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(VIDEO) Presence of Maritime Assets to Prevent Repeat of “Batu Puteh” – M’sia Defence Miniter

(VIDEO) The Malaysian Defense Minister commented on allegations made by a group of local fishermen regarding the recent presence of Chinese Coast Guard ships around Sahap Reef, in Sarawak waters.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — The constant presence of national maritime assets patrolling the nation’s waters “24 hours a day, seven days a week” is crucial to prevent incidents similar to the “Batu Puteh (Pedra Branca)” case from recurring, according to Malaysia’s Defence Minister Mohamed Khaled Nordin.

He expressed these views to local media today in light of recent claims by a group of local fishermen about the presence of Chinese Coast Guard ships near the Sahap Reef in Sarawak.

“This persistent presence of our maritime assets is to detect any unusual activities or foreign warships.”

 “The South China Sea should be freely navigated by all. However, when foreign vessels anchor, it can be considered an intrusions (into our waters).”

“If our forces were absent, situations like Batu Puteh (referred as Pedra Branca by Singapore) could re-occur, where we would lose our sovereignty,” he told local media, referring to the 2008 International Court of Justice (ICJ) decision that denied Malaysia’s sovereignty over Batu Puteh (Pedra Branca), despite its proximity to Malaysia’s coastline.

Instead, the Hague-based ICJ awarded sovereignty of Batu Puteh (Pedra Branca) to Singapore, despite its distance from the republic.

Meanwhile, Sahap Reef is located within the Gugusan Beting Patinggi Ali (Luconia Shoal) cluster inside Malaysia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as defined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Patinggi Ali Shoal lies approximately 84 nautical miles (155km) from Miri’s coastline and over 2,000km from mainland China.

According to the Defence Minister, the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) conducts continuous patrols and monitoring of national waters, including the Strait of Malacca, South China Sea, Sulawesi Sea, and Sulu Sea, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“This is to detect any extraordinary occurrences or foreign warships.”

Previously, the media reported the presence of a Chinese Coast Guard vessel, identified as ‘CCG 5103,’ which allegedly approached a Malaysian fishing boat near Sahap Reef.

Beting Patinggi Ali
Beting Patinggi Ali (Luconia Shoals).

 

The Defence Minister stated that in case of an incursion, his department would notify the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for further action.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) vessel ‘KM Marlin’ was deployed from April 1 to 10 under Operation Raja Laut to monitor the movements of the Chinese vessel, which was reported to have operated in the area for 11 days since March 30.

On May 23, 2008, the ICJ ruled that Singapore had rights over Batu Puteh (Pedra Branca), while Middle Rocks, located less than a kilometer from the island, belonged to Malaysia.

Furthermore, the court decided that the ownership of South Ledge, approximately four kilometers from Pedra Branca, would be determined based on the maritime boundaries of the controlling nation. — DSA

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