KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has reactivated the Op Khas Pagar Laut Operation throughout the country’s waters, especially in hotspot areas in conjunction with Ramadan and the Aidilfitri festive season.

The operation started on March 12 and will last until April 30.

MMEA Director-General, Maritime Admiral Datuk Hamid Mohd Amin (pix) said that the operation is being carried out to curb and combat cross-border criminal activities such as illegal immigrant movements, foreign fishermen intrusion, contraband smuggling and controlled item smuggling out of the country.

“This special operation will be carried out in four phases, namely the first phase involving information gathering and asset readiness preparation from March 12 until yesterday, followed by the second phase, which is enforcement before the Aidilfitri celebration starting today until April 1.

“Subsequently, the third phase includes enforcement during the celebration (April 2 to April 16), and the fourth phase involves enforcement after the celebration (April 17 to April 30),“ he said in a statement today.

He added that the operation would involve 800 officers and personnel nationwide, as well as 45 agency-owned assets, and throughout the operation, MMEA would tighten control and optimise operations in waters bordering neighbouring countries.

Hamid said besides that, the agency is also prepared to carry out Search and Rescue Operations (SAR) in the event of ship accidents or passenger boat incidents when returning to their hometowns for the Aidilfitri celebration.

Meanwhile, he said that last year, MMEA successfully thwarted 12 high-profile cases out of 42 apprehension cases.

These include attempts to smuggle in cigarettes, foreign fishermen boat intrusions, illegal immigrant entries, and controlled item smuggling with a total seizure value of RM13 million. -Bernama