by BERNAMA / Pic by BERNAMA
AS many as 319 vessels and 1,465 land vehicles, estimated to be worth RM306 million, were among those seized during the implementation of Ops Benteng at the country’s borders from May 1 last year until Feb 26, said Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (picture).
Ismail Sabri, who is also the Defence Minister, said during the same period, a total of 12,087 illegal immigrants and 922 skippers were also arrested.
“The value of the seizure and the number of arrests demonstrate the success in efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 involving illegal immigrants.
“Ops Benteng conducted also strengthen security at the country’s borders as well as combating cross-border crime,” he said when appearing as a guest on RTM 1’s ‘Selamat Pagi Malaysia (SPM)’ programme this morning.
Ops Benteng – integrated operations involving the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM), Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and Malaysian Border Security Agency (AKSEM) as well as other security agencies – introduced in line with the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) to effectively curb the transmission of the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of illegal immigrants.
Ismail Sabri said despite the many constraints faced due to the pandemic, defending the country’s sovereignty has always been a priority for the ministry and the ATM without compromise.
He explained that during the efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19, ATM involvement was not only in security aspects, but also covered logistics and assets assistance to the Ministry of Health (MOH)
“ATM created field hospital to treat COVID-19 patients as well as aviation services to bring medical staff to the affected states and to deliver screening samples, especially in Sabah and Sarawak, to laboratories in the Peninsula,” he said.