KL: Outside help not needed in Malacca Straits

Updated On: Mar 01, 2005

Putrajaya - Despite a recent rise in pirate attacks in the Straits of Malacca,Malaysiasays it does not need “outside” help in patrolling one of the world’s most strategic waterways.Malaysiais only willing to cooperate with other countries in ensuring the safety of maritime and navigational areas in the straits, Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said on Feb 25.

“The cooperation between the various countries that share the straits has been very good. I don’t think there should be any intervention from outside parties,” Mr Syed Hamid said.

He was commenting on an International Maritime Bureau report that 37 pirate attacks occurred in the waterway last year, up from 28 in 2003.

The minister saidMalaysia's position had always been to cooperate with other countries for the safety of the maritime and navigational areas.

"Malaysiawill cooperate...(but) we do not need outside protection," he said.

Mr Syed Hamid saidMalaysia also hadnot invited other countries to operate within its waters.

"We can work together with other countries when the situation dictates. But we have not invited other countries to operate within our waters or to protect something that is within our maritime or territorial borders," he said.

The 900km-long Straits of Malacca links the Indian andPacificOceansand is the shortest route between three of the most populous countries,Indonesia,ChinaandIndia.

According to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), more than 50,000 vessels transit the straits every year.

* M'sia says no to 'outside' protection of Melaka Straits (Bernama, Feb 25)