SHAH ALAM: The Malaysian Coast Guard (MMEA) has been designated as the lead agency for air surveillance of the country’s maritime domain. MMEA will coordinate the use of government air assets for surveillance duties, meaning it will be working together with RMAF and police.
As you aware specialised airborne surveillance assets are quite rare in Malaysia.
MMEA itself operates two CL-415 multi-purpose amphibians while RMAF surveillance role is undertaken by three Beechcraft King Air 200T MPA while the police’s Air Wing also has two Super King Air 350i equipped with surveillance equipment.
From New Straits Times
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who chaired the High Level Committee (HLC) meeting on the coordination of the use of government air assets (Bill No 1/2017), said MMEA’s appointment was based on its responsibility as spelled out in the MMEA Act 2004.
Among the responsibilities mentioned is to safeguard the well-being and security of the Malaysian Maritime Zone.
“Besides that, the MMEA’s aircraft are also registered under the regulation of the Directorate General Technical Airworthiness (DGTA) that give it the freedom to fly according to the height required, by having the configuration and specification needed in operations especially for Search and Rescue mission.
“The government hopes the coordination of the use of air assets will help to enhance public’s confidence in the capability and our level of preparedness in using the air assets to safeguard the country’s waters and airspace,” he said in a statement.
Zahid said the government has always priorities the sovereignty and security of the country’s maritime and airspace, adding that there was a need to coordinate related enforcement agencies to ensure the effectiveness of airspace surveillance in the country’s waters.
“As such, the effectiveness of airspace surveillance activities in the country’s waters should be further enhanced through the National Blue Ocean Strategy (NBOS) concept where assets in the government agencies can be collaborated including at the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone) and certain areas in Sarawak,” he added.
Despite the announcement, the statement left us with more questions than answers. For example, Malaysia has signed a tri-party agreement to conduct joint air patrol in the ESSZone area. With the latest directive does this mean if a CL415 was available for surveillance duties in the area, RMAF has no need to use its aircraft?
It must be noted that MMEA became the single enforcement agency for Malaysian waters in 2011 but this mandate was amended in early 2014 following the incursion into Lahad Datu, a year earlier. By early 2014, the Marine Police which had been reduced to patrol up to the shoreline was directed to return to patrolling the coasts with MMEA and the navy patrolling the open seas.
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