Operation Redback to increase security in Malaysian waters, says MMEA

JOHOR BARU: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and Australia Border Force (ABF) will be conducting a joint operation against maritime criminal activities in the Straits of Malacca.

Speaking of the operation – named “Operation Redback '' - MMEA maritime enforcement and coordination division director Admiral (M) Hamid Mohd Amin said this would be the 16th time that such an operation was held.

He said that this showed the strong relationship and cooperation both agencies have and added that Operation Redback would also help to curb human smuggling in the Straits of Malacca.

“A redback is a native Australian venomous spider whose poison is very dangerous to humans. This is the same for both MMEA and ABF where our objective is to curb and combat cross border criminal activity, in particular human smuggling,” he said.

“The operation will go on until Sunday and will be held in western Johor waters or off Batu Pahat and Muar as it is located along the Malacca Straits,” added Hamid in a press conference after officiating the operation at the state MMEA headquarters here on Monday (Nov 15).

Hamid added that the Straits of Malacca are one of the most important maritime routes in the world as it connected east and west with an average of 85,000 vessels passing through yearly.

“These vessels are 300 tonnes and above and there are also other boats and ships that use the Malacca Strait as well,” he added.

He said the Operation Redbeck would help enhance the security presence along the busy trade channel and give assurances that MMEA, together with other agencies, was taking proactive measures.

“With more of our economic sectors opening up and demand for foreign workers increasing, we are expecting an increase in human smuggling activities.

“But through this operation, we are confident of addressing human smuggling activities and other maritime criminal activities,” he added.

Hamid said one of the ways that Operation Redback would be focusing on was communicating with the maritime community, in particular fishermen, as they must know it is an offence and illegal to help syndicates in cross border criminal activities.

“We know that syndicates are roping in locals by offering them money to become a land tekong or a spotter to avoid action by the Malaysian authorities,” said Hamid.

“However, such quarters must know that the money they are receiving is not good money and it is against our country’s laws to help such syndicates,” he added.

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