Malaysia seeks deal with Vietnam over sea intrusions

KUANTAN (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia intends to enter into an agreement with the Vietnamese government to overcome encroachment of deep-sea fishermen from the republic into the country's territorial waters, Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said on Monday (Feb 17).

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.

Saifuddin added that 141 Vietnamese fishermen were detained last year for encroaching into Malaysia's Exclusive Economic Zone.

Vietnam had given a positive response to the matter as the republic was aware of the problem, Saifuddin told reporters at the Balok Fisherman Integration Programme yesterday.