Malaysia's maritime enforcement agency says not necessary for Indonesia to shoot at Malaysian fishing boat

KLANG (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Investigations by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and Indonesian authorities have found that the bullets that hit a Malaysian fishing vessel in July came from Indonesian authorities.

MMEA director-general Maritime Admiral Datuk Zulkifli Abu Bakar said that the investigation revealed that one of the two fishing boats in the July 18 incident entered Indonesian waters.

"Further investigation revealed that one of our fishing boats did enter Indonesian waters. However, the use of weapons by the authorities should not have happened," Zulkifli said on Wednesday (Dec 20). He added that the use of weapons should be done in self-defence.

One vessel managed to return on July 20 and berth at the jetty with its crew of five Myanmar nationals on board.

On a separate issue, Zulkifli said that the cooperation between local fishermen and fishermen from Vietnam was the reason behind the encroachment of foreign fishermen in Malaysian waters.

"Unscrupulous parties, especially local fishermen who hire workers or fishermen from Vietnam have caused encroachment to steal the country's sea products becoming more frequent," said Zulkifli.

He added that MMEA surveillance found that there are local fishermen who are making cloned vessels and using unauthorised nets for fishing.

Zulkifli said that the MMEA would continue watching fishermen who are still adamant about hiring Vietnamese workers. He also said criminals sometimes have more advanced assets than the authorities.

"Most of the patrol vessels are over 30 years old and are not efficient for sustained operations and exercises. The agency is in need of newer assets to support its functions," he said.

He added that the agency's current fleet of 256 assets - including ships and aircraft - was insufficient to cover operations throughout the country's 614,158 sq km of waters.

The MMEA is set to strengthen operations and enforcement abilities with the construction of the three OPV.

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