KOTA KINABALU: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) is focusing on South China Sea waters close to Sabah and Sarawak that are abundant in natural resources.
Deputy Director-General (Operations) of Maritime Malaysia, Maritime Vice Admiral Datuk Hamid Mohd Amin, said the petroleum industry and marine fisheries are their main watch.
He said the Sabah and Sarawak Perkasa Timur Maritime Exercise, which was officiated by the Chief Minister at Sabah Port here on Monday, was to ensure the MMEA’s readiness and competence.
“We want shipping freights to pass through this international trade route with confidence, including the Malacca Straits, Sulu and Sulawesi Sea.
“Trading ships from Japan, Europe, Korea and America all pass through here. We are giving the guarantee to all countries involved that they can safely conduct trade.
“What is unique for Sabah is that it has a booming tourism industry which is a major contributor to economic growth. There are many quarters who seek to disrupt this,” he said.
On the safety of the State’s East Coast, he said he has full trust in the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom), and praised them for a job well done.
“The exercise, which began on Oct 28 until Nov 4 covering 3,300 nautical miles, will improve the MMEA’s ships, aircraft and search and rescue abilities.”
Hamid said the exercise involves 654 officers and personnel on more than 14 assets.
In three phases, the exercise began with the Port Phase which were a series of training briefing and table top sessions at the Sabah and Labuan Maritime Office.
The second phase, which is the Sea Phase until Nov 3, will see exercises carried out in the waters of Kota Kinabalu, Spratly Islands, Patinggi Ali and Raja Jarum Shoals and then finish in Kuching, Sarawak.
Thee post-mortem and summary session will be held at the Sarawak State Maritime Office on Nov 3 and 4.