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M’sia, Philippines meet to discuss joint patrol of maritime waters

KOTA KINABALU: Police in Malaysia and the Philippines will form a joint-enforcement working group which will see enhanced intelligence-sharing and increased collaboration in the patrolling of maritime waters.

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Ramli Din said the collaboration is the realisation of a goal expressed during the first bilateral meeting between the Malaysian Marine Police Force and the Philippines National Police (PNP) Maritime Group, which started today.

Launching the three-day event at a hotel here, Ramli said the meeting will also discuss the issue of Malaysian vessels fishing beyond the country’s borders, and the possibility of Sabah being used as a transit point for new Islamic State (IS) recruits from Southeast Asia and South Asia, as well as Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte giving the green light for Malaysia to pursue fleeing kidnappers into Philippine waters.

“The meeting is a follow-up to the trip led by our Inspector-General of Police (Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar) to the Philippines around the end of last year to discuss cooperation with PNP.

“To say Sabah is a transit point (to recruit new IS members in the region) is too early… But this is one of the things we will discuss. And of course, this involves sharing of intelligence information.

“We will also discuss pursuing kidnappers into Philippine waters, as, while the matter has been agreed to in principle, we need to have a detailed mechanism,” Ramli told reporters.

Yesterday, in Kuala Lumpur, the Special Branch’s Counter Terrorism Division smashed an IS terrorist cell in the country with the arrest of four people.

Khalid was quoted as saying that the arrests mean that police have effectively destroyed a new IS cell, which had planned to turn Sabah into a transit station for Southeast Asia and South Asian terrorists keen to join a Philippines-based IS group, led by Dr Mahmud Ahmad and Isnilon Hapilon.

-New Straits Times

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