KUCHING, June 22 -- Sarawak is in the process of procuring assets and recruiting personnel for its soon to be launched Sarawak Coast Guard (SCG), said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg today.
He said the SCG, which was mooted in October last year, is to address various issues including encroachment by foreign and local fishing vessels as well as loss of revenue from the state's vast sea resources.
"This year will see continuous efforts towards the inception of the Sarawak Coast Guard Division," he said at a gathering to mark the third anniversary of the State Security and Enforcement Unit (UKPN) at Wisma Bapa Malaysia, the state administrative centre, here.
When announcing the setting up of the SCG last year, he said RM90 million had been allocated under the state's 2020 budget for the procurement of three patrol boats and recruitment of 50 personnel.
He said the formation of the coast guard unit was made possible through amendments to the state's Fishery Ordinance 2003.
On UKPN, Abang Johari said it had been largely involved in combating illegal logging and sand dredging, ensuring food security, physical security activities as well as the formation and promotion of the Community Emergency Response Team in Sarawak over the last three years.
“UKPN had opened 25 investigation papers, seized about 6,000 logs, 13 heavy machineries and three lorries that led to 76 people being charged in court. I believe this exercise has significantly impacted and reduced illegal logging activities in the Batang Rajang Basin.
“The Op Jongkong covering mainly the Batang Rajang area is a good example of a well-conducted operation to thwart unlawful extraction of timber that can lead to environmental degradation and loss of state revenue,” he said.
Besides that, he said, UKPN had played a leading role to coordinate operations to combat rabies throughout Sarawak under the establishment of the Immune Belt Enforcement Team (IBET) that has been approved by the cabinet recently.
“The eight phases of operations started from Telok Melano in March 2019 and ended in Lawas in November. The operation had successfully vaccinated 26,000 dogs and put to sleep another 11,000 dogs," he added.
Malaysia National News Agency
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