Malaysia to install 24-hour radar system in Malacca Straits

Updated On: Mar 15, 2005

London-Malaysiaplans to boost security in the Malacca Straits with a 24-hour radar system to guard attacks by terrorists and pirates.“We want to upgrade our sensor capability, especially at night, through the use of radar that can monitor traffic passing the strait,” said Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak, who was on a six-day visit toBritain.

“We want to ensure that in future, our maritime enforcement capability is on par with the international standard, especially in terms of consumer security," he told reporters on March 10.

Mr Najib said the move was also in line with the government's effort to set up a special body, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA).

The agency, which is expected to start operation at the end of this year, will focus on security measures and improved enforcement in the Malacca Straits.

It will be tasked with enforcingMalaysia’s maritime laws relating to illegal immigrants, pirates, sea pollution, terrorism and search-and-rescue missions.

The MMEA may also adoptBritain’s maritime counter-terrorism and pre-emptive intelligence tactics, said Mr Najib.

The Malacca Straits, which are bordered bySingapore,MalaysiaandIndonesia, are used by some 50,000 ships a year carrying a third of world trade and half of its oil supplies.

Last year, the three countries began coordinated patrols in the straits, one of the world's top piracy hotspots. Security forces fear terrorists could hijack a tanker to use as a floating bomb in a maritime version of theSept 11, 2001,attacks on theUnited States.

* 24-hour radar surveillance for Melaka Strait (Bernama, March 11)

* British tactics may be used to check maritime threat (The Star, March 13)