KUCHING, Aug 6 — The Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) will increase the presence of its personnel and assets for all three branches of service, namely the army, air force and navy, especially in the Bintulu area.

Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the plan was to increase defence capabilities while ensuring that the country’s strategic interests in Sarawak waters were protected from any threats.

“In order to ensure that efforts to safeguard the sovereignty of the waters in Sarawak can be implemented more holistically, the Naval Region 4 (Mawilla 4) headquarters is being planned to be built in phases in the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) and 13MP,” he said.

He said this in a statement after paying a courtesy call on Sarawak Premier, Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg, at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here, today.

Also present were the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) secretary-general, Datuk Seri Muez Abd Aziz; Chief of the Defence Force, General Tan Sri Affendi Buang; Army chief, General Tan Sri Zamrose Mohd Zain and Eastern Field Command commander, Lt Gen Datuk Mardzuki Muhammad.

Meanwhile, Hishammuddin said at this moment, army personnel and assets, especially the Border Regiment (RS), are being mobilised so that they are sufficient, and will be improved over time.

“This involves presence and readiness at the Sarawak-Kalimantan and Sarawak-Brunei borders, including adding 12 new military posts, especially taking into account the Indonesian government’s plans to move its capital to Kalimantan.

“This matter will also be discussed in detail with my counterpart, Indonesian Defence Minister, Prabowo Subianto, while co-chairing the 42nd General Border Committee Malaysia-Indonesia (GBC Malindo) meeting in Kuala Lumpur next week,” he said. — Bernama