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More smuggling of essentials foiled in LD and Semporna
Published on: Monday, March 16, 2020
By: Efa Rizan
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More smuggling of essentials foiled in LD and Semporna
Some of the 180 Jerry cans of petrol found on the boat.
LAHAD DATU: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) foiled two Filipinos attempting to smuggle 980 litres of petrol to the Philippines on Saturday.

Lahad Datu Maritime Zone Director Maritime Commander Abdul Muhaimin Muhammad Salleh said the seizure was made after a team patrolling off Felda Sahabat waters intercepted a suspicious boat some 0.3 nautical miles off Southern Kg Kenali at about 8pm.  The 56-year-old Filipino skipper and his 25-year-old crewman were detained after they failed to furnish valid documents.  The seized goods estimated worth about RM1,783.  Abdul Muhaimin assured that MMEA would continue efforts to eradicate crime and smuggling activities off Lahad Datu waters.  He said MMEA would not compromise against those found involved in such activities. Instances of goods, especially subsidised items, being smuggled out to neighbouring countries via Sabah’s the east coast waters is not uncommon.

In January this year, the then Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister, Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, revealed that the nation lost more than RM1 billion in leakages due to smuggling of subsidised liquefied Petroleum Gas cylinders from 2015 to 2017. He revealed that Pulau Sebatik, an island off Tawau is shared by both Malaysia and Indonesia and is noted for rampant smuggling of gas cylinders and cooking oil, among others. Malaysian goods are also often smuggled to southern Philippines.

 These goods cost more in their respective countries because they have to be shipped to the provinces from their respective capitals while it is easier to smuggle them from nearby Sabah, which is closer to both Mindanao and Kalimantan, besides these items being enjoyed by foreigners at the expense of being subsidised by Malaysians.

This issue has been around for many years. Last year in November, MMEA seized 260 plastic jerry cans containing 6,500 litres of petrol near Pulau Bohayen in Semporna. That same year, a 62-year-old was detained after he was caught trying to smuggle out 25 liquefied petroleum gas via sea to Indonesia. Those with information on such activities are urged to contact the Lahad Datu MMEA Operations Centre at 089 885 727.

In SEMPORNA, District Maritime foiled an attempt to smuggle 180 Jerry cans of petrol to a neighboring country on Friday night.

 Its zone director, Commander Norrimi bin Hassan, said the maritime patrol officers stopped a suspicious boat near Tanjung Pantau-Pantau at 10:30pm.  The skipper and crew jumped into the sea and swam to the nearby swamp forest. He said the overall seizure including the boat with two engines was estimated at RM28,200.

 The maritime police then brought over the goods and boat to Azumi camp base for investigation under the Control Supply Act 1961.

 Norrimi said this was the second petrol smuggling case with the largest detention value this year compared to only four detentions of petrol smuggling last year.



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