Malaysia-Australia patrols to ply maritime route

JOHOR BARU: Joint maritime patrols such as the ongoing Operation Redback conducted by Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and the Australia Border Force (ABF) can help increase security and curb transnational crime in the Straits of Malacca.

MMEA maritime enforcement and coordination division director, Laksamana Muda Hamid Mohd Amin, said this would be the 16th time that such an operation was held, demonstrating the strong relationship and cooperation between the two agencies.

“Redback is a native Australian venomous spider whose poison is very dangerous.

“This is the same for both MMEA and ABF, where our objectives are to curb and combat cross-border criminal activities, especially human trafficking.

“The operation, which is until Sunday, will be held in western Johor waters around Batu Pahat and Muar,” he said in a press conference at the state MMEA headquarters here yesterday.

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

“These vessels are 300 tonnes and above, along with other boats and ships that use the strait,” he said, adding that Operation Redback would help enhance the visibility of enforcement agencies along the busy trade channel, and give the assurance that MMEA and other agencies are taking proactive measures.

“With more 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 and other maritime criminal activities,” he added.

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