BY LAKSAMANA PERTAMA (B) MOHAMAD IMRAN ABD HAMID
I expressed concern over the intrusion of China ships in the Sarawak waters that was reported has becoming more frequent lately.
I refer to a report by The Guardian, dated April 5, entitled ‘Chinese patrol ships keep presence around Malaysian reefs’, which also reported by some local news portals such as Malaysiakini and Free Malaysia Today (FMT).
According to the report, during the first 2 months of 2017, three China ships were caught patrolled in Luconia Shoals (Beting Patinggi Ali), 145 kilometres from Sarawak and more than 1,600 kilometres from mainland China.
- Following the intrusion, I want to address some questions, why did the Defence Ministry under Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein chose to remain silent and refused to give any reaction in the situation that affecting the sovereignty of our country waters?
- The Government and the Ministry of Defence should have been firmed in taking care of Sarawak waters. Didn’t the government remember the incident of the intrusion by the China ship in 2015 then?
- As we know, China is pursuing the expansion of their borders on the so-called ‘history’ factor. They have carved a map of the South China Sea, with ‘nine-dash line’. Some of their demands include Luconia Shoals (Beting Patinggi Ali) in Sarawak.
- Beting Patinggi Ali is located approximately 80 nautical miles from Tanjung Baram clearly within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and it is owned by Malaysia under the Convention United Nations on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS 1982).
- Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim himself said China’s claim on the ‘history’ factor is ridiculous and unacceptable. So, what was the end of the diplomatic protests made to China a few years ago?
- In this regard, I urge the government to be firmed in this matter in order to protect the nation’s waters. This is a very serious matter and if we did not take this serious over the aggressive action by China, it may pose a threat in the future. Do we want to see another episode of the geopolitical drama series tensions in the region?
- More troubling, this will also affect the fishing activities of local fisherman that feels uncomfortable and anxious to continue their economic activity. There have been reports in recent years that our fisherman been chased out in Beting Patinggi Ali by the China ship and it is proved by the report from Borneo Post in October 2015.
Do we want to see our local fishermen lost their livelihood because their livelihoods blocked by foreign parties?
# Laksamana Pertama (B) YB Mohamad Imran Abdul Hamid is the Member of Parliament of Lumut