KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia need not submit any objection against the United States on the freedom of nagivation operation in the South China Sea as it does not involved the country’s maritime region.
Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican said the operation was also seen to be more focused on China’s protect actions.
“At the same time, efforts at the regional level, particularly through ASEAN needs to be implemented so that the South China Sea and the Southeast Asian region remains peaceful,” he said when replying to Datuk Koh Nai Kwong (BN-Alor Gajah), Oscar Ling Chai Yew (DAP-Sibu) and Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin (PKR-Bukit Katil) on issues pertaining to the South China Sea at the Dewan Rakyat here today.
In handling the South China Sea issue, Reezal Merican said the government viewed national interests as the primary basis in any action taken so that national interests were always safeguarded.
He said the Malaysian maritime zone in the South China Sea was a major shipping route that connected east and west.
“International laws, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS 1982) provides for freedom of navigation rights for all ships, including warships and enforcement ships,” he said .
As such, Reezal said the presence of warships or enforcement ships from any country in the Malaysian maritime zone could not be barred unless they were carrying out activities inconsistent with the aspects of shipping, for example, interfering with the activities of other ships.
Meanwhile on the question of whether the British government surrendered its claims to the Spratly and Amboyna Cay Islands to Malaysia after independence, he said based on records there was no such handing over made by the British government to Malaysia. — Bernama