Malaysia handed over a protest note to Vietnam over the high number of encroachment by Vietnamese fishing vessels into Malaysian waters. Pic by NSTP/Courtesy of TLDM

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia handed over a protest note to Vietnam over the high number of encroachment by Vietnamese fishing vessels into Malaysian waters.

The protest note was handed over to Vietnam ambassador Le Quy Quyn here today.

The diplomat was earlier today summoned to the Foreign Ministry to explain the high number of encroachment of Vietnamese vessels into Malaysian waters.

Wisma Putra in a statement said its deputy secretary-general (Bilateral Relations), Raja Datuk Nushirwan Zainal Abidin who met the ambassador, handed over the protest note.

The statement said during the meeting Malaysia also urged the Vietnamese government to take measures to rectify the situation.

"In the meeting, the ministry had explained that a total of 748 vessels and 7,203 Vietnamese crew members were detained between 2006 until 2019.

"These encroachments into Malaysian waters by Vietnamese fishermen not only posed a threat to Malaysian citizens but was also a violation of Malaysia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

"Additionally, it also contravenes international law including relevant provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982," it said.

The ministry said the bilateral relations between Malaysia and Vietnam remain strong with both countries enjoying vibrant ties in a wide range of sectors under the Strategic Partnership framework.

"The repeated encroachments by Vietnamese fishermen would only hamper efforts made by both countries to strengthen relations," it said, adding that the Vietnam Ambassador took note of the protest and gave his assurances that Malaysia’s greviance would be conveyed to the Vietnamese authorities.

Le also conveyed to the Malaysian government the encroachment by Vietnamese fishing vessels was illegal under Vietnamese law, and that the local authorities there would be informed of the matter.

Last month, Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the Cabinet had approved to form a special task force to resolve the problem of foreign fishing vessels including Vietnamese vessels encroaching into Malaysian waters.

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