PUTRAJAYA, (Nov 26) — A group of detainees held for illegal fishing in Indonesian waters last week are not Malaysians, according to preliminary investigations last Saturday, by the Malaysian Consulate in Pontianak, Indonesia.
The group neither possesses Malaysian identification nor speaks Bahasa Malaysia.
In a statement Wednesday, Malaysia’s Foreign Ministry said the preliminary investigation was undertaken together with the Indonesian authorities.
It said the Malaysian Embassy in Indonesia had on Monday, received a diplomatic note from the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry, stating its authorities had conducted a two-day security and public order operation, beginning Nov 16, in Indonesian waters around Berau district, East Kalimantan and between Pulau Derawan and Pulau Panjang in Berau, East Kalimantan.
It said the Indonesian authorities claimed to have detained 524 boat people and 153 boats.
The detainees were held for illegal fishing in Indonesian waters and violating immigration rules for not possessing a permit or valid identification.
The statement said the Indonesian authorities were in the midst of verifying the identity and personal information of the detainees.
Malaysia’s Foreign Ministry said it would continue to communicate with the Indonesian authorities to verify the citizenship of the detainees so that consular assistance could be rendered accordingly. — BERNAMA