PORT KLANG, June 8 — The government has allocated more than RM100 million to upgrade the Malaysian Maritime Sea Surveillance System (SWASLA), run by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), to curb the entry of illegal immigrants through the country’s waters as well as the risk of COVID-19 infection which they could bring.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said SWASLA is a 24-hour radar network system used to monitor and detect all types of suspicious boat or vessel movements in the country’s waters.
“One of the government’s main strategies in combating COVID-19 is to ensure that there is no illegal entry of foreigners into the country that could bring COVID-19 infections to Malaysians.
“This plan started three years ago, and finally the government has agreed to provide allocations for us to improve the existing SWASLA and address any weaknesses or damages to the existing SWASLA,” he said in a press conference after a working visit to SWASLA’s Area Control Centre, here, today.
“I hope in one or two months from now, this project (to improve SWASLA) can commence,” he said, adding that the tender issued recently related to the project showed that MMEA needed more than the original allocation.
He said MMEA, which was one of the agencies involved in the integrated operation of “Op Benteng” had successfully detected 443 suspicious movements through the SWASLA radar system, since the operation was implemented from May 2020 to May 2021.
“Out of the 443, a total of 372 contacts were made through inspection, detention, deportation, warning and communication. As a result, a total of 40 were arrested and charged, ” he added.