KUALA LUMPUR, July 3 — The Federal Internal Security and Public Order Department has seized items valued at RM171.2 million in relation to illegal fishing and smuggling activities since January this year.
Department director Commissioner Datuk Seri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani said up to June 2019, a total of 2,129 individuals were also arrested in nationwide operations conducted by the General Operation Force (PGA) and the Marine Police, which fell under the department’s jurisdiction.
“The operations conducted by our unit between January and June this year mainly focused along the east and south coastline of the peninsula,” he told reporters during a press conference at the federal police headquarters in Bukit Aman here.
Acryl Sani added that contraband such as cigarettes and alcoholic beverages made up the majority of the seized items while foreigners topped the arrest list.
Also included in the list of seizures were sand and timber from illegal logging and sand-dredging activities.
Explaining further, Acryl Sani said the contraband items were seized by authorities after they have either slipped through border checkpoints in the northern states of the peninsula or brought in undetected through the shore.
He said investigations revealed that these organised smuggling activities were managed by several syndicates which the authorities have identified.
Apart from thwarting smugglers, Acryl Sani said the department also focused on illegal fishing activities conducted by foreign vessels from neighbouring countries in Malaysian waters.
“Last month alone, from June 17 until 30, we managed to detect and seized eight foreign fishing boats fishing illegally along the peninsula’s east coast with the help of the Fisheries Department.
“A total of 75 individuals were arrested and the value of seizure stood at RM5.7 million,” he said, adding that action under the Fisheries Act 1985 will be taken against those detained.
Acryl Sani also said the department will intensify its operations and intelligence gathering against these smuggling syndicates as their activities were detrimental to the nation’s economy.
“For example, contraband cigarettes smuggled into the country are not properly taxed thus reducing the government’s tax revenue and leading to losses suffered by the government.
“Therefore, we will continue our efforts in the eradication of smuggling and trespassing of our waters by foreign fishing vessel,” he said.