M`sian defense ministry to propose closing off Ambalat waters

June 8, 2009, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia -- The Defense Ministry will propose to the Malaysian and Indonesian governments to close off the waters around Ambalat near Sabah to patrol boats from both countries until the overlapping claims on the waters have been resolved.

Defense Minister Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said as the issue involved a claim of sovereignty by both governments, the proposal was seen to be appropriate to avoid more controversy.

"If we were to carry out patrols in the area, we will be accused of trespassing and the same accusation will also be made if the Indonesians were to conduct their own patrol.

"So, it`s better that both countries concerned do not carry out patrols until the issue over the overlapping claims has been resolved," he told reporters after opening a seminar, here Sunday.

Ahmad Zahid said this when commenting on Indonesian media reports that Malaysian warships were encroaching into the waters recently.

He said the Malaysian government too had detected that Indonesian warships had encroached into Malaysian waters on 13 occasions but the government was not making it into an issue as it did not want to cause tension.

(ANTARA News/Bernama)

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