? he said to Bernama.
He said MMEA had about 250 boats for patrol and monitoring in the country’s waters.
Zulkifli also said that the MMEA hoped to improve its infrastructure to facilitate operations.
MMEA needs bigger lockups because a single operation can result in the arrest of a large number of foreign fishermen and illegal immigrants,? he said.
Zulkifli said the agency was also cooperating with various other local and foreign agencies for more efficient and effective enforcement via intelligence information exchange.
“Besides, the approach of displaying assets through patrol and monitoring in the hot (crime-prone) areas helps to curb crime and expedite response upon receiving reports of maritime crime,” he said.
Zulkifli, who took over as MMEA director-general on June 1, said he hoped to spur MMEA into a respected maritime agency at the international level.
“I hope that with all maritime agencies working together, we can ensure the security and prosperity of the country,” he said.
Zulkifli, 57, holds a Master’s degree in International Law from the International Maritime Law Institute of the University of Malta and a law degree from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.