KOTA KINABALU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines are expanding the joint maritime patrols to include aerial surveillance operations, said Malaysia's Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.
Datuk Seri Hishammuddin said plans were also underway to invite Brunei and Singapore security patrols as part of measures to stem the threat from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the region.
"If possible, we would want to get all 10 Asean nations involved as well," he said after a ceremony to pay tribute to the servicemen involved in the operations against Sulu gunmen in the Lahad Datu incursion in 2013.
He said it was imperative for Asean countries to prevent ISIS from expanding in the region.
"The IS flag is being flown for the first time is this region," he said referring to the insurgency in the southern Philippines city of Marawi by ISIS that has stretched into its third month.ISIS is also known as IS and ISIL.
Mr Hishamuddin said Malaysia was considering acquiring the P8 Orion surveillance aircraft from Japan for the purpose of air patrols.
He said the Philippines government is expected to call for a meeting with defence ministers from the three countries to discuss further joint patrols.