PORT KLANG, May 19 — To prevent illegal immigrants from entering Malaysia when the country is facing COVID-19, Ops Benteng has been mounted to keep track of suspicious looking boats or ships entering the nation’s waters.
Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) director-general Maritime Admiral Datuk Mohd Zubil Mat Som said the integrated operation is a collaboration between the MMEA, the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) and the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN),
“RMN and RMP assets have been deployed in the operation and 10 interceptor boats have been stationed on stand-by mode on the MMEA mother ships at specific areas along the Straits of Melaka,” he told reporters here today.
He said as the interceptor boats were not equipped with tracking radar, action could be delayed should they be stationed at the jetties instead of the mother ships.
“From the MMEA vessels the boats could immediately be dispatched to the designated areas,” he said.
“We do not want to have COVID-19 cases brought in by illegal immigrants coming to work here,” he said adding that should the immigrants enter the country there would probably be new clusters of COVID-19 cases.
Mohd Zubil also warned local and foreign boat skippers or operators against harbouring illegal immigrants.
“Their movements too will be monitored with the help of the Royal Malaysian Air Force and the Air Wing Units which have been deployed to monitor and patrol the borders day and night,” he said.
Ops Benteng a special operation under the National Task Force, led by the Malaysian Armed Forces, RMP and MMEA, is aimed at beefing up border control to prevent entry of illegal immigrants, curbing cross-border crime and preventing the spread of COVID-19.