MMEA monitoring all boats from Indonesia to prevent entry of illegal immigrants

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) is monitoring all boats passing through the country’s waters from Indonesia to prevent the entry of illegal immigrants, including Rohingya refugees, to Malaysia.

MMEA director-general Maritime Admiral Datuk Mohd Zubil Mat Som (pic) said Friday (Jan 29) that the migrant smuggling syndicates were believed to have been using fishing boats, small boats and barter trade boats to bring illegal immigrants into Malaysia.

He said among the tactics used by the syndicates from Indonesia and Malaysia was to divide the illegal immigrants into small boats at the border areas before they were brought ashore.

"Rohingya refugees often make this country their final destination based on investigations into illegal immigrant smuggling cases in the northern part of the country early last year.

"We know they will continue their journey to Malaysia as their families are already here and they will find any way to enter this country, ” he told Bernama.

Admiral Zubil was commenting on news reports that hundreds of Rohingya refugees had been missing from Indonesia, believed to be smuggled into Malaysia.

He said tight border controls at all entry points and rat trails had forced the illegal immigrants to divert their journey to Aceh, Indonesia, as their transit location.

Mohd Zubil added that MMEA was always prepared to prevent illegal entries into the country by deploying assets, including the Malaysian Maritime Sea Surveillance System (Swasla), to strategic locations.

"MMEA is cooperating with the armed forces, police and all assets under the National Task Force via Op Benteng to strictly prevent the entry of Rohingya refugees and illegal immigrants from other countries, ” he said. - Bernama

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