Langkawi — The Malaysian maritime authorities should beef up the security presence after Kuah state assemblyman Mohd Firdaus Ahmad raised his concern over the issue of intercepting a boat off the Langkawi coast.
On April 5, when the whole country is in Movement Control Order, the media reported that more than 200 ethnic Rohingya, including five children in a boat was intercepted adjacent to the northwestern island of Langkawi.
On April 22 at Wisma Darul Aman, in a video posting uploaded on Facebook, Mohd Firdaus Ahmad expressed his dissatisfaction over the matter.
He said that our maritime security must heighten it’s security as the Malaysian waters are guarded by three different agencies.
“Langkawi has a Navy base here and we have warships station here. On the other hand, we have Malaysian Enforcement Authority Agency equipped with interception and stinger boats.
“However, a Rohingya wooden vessel still can overcome all these authorities and even slip past our radar system,” he said.
The Kedah lawmaker has asked the police to conduct a thorough probe on the trespassing of the Rohingya boat entering our Malaysian waters without any permission.
Mohd Firdaus Ahmad reiterated that it is a national security issue and also involves sovereignty.
The Rohingya wooden vessel was found adrift just over one nautical mile (2.2 kilometers) from one of the island’s luxury beach resorts.
The group of 152 men, 45 women, and five children were being held at the agency’s lock-ups on the mainland.
“They will be handed over to the Immigration Department for entering the country illegally,” Kedah and Perlis Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) official, Captain Zulinda Ramly, said in the statement as reported by Al Jazeera.
Malaysia, which is not a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Refugees, is a common destination for Rohingya fleeing Myanmar – where fighting continues in the western state of Rakhine – and squalid conditions at refugee camps in Bangladesh where hundreds of millions now live.
To watch the video – YB Adun Kuah