PETALING JAYA: The fight against maritime crime and terrorism will move to a new level when the framework for the Sulu Seas Patrol Initiative (SSPI) is signed.
The initiatives specified under the framework comprise joint air patrols, coordinated naval patrols and exchange of military intelligence between Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia.
The framework will be signed after the conclusion of the working group meeting currently taking place in Jakarta.
It aims to emulate the success of the Malacca Strait Sea Patrol (MSSP), which has reduced piracy, robbery, kidnapping and smuggling activities in the busy strait since 2004.
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (pic) said a delegation led by the National Security Council was currently working on the framework on “Trilateral Cooperative Arrangement between Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines” with their respective counterparts from the three countries.
The delegation comprises representatives from the Defence Ministry, Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom), Wisma Putra and the Armed Forces.
“The group will also discuss the relevant standard operating procedures to operationalise this framework,” Hishammuddin said in a statement.
He added that the Security Council would be leading efforts in operationalising SSPI in Malaysia, with Esscom and Wisma Putra managing the policies.
He will be discussing the initiative with Indonesian Defence Minister Gen (Rtd) Ryamizard Ryacudu and Philippines’ National Defence Secretary Major-Gen (Rtd) Delfin Lorenzana in the trilateral meeting to be held in Kuala Lumpur on July 21.
He said that defence ministers from Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia would specifically discuss the operationalisation of the SSPI which would be undertaken by the armed forces of the three countries.
The trilateral meeting is the third of its series, following an inaugural meeting in Vientiane, Laos, during the 10th Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting in May and in Manila, the Philippines, last month.