Thursday, June 25, 2009
Wednesday, 24 June 2009
More attention should be given to the role of technology in order to sustain the efforts towards combating security threats in the Strait of Melaka, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said. "While we have been clear and unequivocal in our objections to the physical presence of foreign forces patrolling the strait, we welcome the transfer of technology and capacity building to enhance safety and security of the strait," he said in his keynote address at the 6th MIMA Conference on the Strait of Malacca, themed "Charting the Future", here Tuesday.
He said that the Eye-in-the-Sky aerial surveillance had succeeded in reducing piracy cases in the Strait of Melaka, with only two cases reported last year compared to 12 in 2005.
Only one case has been reported so far this year, he said.
He said technology was crucial in helping Malaysia and the littoral states to meet challenges in the strait such as the burgeoning traffic volume.
"This is critical given that vessels traversing the strait were expected to increase to 120,000 by the year 2015 compared to 75,000 last year.
"I would be very interested to see how technology-based projects such as the Marine Electronic Highway can contribute to reducing navigational risks," he said.
He noted that the maritime and aerial surveillance technology was advancing at a rapid pace and might soon be available at a fraction of the cost.
"Perhaps this is an opportune time for us to explore the use of technologies for surveillance such as long distance day and night cameras, unmanned aerial vehicles and satellite imaging," he added.
The Deputy Prime Minister also said that users of the strait comprising flag states, ship owners, masters and crew members had a duty to abide by the international and domestic laws aimed at preventing vessel-based pollution.
He said the regulations, in the form of international conventions and protocols, should be considered by the littoral states and users of the strait in the efforts to ensure safety of navigation and environmental protection in the Strait of Malacca.
"No doubt we have come a long way and achieved substantial progress but there is still a need to forge unanimity among all concerned including among the littoral States on how best to fulfil responsibilities regarding safety and security of navigation and protection of the environment in the strait," he added.
Muhyiddin added that Malaysia would examine the applicability of new conventions and committed to implementing the ones which had been ratified and also considered ratifications of other conventions.