WITH borders closed since the pandemic reached Malaysian shores, smugglers have been trying hard to bring their criminal trade across by sea.
Malaysian Maritime Agency (MMEA) has since found itself in a constant battle to keep smugglers from intruding into Malaysian waters.
In an online celebration of MMEA’s 16th anniversary, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said MMEA has had success in foiling the plans of drug and human traffickers who have stepped up their attempts to encroach into Malaysia’s marine borders since the movement control order began last year.
“Operations such as Ops Naga and Ops Kuda Laut have successfully cut off drug and human trafficking by sea, on top of illegal fishing,” he said.
Hamzah also praised the effectiveness of Ops Benteng, done by MMEA with other enforcement and security agencies, which has prevented the influx of illegal immigrants during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Home Ministry is confident and believes that MMEA will be empowered with new assets like off-shore boats, air planes and other infrastructure development,” Hamzah added.
MMEA’s theme for this year’s anniversary celebration is ‘We Take it Seriously’. The celebration, held live on Facebook, recorded over 18,000 views.
MMEA director-general Maritime Admiral Datuk Mohd Zubil Mat Som, in his speech, said despite the celebrations being done online, the
historic day was still a memorable one for all personnel in the country.
He said this year, the nation was still battling the Covid-19 virus, which he described as invisible enemies that can strike the nation at any time and from anywhere.
“We need to fight this war with self-discipline and will power by adhering to all standard operating procedures,” he said.
The 16th anniversary saw 67 officers and personnel from MMEA headquarters in Putrajaya and 310 from various state headquarters receiving excellence service awards.
A new award called MMEA Director-General’s Recognition Ribbon was given to nine officers and eight personnel.
Also known as Malaysia Coastguard, MMEA was formally established with the enactment of the MMEA Act 2004 by Parliament. It was gazetted on July 1, 2004.
MMEA has been operational since Nov 30, 2005.