Probe shows Indonesia fired at Malaysian fishing vessel

KLANG • 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 the Indonesian side.

MMEA director-general Maritime Admiral Datuk Zulkifli Abu Bakar said the investigation revealed that one of the two fishing boats in the July 18 incident had 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,” Mr Zulkifli said yesterday. 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 a separate issue, Mr Zulkifli said the cooperation between local fishermen and those 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 Mr Zulkifli.

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

Mr Zulkifli also 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 STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 21, 2017, with the headline 'Probe shows Indonesia fired at Malaysian fishing vessel'. Print Edition | Subscribe