Vietnam and Malaysia expected to ink MOU on maritime security this year

KUALA TERENGGANU, April 5 (Bernama): Malaysia is expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Vietnam this year to strengthen cooperation in maritime security, including addressing the encroachment issue involving Vietnamese fishermen especially in the east coast waters.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) director-general Datuk Mohd Zubil Mat Som said the draft of the MoU was currently at the final stage and would be submitted to the Attorney-General’s Chambers to be reviewed.

"Both parties, namely the MMEA and Vietnam Coast Guard have agreed to sign the MoU which involves cooperation in various fields including enforcement and search and rescue operations.

"With this cooperation, I’m confident that we can address the encroachment issue by Vietnamese fishermen, especially in the east coast waters through information sharing such as using the Automatic Identification System (AIS).”

He said this to reporters after conducting a working visit to the Terengganu Maritime Headquarters here, today with state MMEA director Maritime Captain Muhammad Suffi Mohd Ramli also present.

In a related development, Mohd Zubil said the MMEA would receive three more coastal patrol vessels to tighten the security at the country’s maritime borders.

Besides that, the agency has received an allocation totalling RM280 million for the acquisition of the high-technology Multi Purpose Mission Ship (MPMS) which is equipped with four interceptor boats and advanced drones.

Meanwhile, he said from April 2019 to date, a total of 1,609 Vietnamese fishermen and 159 fishing vessels were arrested through the implementation of Op Naga and Op Kuda Laut, involving a total seizure amount of RM493.4 million.

"Since the MMEA begins operating in 2006, we have successfully arrested almost 2,000 Vietnamese fishing vessels, whereby 80 per cent of the vessels have been disposed of, ” he said. - Bernama

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