Minister aware more air, sea assets needed to monitor EEZ

Shahidan at the press conference in Miri.

Shahidan at the press conference in Miri.

MIRI: Sufficient air and sea assets are needed to stop illegal foreign vessels from encroaching into the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim.

He said such assets would make enforcement agencies, such as the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) here, to have more bite in carrying out their duties.

“About two weeks ago, for example, with the help of air unit, we were able to stop two foreign fishing vessels at our EEZ,” he

told a press conference after the prize-giving ceremony of the Miri Deep Sea Fishing Tournament 2016 here on Sunday.

Shahidan was responding to BN candidate for Senadin Datuk Lee Kim Shin’s request to equip MMEA here with more assets and manpower.

He pledged to bring up the matter during the Federal Cabinet’s meeting this Wednesday.

“We will definitely increase the assets because we are aware there are illegal foreign fishermen encroaching into our waters.”

On another matter, Shahidan said Miri would serve as a temporary base for the Bombadier unit that is helping local enforcement agencies fight bush fires in Sarawak and Sabah.

“The Bombadier can also be used to help MMEA do surveillance if their services are needed.”