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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Malaysia's new coast guard swings into action

There's a new patrol in theStrait of Malacca, as reported here:
Malaysia's newly created coast guard has launched patrols in the Malacca Strait to boost security against piracy and the threat of terrorism in the busy shipping lane, the country's deputy leader said Thursday.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency began itssurveillance Wednesday with three vessels in the strait between peninsular Malaysia and Indonesia's Sumatra island, Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak told reporters.

"It is the first time in history that we have a fully integrated organization ... in terms of maritime security," Najib said.

"I'm confident it will be very much welcomed by our people as well as by the international community, particularly in the light of (security concerns in) the Straits of Malacca," he said.

Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore have promised to boost cooperation to protect the narrow waterway, amid concern in Washington and elsewhere that terrorists could hijack a ship and use it as a weapon or launch attacks that could disrupt the billions of dollars of trade that depend on the strait.
It's a good thing.

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