In Connection with Arrest of 200 Fishers, Cabinet Secretary Andi Widjajanto Receives His Malaysian Counterpart
Cabinet Secretary Andi Widjajanto received Malaysian Cabinet Secretary who also serves as the Chairman of Malaysian State Secretariat Tan Sri Dr. Ali Hamsa, in the formers office in Jakarta on Friday evening (28/11). In addition to introducing each other, they also discussed the arrest of more than 200 fishers allegedly coming from Malaysia.
This kind of meeting is very crucial to avoid any misunderstanding between both countries. Minister of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Susi Pudjiastuti has urged Malaysian government to strengthen the Memorandum of Understanding in efforts to mutually settle the problems arising in the seas around both countries borders without causing any misunderstanding, Cabinet Secretary Andi Widjajanto said.
Indonesia and Malaysia signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) concerning the general guidelines for settling problems arising in the seas around both countries borders, on 27 January 2012 in Nusa Dua, Bali. Indonesia was represented by Duty Officer of the Maritime Security Coordinating Agency (Bakorkamla) Vice Admiral Y. Didik Heru Purnomo, while Malaysia was represented by Secretary of Malaysian Security Council Dato Mohammed Thajudeen Abdul Wahab.
Pursuant to the MoU of 2012 concerning the law enforcement related to maritime borders, if traditional fishers with a boat weighing less than 30 gross tons trespass both countries borders, the local authorities can only expel them, not arrest them. The MoU has been misused by foreign ships to fish illegally while flying Malaysian flag.
Cabinet Secretary Andi Widjajanto said that this first meeting will be followed up with further meetings with Malaysian Ambassador and/or Malaysian cabinet members. He said that the meetings will discuss urgent matters such as the livelihood of both countries fishers.
Joint patrols carried out by Indonesian National Navy (TNI AL) and Indonesian National Police (Polri) arrested hundreds of illegal fishers in the region around Derawan in Kalimantan and in Natuna Islands from 16 to 19 November 2014.
Malaysian Ambassador to Indonesia Dato Seri Zahrain asserted that the 200 fishers arrested by Indonesian authorities were not Malaysians. Similarly, the other 524 fishers arrested by Indonesian authorities around Derawan were not confirmed yet as Malaysians.
Previously, Ambassador Zahrain has warned Malaysian citizens who live around both countries borders to be more cautious when they go fishing. We have told them not to be careless when go fishing in Indonesian waters because Indonesia has enforced strict laws and we must appreciate it, he said.
Malaysian Cabinet Secretary Tan Sri Ali Hamsa was accompanied by Malaysian Ambassador Dato Seri Zahrain, while Indonesian Cabinet Secretary Andi Widjajanto was accompanied by Cabinet Secretary Deputy for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Bistok Simbolon, Deputy for Peoples Welfare Surat Indijarso, Deputy for Economic Affairs Ratih Nurdiati, and Expert Staffer for Law and International Relations Fadlansyah Lubis.
Before saying good-bye to each other, both Cabinet Secretaries exchanged souvenirs. Ali Hamsa specially invited Andi Widjajanto to visit Malaysia. (WID/Humas Setkab/ES)