Kuala Lumpur – The 200 fishermen arrested by the Indonesian authorities since last Monday for allegedly fishing illegally in Indonesian waters are not believed to be Malaysians.
Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said they also did not have any travel documents.
“They are believed to be foreigners who were trying to enter Malaysia illegally through the Indonesian waters,” he said in a statement here yesterday.
He added however that cooperation with the Indonesian authorities on the matter was still ongoing in hopes to resolve the case.
Media reports recently quoted Indonesia’s cabinet secretary Andi Widjajanto as saying the fishermen were detained in an operation to eradicate illegal fishing in Indonesian waters since last Monday.
Yesterday Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said his ministry had so far not received any reports on any missing local fishermen as reported by the Indonesian side.
He said inspections by the Fisheries Department on the families of fishermen in the peninsular also revealed no family members were reported missing while families of fishermen in Sabah and Sarawak were currently being inspected.
Meanwhile, in Mantin, Negeri Sembilan. Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) director-general Maritime Admiral Mohd Amdan Kurish confirmed no Malaysian fishermen were reported missing based on inspections at all MMEA bases.
He was asked to comment on the purported detention of 200 Malaysian fishermen said to be fishing illegally in Indonesian waters after a MMEA gathering with the media. – BERNAMA