New MMEA complex tender awaiting ministry’s approval

Teh (second right) addresses the press conference. From left are CAAM Putrajaya senior assistant director air traffic management sector Mani Vannan Ketena Samy, CAAM Putrajaya principal assistant director (SAR and safety) Mohd Rodzi Salleh, and Lt Com (M) Suzana Razali Chan.

MIRI: The tender for the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency’s (MMEA) new administrative complex on a five-acre site adjacent to Kampung Pulau Melayu here is awaiting approval from the Home Ministry.

MMEA Sarawak director First Admiral (Maritime) Robert Teh Geok Chuan said the tender for the project had closed.

“If the tender closes this year, then we would begin the construction next year (2020) at the same proposed location. It is going to be an administrative complex and a jetty,” he told a press conference after the Series 2/2019 Sarex Camar Exercise yesterday.

The proposal to build a permanent base here was announced by then-MMEA director-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Puzi Ab Kahar during his visit in January 2017.

It is part of efforts to beef up enforcement and surveillance in the South China Sea, particularly off the shores of northern Sarawak.

MMEA Sarawak currently has one administrative complex and staff quarters located at Muara Tebas near Kuching.

On search and rescue (SAR) operations, especially at sea, Teh said MMEA would deploy assets within an hour of receiving a report. He pointed out that MMEA would function as the coordination centre, so assets could also be from government agencies, shipping companies, or even fishermen near where the incident occurred.

“We are the coordination centre. Apart from sending off our assets for search and rescue (SAR) operation at the sea, we will also be working closely with other government agencies and ships nearby to execute the SAR operation while our assets are on their way,” he said.

On the Sarex Camar Exercise, Teh said MMEA was collaborating with the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM), Petronas, and Shell to carry out the second series to test readiness and competency in responding to emergencies reported at sea.

He explained that the field exercise involved the oil and gas industry and government agencies.

“Usually, the oil and gas industry will act as the first responder pending the arrival of the national SAR agency.

“This exercise is meant to test the effectiveness of response and integration between the national SAR agency’s operating procedures, and the oil and gas industry’s emergency response plan,” he said.

He added that the exercise, which would be held today (Oct 9), aims to expose the participants to the SAR plan.

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