Syndicates take advantage of festive seasons to carry out criminal activities
SHAH ALAM - Syndicates and criminals were detected at sea trying to carry out intrusion and smuggling activities during the festive season as they assumed enforcement at the time was not too tight.
However, the real situation was a complete opposite as the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) conducted Ops Khas Pagar Laut beginning April 19 to May 17 in its efforts to curb and combat cross-border criminal activities.
Its director-general Maritime Admiral Datuk Mohd Zubil Mat Som said generally, criminals thought that law enforcement during the festive season was more relaxed as most of the security personnel would be on holiday to celebrate Hari Raya.
He said the situation was often taken advantage of by syndicates and criminals that carry out smuggling, intrusion and fraud activities at sea.
“Upon realising the seasonal threat and based on the trend of criminal activities during the previous Hari Raya festive season, MMEA will enhance its operations, even special operations such as Ops Khas Pagar Laut were launched to strengthen security control by increasing the readiness of assets, personnel and enforcement, especially in hot spots all over the country.
"Next, is to ensure that effective and preventive measures are implemented so that the safety and well-being of the country's waters continue to be preserved," he told Sinar Harian on Friday.
He said Ops Khas Pagar Laut is being carried out every year from 2016 due to the challenges and threats in between the states.
Mohd Zubil said for instance, along the Straits of Melaka, drug smuggling activities and smuggling of illegal immigrants and contrabands were active while the east coast was being threatened by foreign fishing boats.
"Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan face similar threats involving the smuggling of contrabands, illegal immigrants, drugs and subsidised and controlled items," he said.
Mohd Zubil added that in ensuring the safety of the waters, MMEA was also ready to deploy its sea or air assets to perform search and rescue tasks.