Large-scale ops compromised by leaks, says MMEA Miri chief

Mohd Fauzi (right) takes aim during the UKMSK exercise yesterday.

MIRI: Leakage of information often hampers large-scale operations conducted by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) in addressing the problem of foreign fishing vessels in Miri waters, said the agency’s Miri director.

Maritime Captain Mohd Fauzi Othman said such leaks are an issue the MMEA needs to address especially when it comes to large-scale operations.

“Large-scale operations usually do not produce much result. Last month, we cooperated with our headquarters in Putrajaya (in an operation) but unfortunately, it was not successful due to leakage of information.

“I think they (foreign fishermen) have their people to monitor MMEA’s movement,” he told reporters after the 2019 Small Weapons Skills Exam (UKMSK) held at the General Operations Force Shooting Range in Lambir, here yesterday.

According to Mohd Fauzi, such leaks were the reason the MMEA here preferred doing smaller-scale operations using disguised boats which the foreign fishermen are unable to identify.

“This way is more focused and better,” he added.

He said MMEA had made seven arrests involving foreign fishing vessels in Miri waters as of this month and had also taken action against some local fishermen who were found to be violating the terms of their licence, such as trespassing into restricted areas to fish.

“In the license, they are only allowed to fish seven nautical miles and beyond from the coast, but they do it five nautical miles from the coast, thus angering the coastal fishermen.

“I hope the local fishermen understand this. We have to take action because there are so many complaints and we are doing our job fairly.”

Meanwhile, Mohd Fauzi reminded all local fishing boat operators to adhere to the rules of the Fisheries Act 1985, saying strict action will be taken against those who conspire with foreign fishermen to enable them to enter the state’s waters.

About 50 MMEA members took part in the UKMSK yesterday, and were joined by personnel from Battalion 12 of the General Operations Force, Civil Defence Force, Miri Airport Fire and Rescue Services, and Miri Prison, as well as media practitioners.

Public cooperation in reporting unlawful activities can be channeled through the MERS 999 or the Sarawak State Maritime Operations Centre via 082-432544.

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