JOHOR BARU: The Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) is recruiting more than 1,000 staff to beef up the agency which now has insufficient manpower.
Director-general Admiral Datuk Amdan Kurish said the agency needs 4,000 staff since it was established three and a half years ago but only 60% of the positions have been filled.
"The training of new staff takes one year where they are trained under the navy for six months, another three months under the MMEA and the last three months of on-the-job training," he told reporters Friday at a press conference here.
He added that due to the long period of training, the agency would only recruit 200 employees per year.
He said the additional manpower was crucial for the agency to carry out the task efficiently as they had a large area to take care of.
"Our area stretches from Langkawi to Tawau and up to 200 miles away from the shore," he said.
Amdan also said the agency was expected to have two new aeroplanes and three new helicopters by next year to enhance their sea and air surveillance and to perform their tasks more effectively.
He also said that they had been using old logistics obtained from the Customs Department, Marine Police and the Malaysian Royal Navy.
"The aeroplanes can land on water and have the feature to fetch water to put out fires," he said about the new planes purchased from Canada but did not mention the cost of the machines.
He added that the Amphibious Bombardier aeroplanes could also operate for longer hours compared to the ones they were using now.
Amdan said another three of the AW139 helicopters, which were scheduled to begin operation in October, would be stationed in their bases in Subang Jaya and Kota Kinabalu.
"We also hope to have additional speed boats and vessels to beef up sea patrolling," he said, adding that they now had 61 speedboats and 50 vessels.
"Only one-third of the vessels could be in operation at any one time as the rest are used for training and some others are sent for maintenance," he said.
He also hoped to get the cooperation from the public especially fishermen as they spend more time at sea.
Those with information can contact the agency through their operations hotline at 07-219 9400/219 9401.