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KL wants naval pacts with Asean nations

The Straits Times, 4 August 2000

An agreement will be signed with Indonesia soon to avoid incidents at sea. Kuala Lumpur seeks similar accords with other Asean countries

SURABAYA -- Malaysia wants to enter into formal agreements with fellow Asean countries to avoid incidents at sea between their navies, starting with the signing of such a memorandum of understanding with Indonesia soon.

Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) Fleet Operations Commander Rear-Admiral Datuk Anwar Mohamed Nor said navies of neighbouring countries would have to observe this etiquette to avoid misunderstanding, especially during patrols of territorial waters.

This is our latest effort to evoke a more friendly operational atmosphere with the navies of our neighbours, he told Malaysian journalists here yesterday.

Rear-Adm Anwar was here to jointly inaugurate a nine-day naval exercise code-named Exercise Malindo-Jaya involving the RMN and the Indonesian navy which started on Wednesday.

According to him, such MOUs were common among European countries, especially during the Cold War years.

The idea and the MOU model are also borrowed from these countries and is part of confidence-building measures agreed upon earlier between friendly countries, he said.

Meanwhile, the launching of the naval exercise at Indonesia's East Region Base in Surabaya marked the revival of the Malindo Jaya joint exercise after a lapse of three years due to the region's economic crisis.

The launch of the 17th edition of the exercise, previously staged once in two years, was witnessed by Rear-Adm Anwar and his Indonesian counterpart, Chief of Staff (Navy) Admiral Achmad Sutjipto.

Rear-Adm Anwar, in his speech, said the presence of Admiral Achmad, showed that the exercise was important to both nations who shared a common sea boundary.

Malaysia and Indonesia each sent six ships for the exercise which involves 148 officers and 1,187 men.

The exercise ends on Aug 11.

The RMN will also hold a two-day Jiwa Murni community project in the village of Tambak Camandi in Sidoarjo district.

Activities include the cleaning and repair of the children's playground, school and mosque.

Other programmes are health and dental check-ups as well as donation of items to meet the basic needs of those who were victims of an earthquake in Bengkulu Province, Sumatra.

Admiral Achmad said the community project was meaningful as Indonesia was still reeling from the effects of the economic crisis and the people needed foreign aid. --Bernama