Sunday, February 14, 2016

What are you doing about Chinese vessels in Sarawak, DAP asks Hishammuddin

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein must explain what he has been doing over the past few days about the presence of Chinese coast guard vessels in Malaysian waters, a DAP lawmaker said today. Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong said it was puzzling that the minister had spoken about facilitating a meeting between the Chinese ambassador and Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem when defence and foreign policy were the domains of the federal government. "Why is Hishammuddin acting as a postman for Adenan when the defence of Malaysia's sovereignty is a federal matter? "I am a great proponent of decentralisation. Education, policing, healthcare and transportation should be devolved to state governments. But even in the most decentralised nations, defense and foreign policy are clear-cut central government domains," Liew said in a statement today. He also urged the prime minister and his Cabinet to reveal whether they agreed with Hishammuddin's "highly irresponsible" responses to the situation. Liew added that as defence minister, Hishammuddin must inform the nation whether Malaysian waters had been encroached, how often this happened and for how long. He also asked if these were innocent passages or intended enforcement and patrolling operations. "If it were innocent passages, and with China openly stating its adherence to the provisions of United Nations Convention of Laws of Sea (UNCLOS) and its respect for Malaysia's sovereignty claims on the disputed areas, the matter should be laid to rest in a diplomatic and friendly manner. "However, if the China coast guard were conducting enforcement operations and violated UNCLOS rules as well as Malaysian's sovereignty, Malaysia must take concrete and firm steps to ensure that the China vessels leave Malaysia's waters with an official apology from China for encroachment," he said, adding that the Malaysian government must be seen to be competent in dealing with unapproved encroachments. Hishammuddin said the courtesy call by China's ambassador to Malaysia Dr Huang Huikang to Adenan, on a date to be fixed, is expected to resolve the issue of the presence of Chinese coast guard ships in the state's waters. He also said there must be a diplomatic solution in such a situation to avoid any unwanted incident. Hishammuddin said the country's stand was consistent and it wanted to know the intention and purpose of the Chinese ships patrolling Sarawak's waters. – February 15, 2016.]]>

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