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Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah speaks to reporters after presenting contributions to mosques and suraus at Masjid Semambu, Kuantan. - NSTP/FARIZUL HAFIZ AWANG

KUANTAN: Malaysia will send a protest note to Vietnam on the encroachment by its fishermen into national waters, said Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

He said the protest note would be issued soon and the government will request for an explanation from the Embassy of Vietnam in Malaysia on the matter.

He added that Malaysia hopes to have discussions regarding the return of fishermen boats which were confiscated.

“In cases involving the encroachment of our waters by foreign fishermen, the authorities will take action by chasing them out or confiscating their boats, depending on the agreement between the two countries.

“If the foreign fishermen are caught here, we will go by the set procedure. We usually do not like to detain the boats for a long time and will hand them over once everything has been settled,” he said.

Saifuddin who is also Indera Mahkota Member of Parliament was speaking at a press conference held after presenting contributions to mosques and suraus in the constituency here today.

He was commenting on media reports yesterday concerning two Vietnamese fishing boats which were believed to have encroached into Malaysian waters and detained by the Royal Malaysian Navy in the South China Sea.

Saifuddin said the government will also work to get the return of five local fishing boats which were detained in the Strait of Melaka by the Indonesian authorities last year.

“We have an agreement with Indonesia where fishermen from both countries who go across the borders will be chased out as they do not encourage fishing boats being detained.

“It is quite easy for fishermen to offshoot the boundary in the Strait of Melaka as the waters are narrow,” he said. - Bernama

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