By ADRIAN DAVID
GULF OF ADEN: Incidents have blurred lines between agencies, says Hisham
KUALA LUMPUR: OWING to growing threats to Malaysia’s resources, the government is mulling initiatives to protect oil rigs located off its coastline and in international waters.
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the maritime sector could learn from the success of Op Fajar, the operation to escort Malaysian International Shipping Corporation (MISC) cargo vessels by Royal Malaysian Navy auxiliary ships plying the Gulf of Aden.
“Op Fajar has proved to be a huge success and elements of it can be explored to protect our maritime assets, including oil platforms offshore and in international waters.
“We must take proactive and preventive measures rather than wait for tragedies to happen.
“Just like how MISC and the RMN had the foresight to implement Op Fajar well before we implemented the National Blue Ocean Strategy, we should similarly consult with the oil and gas industry players to look at how best to protect their assets.”
For starters, Hishammuddin said, discussions would be held with Petronas before consultations with other major oil and gas producers were undertaken.
“We can also collaborate with Brunei.”
He said this at the launch of the coffee-table book, The Malaysian Success Story in The Gulf of Aden, at the Defence Ministry yesterday.
Hishammuddin said such threats were not unique to Malaysia but to other countries as well, and called on all quarters to collaborate on the security and sovereignty of the country.
He said in view of new transborder threats, the operational module of the Eastern Sabah Security Command could also adopt Op Fajar elements.
“In a world without borders, incidents of piracy, murder and kidnapping have blurred the line between enforcement agencies,” he said in reference to the murder-cum-kidnap of tourists on Pulau Pom Pom off Semporna in Sabah.
Similarly, he said, the success of Op Fajar should not go unnoticed and could be applied to the National Service Training Department.
“When we previously focused on the communist insurgency, we can now adopt Op Fajar and learn from the militant threat from the Lahat Datu incident.
“We can inculcate nationalism, patriotism and volunteerism in youth, who will be our future leaders.”
Op Fajar was launched on Aug 28, 2008, following the hijacking of two MISC vessels by Somali pirates since Aug 19 that year.
RMN has coordinated the safe passage of 479 Malaysian cargo vessels with the deployment of 2,244 officers and men to the Gulf of Aden.