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Plan for drones to monitor Sabah waters still in discussion stage: Muhyiddin

Plan for drones to monitor Sabah waters still in discussion stage: Muhyiddin

File photo of a Malaysian navy ship in waters off Sabah where repeated kidnappings have taken place. (Photo: AFP)

PUTRAJAYA: A proposal to use drones to beef up security along Sabah's waters is still in the discussion stage, Malaysia's Home Affairs Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has told Bernama.

Earlier this month, the minister said that the government was studying the possibility of using drones along Sabah's waters and border areas, in light of frequent abductions and cross-border crime.

The proposal is still in the discussion stage, said the minister, adding that he hopes the government will enable his ministry to conduct test runs, Bernama reported on Thursday (Dec 26).

The Eastern Sabah Security Command has strengthened security, but the sea borders along Sabah's waters are too long, and more efficient measures are needed, said the minister.

Launched in 2013, the Eastern Sabah Security Command was established to safeguard the security of the state's east coast, following intrusion by terrorists from southern Philippines.

READ: Philippine troops rescue two abducted Indonesians

The waters between the eastern state of Sabah and the southern Philippines have for years seen repeated kidnappings by the Abu Sayyaf militant group.

Earlier this week, two Indonesian sailors who had been abducted by militants off Malaysian waters near the southern tip of Philippine island Mindanao were rescued by Philippine troops.

Indonesians Maharudin Lunani, 48, (second from right) and Samiun Maneu, 27, (right) posing for photographs in Jakarta on Dec 26, 2019. They were abducted by militants off Malaysian waters in September and were rescued by Philippine troops on Dec 22, 2019. With them are Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi (second from left) and Indonesian ambassador to the Philippines Sinyo Harry Sarundajang. (Photo: Kiki Siregar)

SINGLE BORDER AGENCY

The proposal for a new border agency to oversee security along national borders is also in the works.

At present, the task of managing Malaysia's national borders is handled by around 28 bodies, associations and companies, contributing to congestion and delay in managing border-related mattes, said Muhyiddin.

The government has accepted the proposal for a single body responsible for the country's gateways, he said.

“If possible, we want all matters relating to the setting up of the border agency to be settled and finalised within the next two years," he said. “The matter has been discussed with the Home Ministry’s secretary-general and I will push to speed up its establishment."

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