Presentation Ceremony of the Training Ship “Marlin” to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency
(Delivered at the presentation ceremony for the MMEA training ship, Marlin)
Honorable Deputy Prime Minister Dato Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, Datin Sri Rosmah Binti Mansor, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me begin by saying that I am highly honored by the presence of the Honorable Chief Minister of Selangor, Dato Seri Mohamad Khir Bin Toyo, his wife, Datin Seri Zahrah Binti Kechik, and Vice Admiral Mohammad Bin Nik, the Director General of MMEA.
Tan Sri-Tan Sri, Dato’-Dato’, Datin-Datin.
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, I am very pleased to present the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency with a training ship that will be used to promote navigational safety in the Strait of Malacca. I hope this training ship will be used to train proud and dedicated personnel–personnel who will contribute greatly to the security of the Strait of Malacca and the surrounding area, so that the people of Asia can live safely and in peace.
Some sixty thousand large vessels pass through the Strait of Malacca every year. Since it connects the Middle East and Asia, it is a vital sea route for both Asia and the global community. But the Strait of Malacca is also one of the world’s most congested straits, with a high risk of maritime accidents. Piracy presents an additional problem. The Strait and surrounding waters accounts for about 40% of pirate attacks in the world. However, I am delighted to hear that under Deputy Prime Minister Najib’s leadership, piracy in the area has been dramatically reduced
Every country in the world recognizes that the coastal states in this region have already been working hard to maintain navigational safety in the area. However, it is clear that we should no longer depend on the efforts of the coastal states alone. In recent years, with the economic growth of China and other Asian nations, an increasing number of countries are enjoying the benefits of safe passage through the Strait. Therefore, it is neither appropriate nor fair that the Strait should be protected only by Malaysia and the other coastal states, with the cooperation of Japan. If this situation continues, it will be difficult to develop new facilities for the navigational safety and security of the area.
Recently, discussions on international cooperation have been held at various levels by international organizations such as the International Maritime Organization. In these discussions, we are seeing signs of positive change. There are moves afoot to require users and user countries to share the costs, offering hopes of building a new cooperative framework in the Strait of Malacca.
However, some high hurdles must be removed before the issues of navigational safety and security can be addressed comprehensively. With regard to cooperation between the coastal states and user countries, a new international consensus needs to be established. This should respect both the views of the coastal states and international law. It is also imperative to develop a system for steadily improving the equipment and personnel training of the maritime security agencies of the coastal states.
Last year, I proposed the concept of “sustainable development of maritime activities” in a lecture at the International Maritime Organization. To secure navigational safety, which is an internationally important issue, I feel that we need to change the old idea that maritime safety is something that comes for free. In important sea areas where the costs of navigational safety are high, I believe that serious discussions should be started on a establishing a cooperative framework. Under this framework, users and user countries would assist in securing navigational safety by making appropriate levels of contribution as beneficiaries, rather than leaving the costs to be borne by the coastal states alone. This will be an important step towards sustainable development in the Strait. I see the Strait of Malacca as a model region for promoting the “sustainable development of maritime activity.” To achieve this, I am planning to promote the development of an international framework, including necessary cost-sharing schemes.
Malaysia has made rapid progress in Asia, and is a central presence among the coastal states. I am sure it will shoulder heavy responsibilities in resolving the problems facing the Strait. For our part, The Nippon Foundation is committed to promoting cooperative relations between countries and supporting the development of a new framework. We are keen to assist the activities of Malaysia, which will play a central role in implementing safety measures in the Strait of Malacca.
For over 30 years, the people of Malaysia and The Nippon Foundation have worked together, building a relationship of trust in the area of maritime safety and security in the Strait of Malacca. It is important and natural for us to continue this cooperative relationship. I sincerely hope that this new ship will play an active role in promoting safe navigation in the Strait, and that she will become a symbol of cooperation between Malaysia and Japan.