Sat, 12 Mar 2005

From: AFP

Malaysia to boost Strait security

MALAYSIA: Malaysia said on Friday it would boost security in the busy Malacca Strait with a 24-hour radar system to guard against attacks by terrorists and pirates.

"We want to increase our sensor capabilities especially at night, using radar to conduct surveillance on traffic that goes through the strait," Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is also defense minister, was quoted as saying by the official Bernama news agency.

"We want to make sure that in the future, our capabilities in maritime enforcement is on par with international standards, to ensure the safety of the users of the strait."

The 960-kilometer waterway bordered by Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia is used by some 50,000 ships a year carrying a third of world trade and half its oil supplies.

The three nations last year began coordinated patrols in the strait, which is one of the world's top piracy blackspots. Asian and Western security forces fear terrorists could hijack a tanker to use as a floating bomb in a maritime version of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States. --AFP