SANDAKAN: The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) has identified ‘rat routes’ used by cross-border criminals at the Sulu and Sulawesi seas to enter Sabah illegally and undetected. Naval 2 region commander Rear Admiral Datuk Ganesh Navaratnam said information on the illegal sea routes was gathered based the intelligence-sharing between Malaysian, Philippines and Indonesian navy. He said RMN has blocked the identified routes, but refused to reveal specific details on the matter. “What is important is that we know the position we need to be in monitoring movement at sea and looking after security (of the people). “We already know the routes used by cross-border criminals and we have blocked the routes immediately,” he told reporters at the Trilateral Maritime Patrol (TMP) Port Visit programme at the naval base here, today. The programme is a continuation from the TMP INDOMALPHI (Indonesia – Malaysia – Filipina) event launched in June 2017 at Tarakan, in Indonesia. Today is the third implementation of such programme. Ganesh said the programme was aimed at boosting cooperation and enhancing understanding between naval forces of the three nations in the effort to combat cross-border crime, particularly kidnapping and militant activities.
“The programme in Sandakan involves the coordination of Maritime Command Centres (MCC) from the three countries,” he said. The MCC was established to activate TMP surveillance, communication, and coordination operation between Malaysia, Philippines, and Indonesia. “The continuous cooperation showed the strong relationship Malaysian navy has with our counterparts in Indonesia and Philippines. This collaboration is an excellent platform to solve issues that are threatening our mutual interests at the Sulu and Sulawesi seas,” stressed Ganesh. Throughout the TMP Port Visit programme, visits and cultural activities were organised to promote the various tourist destinations and culture in Sandakan districts. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd