KUANTAN • Malaysia intends to enter into an agreement with the Vietnamese government to overcome encroachment of deep-sea fishermen from Vietnam into Malaysia's territorial waters, Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said yesterday.
He said that such an agreement had already been signed between Malaysia and Indonesia and that a similar agreement could also be signed with Vietnam.
Such a deal would also be a follow-up to the letter of intent that was signed in August last year which sought to resolve the encroachment problem.
"We take it seriously because lately there has been an increase in the number of foreign fishing boats encroaching into Malaysian waters in the east coast, with most of them from Vietnam," he said.
Datuk Saifuddin added that 141 Vietnamese fishermen were detained last year for encroaching into Malaysia's exclusive economic zone.
Vietnam gave a positive response to the matter as it was aware of the problem, Mr Saifuddin told reporters at the Balok Fisherman Integration Programme in Kuantan.
In September last year, a Vietnamese fishing vessel was detained for encroaching into Malaysian waters despite attempts by a Vietnamese enforcement agency boat to stop the local authorities from making the arrest.
The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) said the boat from the Vietnam Fisheries Resources Surveillance made dangerous turns near the MMEA vessel, KM Langkawi, which was responding to the encroachment by the fishing boat.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK