KUALA LUMPUR, 14 Dec — The National Task Force (NTF) will continue with its duties even after the COVID-19 pandemic ends, says Chief of Defence Force Gen Tan Sri Affendi Buang.
He said this was because the NTF had shown that it was capable of stopping foreign migrants from crossing the country’s borders during the pandemic.
“The NTF has been successful in ensuring the security of our borders during this period, and can be used to counter various threats in the future.
“In addition, the NTF has various operations modules that were successful in controlling the entry of migrants, smuggling and enforcement at our country’s borders,” he said in a media conference after the signing of the Ops Benteng permanent procedures for operations at Wisma Perwira ATM here today.
The Ops Benteng permanent procedures for operations is a standard for inter-agency collaboration used in Ops Benteng. It was signed by 19 enforcement and national security agencies involved in Ops Benteng.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador and Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency director-general Admiral Datuk Mohd Zubil Mat Som were also present at the signing ceremony.
Commenting on the integrated patrols at the country’s borders, Affendi said that the armed forces together with other enforcement agencies, including the police, were stationed at the borders according to pre-determined sectors.
“On the field, we utilise and coordinate existing teams by using a plan to optimise assets and the number of armed forces personnel to be placed on duty with other agencies,” he said.
Regarding cross-border crime, Affendi voiced his disappointment as the majority of such crimes were committed by locals who were taking advantage of the current situation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We cannot just let this carry on, because if it’s left unaddressed, it will be a loss for everyone, especially from the aspect of economic stability and the well-being of the country’s citizens,” he said.
According to Affendi, in the seven months under Ops Benteng, they had successfully detained 9,677 migrants, 831 human traffickers and 374 smugglers.
“The total value of items seized and confiscated (throughout the operation) stands at RM199 million,” he added.