Abang Johari (eighth right), flanked by Dr Chai (ninth right) and Dr George Chan (seventh right) in a photocall with others in front of one of the patrol boats.

MIRI (July 18): The Sarawak Security and Enforcement Unit (UPKS) will set up a new base in Sejingkat in the near future, said Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He added that this will be followed by a base in Tanjung Manis, Bintulu and finally in Lawas.

“These are being managed by the Sarawak Public Works Department under the 12th Malaysian Plan,” he said at the launching of six island-class patrol boats for the Sarawak Coast Guard (SCG) and UPKS base here today.

Abang Johari said the Sarawak government will acquire three larger patrol vessels for SCG to enable it to patrol further and longer from all eight marine national parks from Tanjung Datu in Kuching to Lawas.

“These assets will complement the inadequacy of assets from other federal security agencies. We have eight marine parks that we have to secure – we are complementing the assets of other agencies and we have to secure our marine parks,” he said.

Touching on the six island-class patrol boats, which measure 25-metres long and are equipped with waterjet technology, Abang Johari said it was the state’s significant initiative in line with the Post Covid-19 Development Strategy 2030’s objective in enhancing coastal security control and preserving the environment.

“The acquisition of these six boats shows that the Sarawak government, led by Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), always prioritises the interests of its people – the state government always cares about the welfare and safety of our fishermen in the state.

“These assets, apart from being mobilised for the enforcement of state ordinances, will also assist in search and rescue (SAR) operations; security control in official waters events; and assist in the assignment of other security agencies wherever needed,” he said.

Abang Johari (second right) receives a replica of a patrol boat from Dr Chai witnessed by Lee (far left) and Dr George Chan (right).

Meanwhile, in a press conference held after the event, Abang Johari said that since the SCG was establish, many illegal trawling activities in Sarawak have been curtailed.

“As you know, we are facing illegal trawling in our seas – that is why we have to have control over our waters and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) have been given assets covering over 800 kilometres from Tanjung Datu to Lawas.

“Now, we have the Sarawak Coast Guard that will work together with MMEA to safeguard our marine parks,” he said.

Meanwhile, UPKS director Datu Dr Chai Khin Chung said that since the launching of the Sarawak Coast Guard on April 7, 2021, they have successfully carried out 27 series of patrol operations, 10 SAR operations and two SAR exercises with other agencies.

Among those present were former deputy chief minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan, Transport Minister Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin and Deputy State Secretary (Administration) Datu Buckland Bangik.

Abang Johari plants a coconut tree in front of the UPKS base in Miri to symbolically launch the base.