KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 3 — Malaysia’s government must address the reported intrusion by China’s naval ships into the country’s sea territory off the Sarawak coast, the State Reform Party said today.
Its chairman, Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said in a statement that if the Malaysian navy could not react when Chinese naval ships are 80 kilometres from Sarawak’s coastline, it would be too late if a serious incursion were to take place.
China’s state news agency Xinhua,reported that an amphibious landing craft and two destroyers patrolled the James Shoal area off the coast of Sarawak on January 26 and held a ceremony in which they swore to safeguard China’s sovereignty.
Malaysia’s navy chief, however, denied the report, saying instead that the Chinese exercise took place hundreds of miles to the north in international waters.
China is laying claim to vast areas of the South China Sea also claimed by other countries including Vietnam, Philippines and Malaysia.
“Like in Pearl Harbour in World War II, foreign ships could have entered the shores of Sarawak, done damage and landed at beaches” Kitingan said.
“The China naval incursion and potential claim over the James Shoal and the Spratly Islands have serious dire consequences for Malaysia and Sarawak.”
He urged the federal government to show its commitment to protect the territorial waters of Sabah and Sarawak and provide the security that was promised to the Borneo States during the formation of Malaysia in 1963.