LANGKAWI: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has beefed up patrolling the country’s waters following a report that a boat ferrying Rohingya refugees was heading to this country.
MMEA Northern Region director First Admiral Maritime Rozali Mohd Said said six MMEA assets were deployed to the northern waters to be on standby in event of the boat entering the country's border.
He said the patrolling involving four MMEA vessels and boats were being carried out in the Straits of Malacca and also the Andaman Sea.
“We have beefed up our operation after receiving intelligence information involving the boat's movement yesterday evening.
“However, as for now there is no such boat concerned in our waters,” he said in a statement today.
He also urged fishermen who are carrying out fishing activities in the northern water to report any sighting of such boat to the agency.
He said those with information could contact the agency by contacting 999 number or the Northern Region MMA Operation Centre in Langkawi at 04-9662750.
It was reported that a boat ferrying dozens of Rohingya refugees was trying to reach Malaysia but was forced to stop off Thai’s western coast in Krabi province on early Sunday due to bad weather.
The refugees are said to be fleeing from overcrowded camps for the stateless minority in southern Bangladesh, who were fleeing violence in Myanmar.
Krabi governor Kitibodee Pravitra confirmed that the people travelling on the boat were Rohingyas but did not know where they had come from.
He was reported as saying that the refugees docking near Koh Lanta to avoid storm and wanted to go to Malaysia.