Keeping a sharp eye out for crime

Kapt Abd Razak is hoping that Penang MMEA would have its own base. It is currently using the marine police base in Batu Maung and a private shipyard in the area.

IN just a month, Kapt Abd Razak Mohamed has managed to lead the Penang Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) to make not only one, but two major drug busts.

The state MMEA director said he realised that the agency had not made any drug arrest for quite a while when he assumed the post last November.

“I changed the routine of our boat patrol from the usual routine operation.

“This resulted in a major drug bust on Dec 3, followed by another drug seizure and arrests a week later, ” he said.

On Dec 3, the agency arrested two foreigners and seized drugs worth RM10.53mil off the western coast of Penang.

Kapt Abd Razak said the successful operation led to another bigger drug bust when the agency foiled an attempt to smuggle 2,118kg of methamphetamine worth RM105.9mil into the country.

He said the seizure on Dec 9 was the biggest drug bust by MMEA in its 16-year history.

“The successful arrests and drug seizure were also the result of good cooperation with other enforcement agencies in Penang in an effort to stop drug trafficking in the state.

“The roles of other agencies like the police are vital to our success, ” said the former Royal Navy officer.

Kapt Abd Razak, 50, an alumnus of Universiti Pertanian Malaysia (now known as Universiti Putra Malaysia) and father of six, has 152 officers and personnel in his command in Penang.

“I always encourage and motivate my men to work hard.

“When the country was first hit by Covid-19, I always emphasised to them the need to strictly follow the standard operating procedures, whether in office or at sea.

“During operations, we would always be cautious all the time. We would also be equipped with personal protective equipment if we expect any arrest to be made during the operations.”

Kapt Abd Razak, who is a recipient of the MMEA Director-General’s Recognition Ribbon, said since the first movement control order (MCO) was implemented in March last year, the state MMEA did not record any positive Covid-19 cases so far.

He said from January to Dec 31,2020, a total of 61 suspects were arrested for various offences with 3,984 inspections conducted during the period.

“From March 2020 until February 2021, a total of seven foreign fishing boats with more than 70 crew members were stopped and ordered to return back to their country of origin after they were found encroaching into national waters, ” he said.

Kapt Abd Razak said MMEA would soon have its own new command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) system, where the agency could monitor any activities and movement in the sea.

He said the system, estimated to be worth about RM30mil, is expected to be available by the end of the year.

“I have been working on this project since I was in Putrajaya in 2017. Thank God, it was approved recently.

“The system will incorporate the Malaysian Maritime Sea Surveillance System, as well as other available artificial intelligence input, and will be used by all state MMEA headquarters in the country when it is ready.”

Kapt Abd Razak said he hoped that the state MMEA would have its own base in Penang so that its daily and routine operations could be improved.

“We have three patrol boats, namely KM Kimanis, KM Sikuati and KM Burau, which are 30 metres in length each, and six boats that are normally used for routine patrol.

“However, the state MMEA is operating without its own base and is currently using the marine police base in Batu Uban and a private shipyard in Batu Maung.

“The state MMEA has forwarded its application to Putrajaya. Hopefully, it will be successful.

“With a new base that we have identified in Batu Maung, it will definitely increase our personnel and assets to help protect the nation’s territory, ” he added.

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