Frequently Asked Question (FAQs) of Centre for Maritime Security and Diplomacy (MSD)
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Malaysia is maritime nation with the Straits of Malacca, the South China Sea, the Sulu Sea and the Sulawesi Sea as its maritime domain. They are rich in oil, gas, fish and other marine based resources. The sea lanes of communication that link Europe, West Asia and South Asia with East Asia straddle through the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea. They are the conduits for Malaysia's seaborne trade. Hense the seas play a vital role in Malaysia's good governance.
The resposibility of the Centre of Maritime Security & Diplomacy's (MSD) is to study the security situation of the Malaysian waters, identify issues that affect their security, conduct research on the problem areas and recommend policy measures to the stakeholders to manage or resolve those problems. MSD's researches are expected to enhance Malaysia's as well as regional maritime security.
MIMA networks with organisation that have interest in maritime matters at national and international levels.
At national level, MIMA closely works with those ministries and agencies such as Ministry of Transport (MOT), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Ministry of Defence, the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN), Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), Marine Operation Force (MOF), Marine Department of Malaysia, Department of Fisheries and others.
At international level, it networks with international organisation that deals with maritime security such as International Maritime Bureau (IMB), International Maritime Orginisation (IMO) and other regional maritime enforcement agencies such as Coast Guards, especially in the ASEAN region.
The maritime threat to Malaysia is both traditional and non-traditional. The traditional threats come from territorial disputes with neighbouring states and they are of concern. However, Malaysia is managing it well by diplomacy.
Currently the major maritime threats to Malaysia come from non-traditional security issues such as piracy, maritime terrorism, arms and drug smuggling, human trafficking, illegal immigration, illegal fishing and others that involve the maritime boundaries of many countries, making it more cumberstone to handle.
The implications of maritime threats on Malaysia are many. They affect the law and order situation in the maritime domain. There is a need to commit more resources to the enforcement agencies, especially in terms of personnel, capacity and capabilities. Issues such as illegal immigrants and human trafficking have adverse implications on the stability of domestic society. Issues related to human trafficking affect the image of the nation at national, regional and global levels. Issues such as illegal fishing, smuggling, corruption and others affect the financial resources of the country. There are also situation, they even damage Malaysia's bilateral relations with the neighbouring states, especially when it involves the maritime boundaries.
Sea encompassess a very wide area of maritime space covering the territories of many nations. Hence there are international and national laws that govern the managment of the seas. The United Nation Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982 is considered as the constitution to manage the word's oceans an seas. Beside UNCLOS there are other international laws to deal with maritime security such as International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) (London 1974), International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (Hamburg 1979), Conventio on the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (Rome 1988) and others.
There are many national laws that deal with the management of Malaysia's maritime areas. Among them are:-
- The Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency Act 2004
- Police Act 1967
- Penal Code
- Criminal Procedure Act
- Merchant Shipping Act (Oil Pullution) 1994
- Merchant Shipping Ordinance Act 1952
- Fisheries Act 1985 (Amendment 1993)
- Exclusive Economic Zone Act 1984
- Petroleum Mining Act 1966
- Environment Quality Act 1986
- Continental Shelf Act 1966
- Customs Act 1967
- Immigration Act 1959 (Amendment 1963)
- Petroleum (Safety Measures) Act 1984
- Telecommunication Act
- Dangerous Act 1952
- Explosive Act 1957
- Protection Places Ordinance Act 1959
- Internal Security Act 1960
- Firearms Act 1960
- National Security Directive No 18
With these international and national laws and cooperation of other littoral and user states, Malaysia should be able to manage its maritime areas well.