MCO: MMEA beefs up patrols during MCO against cross-border crime

LANGKAWI: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has deployed more of its assets at sea and air to beef up patrols and increase enforcement during the movement control order (MCO) nationwide.

Its Kedah and Perlis operation deputy director Captain Zulinda Ramly said the increase of the assets was meant to prevent any cross-border crimes which includes human trafficking, contraband smuggling, pirate activity and the encroachment of foreign fishermen boat especially at hot spot areas along the Malacca Straits, South China Sea and the Sulu Sea.

"This move is in line with the provision of the law under Section 7(2)(i) of the MMEA Act 2004.

"Stern action can be taken against those who conduct unauthorised activities except for those categorised as essential services like fishermen with valid fishing licences," she said in a statement.

She said 13 sea assets and five air assets had been deployed to monitor and control the country's border along the Malacca Straits which involved MMEA assets, two helicopters and three ships.

She said the Royal Malaysian Navy had also deployed two of its air units and three ships while Royal Malaysian Air Force had deployed its CN235 aircraft.

She said in enforcing the MCO on the country's waters, MMEA also has taken the opportunity to strengthen its standard operating procedure (SOP) in integrated operation with other agencies in order to test and evaluate the efficiency of the operation at the northern maritime zone.

She said constant monitoring will be increased for stricter border control at Malaysian waters to prevent it from being encroached by foreign elements.

"We will hunt down cross-border criminals, illegal immigrants and also smugglers and will bring them to court to face the law," she said.

The public can report any suspicious activity to the MERS 999 hotline, 04-9662750 or 04-966 5307.

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