Subs must surface when in our waters, says Tok Mat on Aukus


Photo: Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: Submarines must surface when passing through Malaysian waters, says Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan.

"The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) also states that any submarine passing through the territory of another nation must be on the surface and this applies to Malaysia and the coastline of Asean nations.

"However, if a foreign submarine, whether conventional or nuclear powered, wants to sail submerged underwater in our waters, that foreign country has to apply for permission from the Royal Malaysian Navy by sending a diplomatic note to get the special permission to do so," the Defence Minister said when answering a question raised by Lim Guan Eng (PH-Bagan) in Dewan Rakyat on Thursday. (March 30)

He said that this was in accordance with Unclos which allowed freedom of navigation or overflight in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or any country subject to the laws of the respective nations.

He said that the need for permission also applied to any submarines or warships entering Malaysian ports.

Mohamad was asked about Malaysia's stand on the recent RM1.08 trillion (AUD 368bil) deal by Australia to purchase eight submarines under the Australia-United Kingdom-United States (Aukus) enhanced security partnership on March 13.

Lim also asked about the effect of the deal on the security of Asean and whether the submarines would be allowed to operate in the region based on the Zone of Peace Freedom and Neutrality (Zopfan).

Mohamad informed the House that the Australian navy chief had met him on March 9 to explain that the eight submarines were not nuclear powered and Australia was still committed towards the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

"This was followed up by a call from the United States secretary of defence on March 10 and a meeting with the minister of state at the Ministry of Defence United Kingdom on March 28," he said.

Mohamad said that he made it clear that Malaysia had not changed its stand and remains firm on its principles on Aukus.

"Malaysia urged all parties, whether under Aukus or otherwise, to respect current national and international laws, particularly on the operations of nuclear powered submarines in our waters," he added.

He also said that Malaysia called all parties not to resort to provocative actions that could disrupt regional peace and security.

He said that this was a similar stand taken by Asean with regard to maintaining peace and security in the region.

Meanwhile, Mohamad said that the Asean defence ministers are scheduled to meet in Indonesia this coming July.

He said that Aukus will be among the main agenda of discussions during the meeting.

Malaysia claims an EEZ covering about 334,671 square km2 within 200 nautical miles from its coast.

The EEZ lies in the southern area of the South China Sea which has overlapping claims between several countries including China.

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Aukus , Submarines , Tok Mat , Mohamad Hasan , Unclos

   

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