“Managing Borders in the Maritime Domain” was the focus of a recent conference co-hosted by the Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies. Held June 9-11 in Kuala Lumpur, the conference brought together more than 50 international experts from 11 nations to look at how they can better work together.

The focus of seminar discussions was better understanding of how various levels of inter-agency officials in the governments of South East and South Asia nations coordinate and share useful information to delineate and control borders, resolve fishing and disputed resource issues, and correspondingly deal with all forms of trafficking challenges, including human, drug, weapons, and animals, as well as terrorist transits and disease control. Break-out group discussions specifically addressed management techniques, procedures, technology and organizations related to efforts conducted by governments and non-governmental organizations throughout the region.

Opening ceremonies included a keynote address by Yang Berhormat Dato’ Haji Hasan Bin Malek, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department. He stated that “it is essential that states in the region cooperate, identify and resolve weaknesses in their enforcement mechanisms, including all elements of ambiguities, and lacunae of existing international and domestic laws. By doing so, they will ensure that no criminals are able to escape the hands of the law, and this will in turn pose a sufficient deterrence to would-be offenders. After all, prevention is still the best form of effective law enforcement.”

Additional opening remarks were made by MMEA Director General and APCSS alumni (SEC05-2) Admiral Dato’ Mohd Amdan bin Kurish (SEC05-2), and; Mr. David Shear Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy Kuala Lampur. Other keynote speakers included: Rear Admiral Dato’ Noor Aziz bin Yunan, Deputy Director General (Operations), MMEA; Dr. Lee Endress, Dean, College of Security Studies, APCSS; Mr. Shyamansunder Tekawani, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and Ms. Lee Yin Mui, Assistant Director of Research, ReCAAP.

According to APCSS professor retired U.S. Navy Captain Carleton Cramer, the conference was successful in providing participants a better understanding of various national perspectives on border control challenges in the maritime domain. Participants also gained an appreciation for shared maritime border control, where appropriate and necessary.

This event was a follow-on multinational conference to the February 2007 land-border control conference held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.