PONTIAN The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (Maritime) has detected more than 20 hotspots or rat routes in Johor which are believed to be the entry and exit points for illegal immigrants from Indonesia to this country.
Johor Maritime Operations deputy director captain Sanifah Yusof said one of the locations was the waters of West Johor from Kukup, Pontian to Batu Pahat.
“This area is picked because of several factors including heavily thicket jungle or mangrove swamps that make it easy for them to sneak in or out.
“It is also favoured because of the lack of settlements in the affected areas but the village factor is not the main reason as in some places, they even use village areas to land or exit,” he said.
He said this to reporters after witnessing the monitoring of a hotspot or illegal migrant rat route using the ship KM Nipah in West Johor here today.
Sanifah added another factor that also made the area favorable was that Malaysia’s territorial waters is just 15 nautical miles from Karimun Island and Rupat, Indonesia.
“This means that if we were to reach the two islands, it would only take 45 minutes to an hour by speed boat to reach Malaysian waters,” he said.
In light of these factors, the Johor Maritime said Sanifah would continue to intensify operations and patrols in Johor waters especially during this Aidilfitri holiday season to check the entry of migrants into the country.
“This step should be taken to curb the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak as we expect the peak time for them (illegal immigrants) to return to Malaysia is a week after Aidilfitri to work in various sectors.
“So towards this end, we will try to maximise the use of existing assets besides assigning about 500 members in turn throughout the 23,428 sq km territorial waters area,” he said.
Source: BERNAMA News Agency