KOTA KINABALU: The police are not rushing their studies on the use of pump boats in Sabah’s waters as a suitable decision must be derived from all relevant agencies.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Omar Mammah said they would only come up with proposed measures after holding discussions with relevant agencies, including the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and Fisheries department.“We have to conduct a thorough study on this matter as we do not want to make flip-flop decisions.
“We do not want to take a unilateral stand as we have to discuss with other agencies too on how to enforce the law pertaining to the use of pump boats, ” he told a press conference after attending the third bilateral meeting of Malaysia’s Marine Police and Philippine National Police – Maritime Group (PNP-MG), which was also attended by PNP-MG director Police Brigadier-General Rwin Pagkalinawan yesterday.
Omar said a thorough study on the use of pump boats was needed as it would affect the livelihood of fishermen.
“We are still studying the possibility of imposing a total ban or allowing the use of pump boats with certain conditions.
“Hopefully, we can submit the proposal to the Chief Minister soon, ” he added.
Late last month, Omar said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal had instructed him to take another look at the use of pump boats in the state after the kidnapping of three Indonesian fishermen off Lahad Datu waters, where the kidnap-for-ransom group used two pump boats.
The use of pump boats was initially banned by the previous Barisan Nasional administration, but the current state government has allowed it to be used by small-scale fishermen in coastal areas as long as they are not on the open sea.
On the meeting, Omar said both parties would discuss the emerging threat of encroachment to conduct illegal fishing, a shared problem in the waters of both nations.
“The meeting today is an indication both countries are committed in safeguarding the security of our shared borders.
“One challenge of the vast border we are sharing is that we cannot deploy our manpower in every inch of the area.
“We see vessels from other countries encroaching our territories both in Malaysia and the Philippines. Hopefully, the meeting today will yield good proposals and solutions.
“We can then bring the matter to our leaders with the possibility of implementation by both countries, ” Omar said.
Pagkalinawan said it would be easier for Malaysia and the Philippines to cooperate in controlling illegal and unregulated fishing if they had the same frequencies pertaining to communications as well as assets, including faster boats to chase the culprits.
Earlier in his speech, Omar said the bilateral meeting was also expected to give attention to growing threats of non-traditional security issues such as kidnapping, maritime terrorism, armed robberies and piracy attacks, which required a holistic approach.