Leave settlement of maritime disputes to the authorities, says MP

Dr Yii (right) poses with Salahuddin after their meeting.

KUCHING, March 15: Maritime disputes between Malaysia and Indonesia with regards to the encroachment of fishing boats into each other’s territory should be discussed between the two nations to secure a better understanding in dealing with future incidents.

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii made this comment in relation to the recent detention of fishing boat `Nemo’ by the Indonesian Navy and another boat by the Indonesian Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

Nemo’s three crew members — comprising two Malaysians and an Indonesian — and the 11 Malaysian sports fishing enthusiasts on board returned home this afternoon.

In thanking the Malaysian federal government and the Indonesian authorities for reaching an amicable solution and releasing all those on board `Nemo’, Dr Yii revealed that before `Nemo’ was released, he was informed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Dato Salahuddin Ayub had sought a meeting with Indonesian Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti on the matter.

“I was made aware of the case of two fishing boats, where one boat was registered under the name `Nemo’ with 13 Malaysians on board and another fishing boat. They were intercepted by the Indonesian authorities on March 12 and 13, respectively,” he said in a statement today.

“Both boats were alleged to have encroached into Indonesian waters even though the coordinates provided by both boats at the point of arrest were said to be within Malaysian waters.”

Dr Yii added that to expedite and to resolve the incidents amicably, he met the Minister of Agriculture Datuk Salahuddin Ayub and later Deputy Defence Minister Liew Chin Tong.

“I also contacted the Foreign Ministry to follow-up on their negotiations with the Indonesian government, especially to secure the release of the two boats and the Malaysians on board,” he said.

Dr Yii reckoned that for future disputes of this nature, it would be the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to play the leading role. — DayakDaily