Govt has protested against encroachments into Malaysian waters, says Hisham

A total of 121 foreign fishing vessels have been seized since 2019, says Hishammuddin Hussein.

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has issued notes of protest to certain countries over the encroachments into Malaysian waters, Foreign Affairs Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said today.

Hishammuddin said this was in line with international laws and Malaysia’s stand to defend its maritime rights.

“I myself have voiced our stand to world leaders on the South China Sea issue. All parties must work together to avoid (such) incidents, intentional or otherwise, in those waters,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat today.

Any conflict, he said, would only increase tension and threaten peace and stability in the region.

“This is why differences and disputes must be resolved through dialogue, negotiations or more precisely, diplomatic channels.”

Citing the resolution of the standoff between an oil exploration vessel contracted by Petronas and a Chinese survey vessel in the South China Sea, Hishammuddin said: “The foreign affairs ministry used diplomatic channels and negotiations. As a result, the Chinese ships left the area.”

He said this in response to a question from Shahidan Kassim (BN-Arau) on the government’s efforts to evict a Chinese Coast Guard ship which has anchored in Malaysian waters since 2013.

He also said the Royal Malaysian Navy and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency had embarked on a joint operation called Ops Naga since 2019 to secure the country’s waters, which had led to the seizure of 121 foreign fishing vessels.