Good Company

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Sunday, June 05, 2005

Malaysia: Help Needed for Malacca Strait

According to this Bloomberg report,
Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Najib Tun Razak asked the U.S. and other members of the international community for help in efforts to protect Southeast Asia's shipping lanes from pirates and terrorists.

He urged the U.S. and other members of the international community attending a security conference in Singapore that depend on Southeast Asia's shipping lanes for trade, to make ``concrete contributions'' toward keeping the Malacca Strait safe.

The U.S. Pacific Command's mobile training teams could help countries such as Malaysia in tackling piracy, he said. Sharing of intelligence and the provision of radar and satellite technology used to track ships that have been boarded by pirates, could also improve security, he said.

``Maritime safety and security remains one of the key security challenges facing Southeast Asia,'' Najib told the conference.
On the other hand,
"Malaysia has yet to find any "credible link" between terrorists and pirates who have roamed the Malacca Strait in search of plunder, Malaysia's defense minister said Sunday at a conference on Asian security.

Does it matter is there is a "credible link" established? The effect of pirates in your waters seizing ships, kidnapping crews and posing a risk to navigation is such that the pirates are grabbing attention from international sources and causing many expensive plans to be put into place to counter their efforts...

The piracy on the Malacca Straits had led some intelligence analysts to fear the worst, that al-Qaida terrorists or their allies would seize a vessel in the strategic sea lane, load it with bombs, sail it into a harbor and detonate the bombs.

But Mr. Razak told the conference that Malaysia has yet to uncover any "credible" connection between the pirates and terrorist groups, such as Jemaah Islamiya, a Southeast Asian group, linked to al-Qaida.

His remarks contrast with those of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsein Loong. In opening the conference Friday, he said that terrorists were studying maritime targets in Southeast Asia.

I'm getting confused. But I like the Singapore view better.

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