Recently, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gave the green light for Malaysian and Indonesian enforcement vessels to enter Philippine waters in pursuit of pirates, kidnappers and militants.
The clearance to enter our neighbours’ waters is part of a trilateral maritime security agreement discussed by Malaysia’s defence and foreign ministers with their Philippine and Indonesian counterparts.
Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) chief Datuk Hazani Ghazali welcomed this new development, as the opening of maritime borders will cut the lag time between when a Malaysian vessel halts its pursuit and when the neighbouring country continues the chase.
Before this, criminals and terrorists were able to seek refuge upon reaching Philippine waters, as entry by foreign armed vessels without permission is an intrusion into the nation’s sovereignty.
Esscom oversees security in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone), a special security area spanning some 1,700km of coastline in the east coast of Sabah. To boost the security of Esszone even further, vessels used by Esscom should be able to outrun the fastest speedboats, or carry a high-speed helicopter on its deck, to drive fear and inspire confidence in the Sulu Sea.
Crime or corruption occurs when perpetrators think they can get away with it, including snatch thieves on motorcycles, as it is common for many of them not to stop at red lights. Likewise, if the escape routes are cut off, it would not be just another day in the office for pirates, kidnappers and terrorists should they strike again.