KUALA LUMPUR – The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) vessels alleged to have encroached the Ambalat waters of Indonesia may have done so accidentally, Indonesian Ambassador to Malaysia Herman Prayitno said.
As such, he said the matter could be resolved diplomatically and should not be exaggerated.
He explained that maritime relations between Malaysia and Indonesia had always been good despite some unsolved matters relating to maritime borders.
“As we all know, the matters are still being discussed, so Malaysian vessels are not expected to enter the Ambalat waters, but we understand that sometimes we may have accidentally done so (enter the waters of other countries).”
He said this to reporters after attending the breaking of fast event held in conjunction with the Malaysia-Indonesia ASEAN Cultural and Economic forum here yesterday.
An Indonesian newspaper had recently claimed that a number of Malaysian warships had entered the Ambalat waters of late.
Citing the recent hijacking of MT Orkim Harmony tanker on June 11, Herman said good maritime relations between Malaysia and Indonesia were apparent when Indonesia had also participated in the search operation of the ship.
He added that although the eight suspects who hijacked the tanker were found to be Indonesians, it never affected the bilateral ties between the two countries.
When asked about the trial of the suspects, Herman said it was up to the cooperation between the countries involved.
“There is no problem if the suspects are tried in either Malaysia or Indonesia, what matters is every criminal must be punished,” he said.
MT Orkim Harmony, laden with 6,000 tonnes of petrol worth RM21 million was reported missing at 8.57pm on June 11, on its way from Melaka to the Kuantan Port in Pahang.
The eight suspects were arrested by Vietnamese authorities near Tho Chu Island in southern Vietnam on June 19.