PUTRAJAYA, Feb 15 — The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency’s (MMEA) capacity will be strengthened through the acquisition of new assets such as offshore patrol vessels, aircraft and various infrastructure development, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin.
He said the MMEA was conducting various operations such as the Op Naga and Op Kuda Laut and have successfully foiled many illegal fishing boats, drugs and migrant smuggling activities throughout 2020.
Through the Op Benteng which was being carried out with other government agencies, the MMEA has successfully addressed the illegal entry of immigrants during the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
“The government always recognises MMEA’s role at the country’s waters in ensuring the peace, security and wellbeing of the nation.
“I’m also confident that the MMEA will seriously continue to discharge the duties and responsibilities entrusted upon them,” he said in his speech in conjunction with Maritime Malaysia’s 16th Anniversary celebration which was streamed live via the MMEA’s Facebook page, today.
Meanwhile, MMEA’s director-general Maritime Admiral Datuk Mohd Zubil Mat Som said the agency had detained 75 foreign fishing boats and 820 crew members for encroaching the country’s waters with a total seizure amounted to RM112.5 million through the Op Kuda Laut from June 24 until Dec 31, last year.
“Our commitment and seriousness in carrying out our tasks and responsibilities have been proven to yield success despite facing the COVID-19 infection risk,” he said.
According to Mohd Zubil, 31 MMEA staff and 20 family members who contracted COVID-19 have fully recovered.
“What I want to emphasise here is that this is a reflection of the MMEA members’ seriousness in combating the encroachment threats although we are also dealing with the COVID-19 risks,” he said.
In conjunction with Maritime Malaysia’s 16th Anniversary celebration themed “We Take It Seriously”, 377 officers were named recipients of the excellent service award while nine officers and eight personnel were awarded the director-general appreciation ribbons.