KUCHING: The newly launched Sarawak Coast Guard will work with other maritime agencies to protect the state’s coastal waters from encroachment, especially in classified marine parks, Datuk Abang Johari Openg said.
The chief minister said the coast guard area of operations covers Similajau National Park, Tanjung Datu National Park, Talang-Satang National Park, Miri-Sibuti Coral Reef National Park, Santubong National Park, Limbang Mangrove National Park, Bruit National Park and Luconia Shoals National Park. Park with a total area of over 1.2 million hectares.
“The state government decided to put in place the coast guard because of our vast area of marine parks and our long coastline.
“Sometimes foreign fishermen encroach on our coastal waters, so we will work with the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) to protect our waters,” he told reporters after launching the coast guard on the sea front. Kuching Sea Wednesday April 7.
Stressing the importance of the coast guard, Abang Johari said there had been recent sightings of endangered sperm whales as well as minke whales in Luconia Shoals National Park.
“The sperm whale is on the international conservation list and we need to protect this species, as well as the marine resources in our waters,” he said.
Abang Johari also said five bases will be set up for the coast guard in Kuching, Tanjung Manis, Miri and Lawas as part of the 12th Malaysian plan.
He said the state government has allocated RM90 million to purchase assets for the coast guard, which includes a catamaran and six interceptor boats.
“Interceptor boats will be operational this year to protect our fishermen and our marine resources.
“The construction of several fast patrol boats is being managed by open tendering,” he said.
State Security and Enforcement Unit Director Datuk Dr Chai Khin Chung said the coast guard needs to procure nine fast patrol boats in stages over the next two years.
“With these assets, the Sarawak Coast Guard will be able to fulfill their responsibilities and their objectives.
“The Coast Guard will operate with best practices based on the doctrine of network-centric operations to be an agile, lightweight and fast-responding entity,” he said.