Malaysia A Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting The Passage

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MALAYSIA A MARITIME NATION AGENDA

Editors IVAN MARIO ANDREW WAN IZATUL ASMA WAN TALAAT



MALAYSIA A MARITIME NATION AGENDA

Editors IVAN MARIO ANDREW WAN IZATUL ASMA WAN TALAAT


Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

EDITORIAL BOARD Editors Capt Ivan Mario Andrew RMN Director General of RMN SPC Prof. Dr. Wan Izatul Asma Wan Talaat Head of Centre for Ocean Governance, INOS UMT RMN SPC Visiting Fellow Editorial Assistants Cdr Azrul Nezam Asri RMN Lt Cdr Hafizan Tarmidi RMN Lt Cdr Mohd Izuan Ibrahim RMN Published by

ROYAL MALAYSIAN NAVY SEA POWER CENTRE (RMN SPC) Jalan Sultan Yahya Petra 54100 KUALA LUMPUR Email: rmnspc@navy.mil.my Tel: +603 2202 7260 First Published 2021 ISBN 978-967-26093-0-8 Printed by Arif Corporation Sdn. Bhd. 42, Jalan Pengasah 15/13, Seksyen 15, 40200 SHAH ALAM, Selangor Disclaimer The views expressed are the author’s own and not necessarily those of the RMN Sea Power Centre. The Government of Malaysia will not be legally responsible in contract, tort or otherwise, for any statement made in this publication. Copyright of RMN Sea Power Centre (RMN SPC), 2021 © All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means; electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission in writing from the RMN SPC.


Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

FOREWORD The Royal Malaysian Navy through Sea Power Centre organised the National Maritime Conference 2019 (NMC2019) during LIMA’19, on 27 March 2019 in Langkawi with a bold theme “Malaysia a Maritime Nation – Charting the Passage”. The Key Note Address by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad became the turning point streamlining our national focus towards re-establishing Malaysia as a Maritime Nation, and NMC2019 has appropriately unlocked the charted passage towards realising the Maritime Nation Agenda. The Conference opened the way and offered the opportunity to assess our progress and subsequently deliberate on the way forward and strategies to realise our aspiration to be a true Maritime Nation. This book, which carries an identical title, encapsulates the concept of the Maritime Nation Agenda is a growing work process that requires collaborations across all sectors and commitment by all maritime players. Deliberations by practitioners and academics in the respective chapters contained herein affords a rich array of ideas that will contribute and engage the readers to embrace the notion of “Malaysia a Maritime Nation”. Lastly, this book could not have been produced without the commendable effort led by RMN Sea Power Centre and strong support from the Centre for Ocean Governance, Institute of Oceanography and Environment, University Malaysia Terengganu, through their long-standing collaboration. Particular thanks to the writers and the editorial team for producing this book. “National greatness is inextricably associated with the sea, with its commercial use in peace and its control in war.” Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840-1914) Chief of Navy

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CONTENTS PREFACE

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INTRODUCTION Editors

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CHAPTER ONE MALAYSIA A MARITIME NATION: DEFENDING SOVEREIGNTY AND PROSPERITY WITHOUT AFFECTING RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ASEAN NATIONS Captain Ivan Mario Andrew RMN

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CHAPTER TWO MALAYSIA A MARITIME NATION: THE GEOGRAPHICAL DE FACTO First Admiral Najhan Md Said

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CHAPTER THREE ESTABLISHING THE OUTER LIMITS OF THE CONTINENTAL SHELF BEYOND 200 NAUTICAL MILES Mazlan Madon

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CHAPTER FOUR SIGNIFICANCE OF MALAYSIA’S EXTENDED CONTINENTAL SHELF CLAIMS BEYOND 200 NAUTICAL MILES AND RELATED DISPUTE RESOLUTION CASES Jalila Abdul Jalil

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CHAPTER FIVE SECURITY AND IDEATIONAL DIMENSIONS OF MALAYSIA’S MARITIME ASPIRATION: AN APPRAISAL Ruhanas Harun

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CHAPTER SIX MALAYSIAN MARITIME CHALLENGES ACTIVITIES AND RESPONSE Commander Muhamad Zafran Whab RMN

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CHAPTER SEVEN MALAYSIA’S MARITIME SECURITY MANAGEMENT: IN DIRE NEED OF A POLICY GUIDANCE Captain Mohd Yusri Yusoff RMN

IV

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Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

CHAPTER EIGHT WHAT THE THAI CANAL MEANS TO MALAYSIA’S GEOPOLITICS Nazli Aziz

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CHAPTER NINE PROMOTING BLUE ECONOMY IN MALAYSIA Nazery Khalid

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CHAPTER TEN REINFORCING THE MALAYSIAN MARITIME GOVERNANCE THROUGH MARITIME COMMUNITY NETWORK INITIATIVE Nurul Haqimin Mohd Salleh, Mohamad Rosni Othman, Jagan Jeevan and Izyan Munirah Mohd Zaideen

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CHAPTER ELEVEN THE ROLES OF OCEAN GOVERNANCE AND BLUE ECONOMY IN DRIVING THE MARITIME NATION AGENDA Wan Izatul Asma Wan Talaat

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CONCLUSION Editors

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Index

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Biography

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Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

INTRODUCTION Captain Ivan Mario Andrew RMN Wan Izatul Asma Wan Talaat

“Malaysia is blessed with all the attributes of a maritime nation. Our strategic location positions us at the focal point on the map of maritime trade since 90% of trade is via shipping. Our beautiful coastlines and islands bring in millions of tourists to the country. Our bountiful marine natural resources, both living and non-living, provide a livelihood to the fishermen and economic gains to giant fishing and aquaculture industries as well as the oil and gas industry. However, natural resources remain unexplored, like seabed minerals, which could be a promising source of wealth for the country… Malaysia’s dependence on the ocean is essential as it is surrounded by seas and has a greater maritime space, two times bigger than our land areas virtually. This dependency extent to almost all sectors, particularly in food, trade, energy, transportation, tourism and security. With vast sea areas, which offer a diverse range of living and non-living resources, and is strategically located at the centre of important shipping lanes, the surrounding waters carry tremendous environmental, socioeconomic and strategic value to the nation.” Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (7th Malaysian Prime Minister) National Maritime Conference 2019 (NMC2019) 27 March 2019

“Malaysia A Maritime Nation – Charting the Passage” was the theme of NMC2019 organised by the RMN Sea Power Centre during LIMA’19. The theme was considered by Tun Mahathir, who officiated the Conference and delivered the Key Note Address, as appropriate and relevant as “…it offers the opportunity to assess our progress, and subsequently, deliberate on the way forward and strategies to realise our aspiration to be a true maritime nation”. As a maritime nation, the maritime sector is, without doubt, a key contributor to the country’s socio-economy and security well-being. In 1


Introduction

charting her passage as a maritime nation and yielding to her aspiration to become a fully developed nation, the maritime sector’s contribution to Malaysia’s economic growth and dynamism will become more significant. In Chapters One and Two, Malaysia’s maritime domain is given special consideration. In the former, entitled “Malaysia a Maritime Nation: Defending Sovereignty and Prosperity without Affecting Relationship between ASEAN Nations,” it is said that the maritime domain has always been a sphere of influence where conflict and cooperation would be the aptness of the day. Malaysia is located in Southeast Asia (SEA), where ASEAN was incepted with neighbouring nations. With a considerable stake in the maritime domain of Asia, ASEAN must continuously be responsible for being the catalyst for peace, security and stability in the region. Maritime-related security challenges significantly affect and potentially pose a destabilizing effect on ASEAN maritime security and safety. While virtually all ASEAN nations’ ultimate goal is economic prosperity and political stability, territorial disputes and looming flashpoints envisage its strategic environment and national interests. Being at the heart of the SEA region, Malaysia has to counteract these internal and external strategic and environmental adversaries to secure her moral and legal inheritance. Malaysia must, therefore, strategically use all her efforts and pragmatically balance her relations to remain a sovereign and prosperous nation. In Chapter Two on “Malaysia a Maritime Nation: The Geographical De Facto’, Malaysia’s maritime domains’ geographical landscape is discussed in great detail. Malaysia is virtually a maritime nation, with vast maritime spaces that accumulate almost twice her total landmasses size and her heavy dependency on the Blue Economy. Malaysia has yet to embed and reorient the strategic culture inclined towards these God-given maritime endowment advantages as a maritime nation. Separated into two parts, Malaysia comprises Peninsular Malaysia, which is bounded by the Asian continent, and Sabah and Sarawak territorials, which are archipelagos. These unique geographic parameters situate Malaysia at the centre of SEA and the heart of the Indo-Pacific region, linking the continental up to the North with vast surrounding maritime spaces. Notably, this geographical centrality that is the maritime de facto that sustains Malaysia’s role as a bridging linchpin between the two ocean regions has also become the navigating factor of the chapter. Chapter Three on “Establishing the Outer Limits of the Continental Shelf beyond 200 Nautical Miles” deliberates on the notion of “Continental Shelf” as articulated by Article 76 of UNCLOS. The Continental Shelf is the natural prolongation of a coastal State’s land territory that extends to the continental margin’s outer edge. A coastal State has jurisdiction and sovereign rights on the seabed and subsoil of its Continental Shelf, as defined in Article 76, to explore and exploit its natural resources. Geological concepts are adapted in Article 76 to delineate the continental margin’s outer edge and the Continental Shelf’s outer limit beyond a distance of 200 nm measured from 2


Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

the territorial sea baselines. This chapter discusses the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), which UNCLOS mandates to make recommendations to coastal States on the outer limits beyond 200 nm, and Malaysia made submissions on the outer limits of its Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm in 2009 and 2019. In Chapter Four on “Significance of Malaysia’s Extended Continental Shelf Claims Beyond 200 nm and Related Dispute Resolution Cases”, the discussion revolves around Malaysia’s Continental Shelf claims, established based on the 1958 Geneva Convention, bilateral treaties and customary international law and Malaysia upholds and respects the international law process under the Convention. Fast forward, in 2009, Malaysia submitted her extended Continental Shelf claims submission beyond 200 nm known as the Malaysia–Viet Nam Joint Submission in respect of the southern part of South China Sea (SCS) to the CLCS but were nonetheless deferred till today. This shows Malaysia has done her level best in registering her interest and claims in which by doing this, Malaysia has explored the avenue of the Article 76 process and procedures. Some of the cases in this article serve as a good reference in both points and options for Malaysia to consider as an avenue in moving forward with the deferred submission. Chapter Five on “Security and Ideational Dimensions of Malaysia’s Maritime Aspiration: An Appraisal” discusses the idea of Malaysia as a maritime nation, which is considered not new, although a formal recognition of that is a recent one. This chapter assesses the problems of maritime security in Malaysia coupled with the need to embed a strategic maritime culture in the context of building Malaysia as a thriving maritime nation. “To successfully become a maritime nation needs more than just a decree or a statement of intent,” as strongly noted by the author. A maritime nation worthy of its name must reflect the extent to which all the elements of the nation, namely the physical, ideational and security factors, are taken into consideration in conceptualising and consolidating a maritime nation, most especially in the current context of a competitive geostrategic environment. This chapter encapsulates by saying that effectively linking the elements of geography, economic, security and socio-cultural dimensions remains a big challenge for Malaysia in transforming itself into a true maritime nation. Chapter Six dwells on “Malaysian Maritime Challenges Activities and Response.” This chapter examines foreign activities in Malaysia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and their challenges to Malaysian maritime security, specifically the impact on the Territorial Waters. It is not easy to quantify the full extent of the consequences, but numerous foreign activities in the Malaysian waters indirectly affect economic and national security. The recurrence of non-traditional security threats in Malaysia’s EEZ urgently calls for cross-agencies collaboration to protect our sovereignty. Malaysia has strengthened her maritime capabilities to safeguard national interests in the EEZ and the country while maintaining strategic maritime interests throughout the 3


Introduction

region. Policies made or actions taken that jeopardise the economy can be viewed as a betrayal of national interests, necessitating harsh counter-measures. Even from the national defence standpoint, the SCS is becoming increasingly significant due to the abundant natural resources, attracting foreign encroachment in the EEZ, which detrimentally affects our maritime security. Chapter Seven on “Malaysia’s Maritime Security Management: In Dire Need of a Policy Guidance” deliberates on the need for Malaysia to have a comprehensive maritime policy to manage her maritime security properly. Specifically, it highlights three current features in Malaysia’s maritime security environment that contribute to management complexities to argue the need for a comprehensive national maritime policy, guiding all the national maritime components towards the same national objective. The chapter provides a better understanding of why and how Malaysia should better manage her maritime security to safeguard her national interests, with the contention that we are in dire need of integrated maritime security management guided by holistic and strategic policy guidance at the national level. Chapter Eight, entitled “What the Thai Canal Means to Malaysia’s Geopolitics,” analyses the motives of building the Thai Canal by adopting a regional perspective to predict the consequences of the canal to Malaysia’s geopolitics. The main proposition of the canal that may reshape Malaysia’s geopolitics is projected on normative analysis. The arguments made in this chapter are derived from an assumption of what if the Thai Canal project is solely a joint-venture (JV) between Thailand and China and the main actors are China and Thailand instead of other superpowers. There are tendencies amongst the pundits to predict different consequences if the project is funded and built by American or European companies. Since it was first proposed in the 17th century, geopolitical considerations have always influenced the government’s decision to proceed with the project. Chapter Nine on “Promoting Blue Economy in Malaysia” notes that Malaysia is a nation surrounded by seas, prosperous with living and non-living marine resources, and proud maritime history and credentials. Malaysia has excellent maritime infrastructures such as world-class ports (including two container ports listed amongst the world’s 20 busiest), shipyards capable of building international class vessels for export markets, and a shipping company that is a global player in seaborne energy transportation. It also notes that Malaysia has a thriving offshore oil and gas industry and is located along the Straits of Malacca (SoM), one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, and SCS, a strategic seaborne international trade route. This chapter argues in favour of Malaysia to vigorously pursue developing her Blue Economy and harness more significant and sustainable economic returns from her maritime features, resources and infrastructures. It identifies several activities related to the maritime economy which have the potentials for the country’s economic growth and enhance the efficiency and productivity of existing sectors in the maritime industry. The 4


Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

chapter also outlines the blocks that are impeding the promotion and development of Blue Economy in Malaysia. Chapter Ten on “Reinforcing the Malaysian Maritime Governance through Maritime Community Network Initiative” discusses the Malaysia Shipping Master Plan 2017 - 2022, which addresses the need for establishing a proper mechanism to monitor the shipping sector for a better future. Harmonised with the Blue Economy agenda and the UN Sustainment Development Goals (SDGs), it emphasises the need for good planning and management in the port, shipping, and maritime development sectors. It is crucial for shipping governance in Malaysia to balance the needs and use of marine space for economic purposes without neglecting the security and marine environment. The Blue Economy initiatives include various activities such as renewable energy, maritime transport, waste management, tourism, and climate change adaptation. The relevant stakeholders in the Malaysian maritime sector must firmly commit to strengthening maritime governance via cooperation. This chapter highlights the necessity of establishing a maritime community network between academics and the industry as a strong base in capacity building. Chapter Eleven, entitled “The Roles of Ocean Governance and Blue Economy in Driving the Maritime Nation Agenda,” calls for the revival of our past glory. Accepting that overlapping jurisdictions and conflicts between the sectors will never resolve if we manage our seas in fragments, there is an urgent need for an overarching policy encompassing all maritime aspects, from security to safety to the economy and the environment. Efficient ocean governance should be the equilibrium in ensuring our seas are managed wisely. Under the notion of Blue Economy and Maritime Domain Awareness, the management of the seas must be based on balancing the need to continue using the sea for economic gains without sacrificing the need to maintain security, safety and the environment. While all the maritime sectors are significant for the nation’s economic development, exploitation of marine resources must be carried out and managed sustainably. It is therefore incumbent to fully exploit and at the same time safeguard these resources for the well-being of the present and future generations. In balancing the economic development and conservation of our marine environment, it must also be noted that our marine ecosystem and biodiversity are also being threatened by multiple stressors like climate change and global warming, apart from food, water and energy security issues. Therefore, in line with UN SDGs and to play our roles in achieving Agenda 2030, the notion of a Blue Economy, where sustainable economic growth should always go in line with maintaining ocean health, must be fully optimised. Development in maritime-based economic activities is inextricably intertwined with our ability to alleviate maritime security issues. Despite being bestowed with bountiful marine natural resources, enhancing revenue generation may not be conceivable if 5


Introduction

maritime security issues are not promptly and strategically handled. The dynamic maritime geopolitical environment has inadvertently caused threats to the national maritime security unlimited to only traditional threats like maritime boundary disputes. Our maritime security is also being greatly defied by non-traditional threats such as illegal trafficking of both goods and humans, Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported Fishing (IUU fishing), piracy, terrorism, threats to the marine ecosystem like climate change and global warming, as well as vessel-sourced and land-based pollution.

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Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

CHAPTER ONE

MALAYSIA A MARITIME NATION: DEFENDING SOVEREIGNTY AND PROSPERITY WITHOUT AFFECTING RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ASEAN NATIONS Capt Ivan Mario Andrew RMN

“Who so ever commands the sea commands the trade; whoever commands the trade of the world commands the riches of the world, and consequently the world itself.” Sir Walter Raleigh, 1616

Introduction Malaysia, blessed with a stable democratic environment, enjoys good alliances with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and most Eastern and Western powers. Moreover, as a maritime nation with continental roots and located at the centre of Southeast Asia (SEA), Malaysia shoulders a crucial role in linking both the eastern and western regions for shared prosperity. Additionally, the Straits of Malacca (SoM) and Singapore pose security and safety challenges for Malaysia to provide effective maritime infrastructure to ensure security and navigation safety for seafarers plying this restrictive waterway. Nevertheless, like any other country, Malaysia is faced with internal, regional and global conventional issues ranging from economics to security. Historical unresolved maritime border disputes, domestic instability in this region and the will to exercise international rights have placed Malaysia in a time bomb region about to explode and implode (Razak, 2001). 7


Malaysia A Maritime Nation: Defending Sovereignty And Prosperity Without Affecting Relationship Between Asean Nations At the outset of independence until 1989, Malaysia’s fight was mainly on communism. The ‘Confrontation’ in 1963 and the 2013 Lahad Datu incursion are the only two occasions that have tested Malaysia’s moral and legal inheritance as a maritime nation. Cognisant of these evolving attestations, the present strategic environments have provided considerable impetus for Malaysia to revise and fortify its strategies to combat the growing threats in its Land, Sea and Air Domains in securing its moral and legal inheritance. Hence, this chapter discusses on how Malaysia as a maritime nation can defend its sovereignty and prosperity without affecting its relationship with other ASEAN nations.

Strategic Rationale: Influencing Factors Affecting Malaysia Strategic Outlook Malaysia is compounded with a complex security environment where it is faced with threats in piracy, terrorism, big power rivalry in the South China Sea (SCS) and maritime delimitation disputes with other littoral states. However, there is presently no discerning threat or dispute that can seriously draw Malaysia into a significant armed conflict. These complexities nonetheless pose challenges and opportunities, while at the same time inundating Malaysia’s strategic outlook because the increasing nature of international economic exchanges facilitates the linkages between economic globalisation and managing security. For this reason, Malaysia has to pivot its strategic defence on national interest and territorial integrity as its fundamentals to sovereignty and prosperity. With the global and financial centre of gravity shifting to Asia, Malaysia must persevere as a progressive and resilient maritime nation and not relinquish because of the increasingly complex nature of the regional or global security environment.

Defence Strategy As a maritime nation, Malaysia must defend its sovereign rights and national interests from all forms of external threats and security challenges. Aligned with national security and foreign policies, Malaysia’s first Defence White Paper dictates a national defence framework to safeguard its national interests, which stretches from the Andaman Sea, through the SoM, Singapore Straits and the SCS down to the Sulu Sea. Located at a strategically important intersection, bordering the world’s most populous economic powers and the increasingly volatile security environment depicts its nuance for a concrete defence strategy. Big power rivalry in the SCS, maritime disputes with other littoral states and non-traditional threats are but focal points for Malaysia to create a strategic defence rationale to secure her national interests. 8


Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

Maritime Domains Malaysia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is much larger than her total land area and is a vast area to monitor. Moreover, being the linchpin between the vast Pacific and the Indian Oceans, this maritime domain is a functional space for an incredibly diverse set of licit and illicit purposes. Thousands of registered and unregistered vessels traverse the seas bordering Malaysia daily, which is an overwhelming scope of activities for the Malaysian maritime authorities to monitor. Generally, globalisation and the United Nation Convention of Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS) have changed the global economic and security dimension. The global economy is conversely dominated by maritime trade due to its ability to expand exports to the rest of the world economically. This consequently exposes maritime assets to vulnerabilities such as piracy, terrorism and other non-conventional threats, more so in the restricted waters of the SoM and Singapore Straits. As such, maritime trade’s safety and financial security rest upon the safe and undisrupted use of the seas and hold profound security implications and decision-making process to the esoteric defence intellect (Olds et al., 1999). Equally, as a maritime nation, Malaysia is very much dependent on the safe usage of the sea to unearth prosperity from her national resources. The maritime domains, being Malaysia’s first line of defence against any foreign military infringements, aside from being the governing catalyst of its globalisation, has transformed Malaysia’s strategic environment in tandem with the expansion of seaborne trade. Most of these issues cannot be seen as national issues anymore because they surpass boundaries. Consequently, Malaysia’s strategic location and territorial issues have profoundly created a predicament of an unpredictable and uncertain strategic environment that requires a crucial strategic reassessment.

ASEAN From inception to expansion, ASEAN has evolved considerably beyond its primary objectives into a robust, progressive and relatively cohesive association where preference for principles of non-intervention into member nations’ affairs is acknowledged and accepted as soft and flexible diplomacy. Nevertheless, the nuance and intricate subjective nature of strategic instability in the region can often arouse suspicion among the ASEAN countries. However, this ASEAN Way, which embodies the members’ commitments to resolve conflicts without the use of force, can be a double-edged sword. The fundamental principles of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in SEA (TAC 1976), where major powers are also party to it, is the buffer for disputes to spiral out of control or accelerate the need for a military build-up at the moment (Tang, 2014). 9


Malaysia A Maritime Nation: Defending Sovereignty And Prosperity Without Affecting Relationship Between Asean Nations Territorial Claims Malaysia’s territorial integrity as a maritime nation faces challenges in the form of volatile territorial disputes. Predominantly, it is besieged with maritime demarcations and overlapping EEZ territorial spats with its ASEAN neighbours (Figure 1 and Table 1). But more significantly, the dispute in the precinct of the SCS through where the trillionworth of maritime trade passes each year has roiled relations between claimants and between big powers, and poses a significant regional maritime security stability and prosperity concern (Xu, 2014). Presently and probably in years to come, the potential exists for the current rivalries to evolve into open conflict, mainly if vast natural gas and petroleum reserves are discovered in the disputed areas (Tangsubkul, 1982). Routine flight training and exercising freedom of navigation in these troubled waters often conflate several issues that may inadvertently give rise to misinterpretation and misunderstanding.

Based on the Peta Baru 1979, there is unresolved interpretation of border delineation issues in the SoM and the Sulu Sea (Figure 2 & 3). Nonetheless, to avoid fatuous misinterpretation, claimants must respect each other’s right for military aircraft and ships to conduct passage and trainings over areas and waters in line with international law. However, this sort of low-level military pressure technique may result in sporadic naval skirmishes in response to asserting their claims, which raises the stakes for a potential armed conflict and make political compromise over the dispute more problematic.

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Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

Although the International Court of Justice settled the 28-year-old sovereignty dispute over Batu Puteh and its outcrops, the ruling only determined the sovereignty issue and not the demarcation of the maritime boundaries in the Straits. The disputed Batu Puteh or better known by seafarers as Horsburgh Lighthouse, lies north of Malaysia’s Middle Rock by a mere 0.6 nm and is situated just about 7.7 nm from mainland Malaysia (Figure 4). Therefore, fractiously as it may seem, it is inevitable that to assert territorial sovereignty or acts of a sovereign nature over the entire feature and its surroundings will at times inflicts unwelcomed challenges and diplomatic protests.

(Source: National Hydrographic Centre)

Figure 4. Malaysia-Singapore Border (source: Directorate of Mapping Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur) & Aerial view of Horsburgh Lighthouse and Middle Rocks Location. (Source: www.haguejusticeportal.net)

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Malaysia A Maritime Nation: Defending Sovereignty And Prosperity Without Affecting Relationship Between Asean Nations Emphatically, Malaysia rejects the quiescent claim to eastern Sabah because the 1878 agreement was a treaty of cession. Relying on the agreement, and compelled with Sabah’s decision to join the Malaysian Federation in 1963 (Campbell, 2013), only justifies Malaysia’s moral and legal inheritance over Sabah. However, the claims by the defunctSultanate and the 2013 Lahad Datu incursion violated the nation’s sovereignty. This invasion not only demonstrate the complexity of securing the nation’s sovereignty, more importantly, justifies the need to upgrade its current defence strategy and capabilities.

Spratly Islands Issues This archipelago, situated at the Southeast corner of the SCS, comprises of hundredodd widely scattered banks, rocks, atolls, islets, reefs, coral outcrops and artificial islands, which at its closest is more than 650 nm from Taiwan, 400 nm from the Chinese province of Hainan and about 200 nm from Viet Nam. Judiciously, the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia are even closer in proximity to these features. These features have virtually no economic value nor can they support any human habitation. However, it has become politically, economically and strategically important because it profoundly serves as a legal base for six claimant countries in the SCS to project jurisdiction over its waters and resources (Gonzales, 2014). Additionally, most of these features, which are either submerged underwater during high tide or are above water only during low tide, may significantly influence the international tribunals in defining the featuring status of the Spratlys. More so when reefs have been turned into artificial islands to strengthen claims, extend territorial seas to gain fishing and resource rights, and probably use for future military purposes. Based on Article 121(1) of UNCLOS, an island is defined as “A naturally formed area of land, surrounded by water, which is above water at high tide”. These disputes lie smack in the middle of one of the world’s busiest Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC), where world super powers maintain that they are legitimate stakeholders as well when it comes to peace and security in the SCS. Underscored by the lure of rich and sizeable hydrocarbon reserves and capped with rising regional energy concerns, the dispute has significantly created an issue with international geostrategic, economic, political and legal implications (Cordner, 1994).

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Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

F igure 5: Topographic loc ation of the S pratly Is lands Dis pute. (S ourc e: https : //www.bbc .c om/news /world-as ia-pac ific )

Maritime Piracy Piracy flourishes because it is an activity that is low in risk, pays well and rides on the opportunity that arises from weakness in law enforcement and favourable geography conditions. Momentously, piracy is as much land-based as well as maritime-based. This is because its activities emanate from the land and end on land where the stolen goods have to be marketed. Additionally, disorder, inadequate and under-funded security in a chaotic political environment aggravate piracy. Being insignificant in the 1980s, piracy began inexorably increasing in the early 1990s and peaked in 2000, after which it began to decline. It is a transnational threat that is more endemic in waters off Eastern Sabah than the SoM, which needs effective and aggressive counter-measures.

Terrorism Formed initially by unruly jungle actions during the post-independence communist era, terrorism has since metastasised using religion and political ideology as their struggle. Disparagingly, the emerged sporadic local cases are mostly linked to foreign-based international groups or organisations. More recently, kidnapping for 13


Malaysia A Maritime Nation: Defending Sovereignty And Prosperity Without Affecting Relationship Between Asean Nations ransom seems to have become the most common modus operandi within the waters off Sabah creating havoc and bringing bloodshed, leading to unrest and exodus of foreign tourists. Significantly, the 2013 Lahad Datu armed incursion has further demonstrated the vulnerabilities and the importance of maritime surveillance and security along the vast east coast of Sabah (Figure 6). With inexorable developments of terrorist activities abroad, there are bound to be rooms for exploitation by opportunistic groups to influence the benign peaceful environment.

Legal Implication UNCLOS, which came into force in 1994, is an international treaty that established a “legal order” for the world’s seas and oceans by providing inter alia a regulatory framework for addressing sovereignty, territorial sea limits, and the legal status of resources of the seabed beyond the limits of national jurisdiction and a binding procedure for settling disputes between States. Inadvertently, the Convention is beset with generalities, leaving much to debate regarding interpretations and enforcement. The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), which was formed to adjudicate disputes arising out of the interpretations and application of the Convention, nevertheless does not settle all matters because of its inability to influence the involved states’ perceived and fundamental national security interests. Furthermore, even if the verdict is legally 14


Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

binding and has both international and judicial support regarding the adjudication of disputes, it is unenforceable beyond political pressure because there is no body to enforce such rulings (Bonnie, 2015). Therefore, it becomes tantamount for claimants to resolve conflict through proactive and pragmatic diplomacy.

Defence Spending Malaysia’s annual budget mainly emphasises Economic Prosperity, Internal Security (Public Safety) and improving the nation’s living standard of the lower-income group (Jazlan, 2014). Hence, spending on defence is based on affordability and not on the GDP as practised by most nations. Irrefutably, with the little allocation for defence, the Defence Forces have to scale back on modernisation while struggling to spend in tandem with its threats which have characteristically changed from intra-state conflicts to war against non-state actors. This brings to the question of – “whether in the current precarious strategic environment and with no extremely distinct threats, shouldn’t the government’s adhesion to its plans for future defence capabilities be dictated by threat precedence?”

Defending Sovereignty and Prosperity Defence Strategy In cognisance of the present environment, Malaysia’s defence strategy must be able to protect her sovereignty and territorial integrity across its core, extended and forward areas with the vision of “Keeping Malaysia a secure, sovereign and prosperous nation”, as stated by the Defence White Paper (DWP, 2019). Furthermore, being at the heart of the region and intending to be the bridging linchpin between the AsiaPacific and Indian Ocean regions, Malaysia must counteract her internal and external strategic and environmental adversaries to secure its moral and legal inheritance without affecting the relationship with other ASEAN members. Having attained a very high standard of achievement in its foreign policy since becoming a sovereign country in 1957 or having practised non-alignment and maintaining good terms and relations with almost all countries based on equal status is insufficient. Even using the guiding principle of diplomacy as its primary tool for peace rather than force must not blind the country that there isn’t any threat on its sovereignty. Believing in diplomacy as the all-inclusive first line of defence and the best strategy to achieve her mission of peaceful co-existence without conflict is likewise detrimental.

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Malaysia A Maritime Nation: Defending Sovereignty And Prosperity Without Affecting Relationship Between Asean Nations Although the Defence White Paper is regarded as an extension to her national security and foreign policy and underscores deterrence as its key element in military strategy, it however must be credible in deterring a potential enemy when provoked and prevail when attacked. Therefore, the military strategy, si vis pacem, para belum, has to be the ultimate approach for developing Malaysia’s future towards the defence and protection of her sovereignty and prosperity. However benign Malaysia’s strategic environment may look or even if there is no likelihood of any armed engagement, remaining alert and being prepared to defend her sovereignty and territory integrity must be of paramount concern. The surrounding external threats have to be used to gauge the degree of influence Malaysia can depict on her future defence and foreign policies and defence capabilities. Additionally, challenges and uncertainties cannot be discarded and must be looked at with cautious optimism in creating a safe, peaceful and prosperous maritime nation.

ASEAN This association’s positive bilateralism and multilateralism is due to their unique shared fundamental principles, aims and objectives. ASEAN, regarded as one of the most successful examples of regional cooperation, stability and prosperity, does not necessarily negate the likelihood of threats developing nor the advent of conflict in the future, either by accident or design. The understanding that any border or maritime disputes will not entail into warranting a full-scale war because of the adaption of this unique ‘ASEAN Way’ must still be treated with caution. Hence, being prepared to face the worst is paramount although the ultimate aim is still to adopt peaceful means in finding optimal bilateral or multilateral solutions. The ‘benign’ rivalry should involve engagement and reconciliation between ASEAN and the major powers. Regionalism should be the solution for States to work together, instead of conflicting, for concrete results.

Territorial Integrity The moral and legal inheritance of the disputed waters will remain an issue as long as the maritime delimitation claims are not finalised. Prudent management of navigational rights and establishing limitations of Territorial Waters shoud be forthcoming because the slightest miscalculation can trigger unrest in these confined waters and beyond. Essentially, claimants ought to enforce a military defensive position in the vicinity of the disputes areas to strengthen their sovereignty. This defensive antagonism can be the pre-eminent threat to peace in the region as it could potentially escalate into a conflict. Dreadfully, this discordance would encourage external powers’ 16


Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

interference due to current bilateral or multilateral treaty commitments or other ties, thus affecting existing bilateral or multilateral relations as well as the pursuance of peaceful cooperation and partnership in the region. Hence, if peaceful settlement to the maritime territorial limits is foreseeable, joint economic development can be an option. At the same time, the legal status of territorial demarcations must be determined via bilateral or multilateral negotiation. The claim over Sabah still is and will remain a contentious subtle diplomatic issue. However, the lessons learned from this episode should prompt the government to beef up its defence capability along the borders. Furthermore to stabilise the apprehension and maintain its capabilities, it has to enhance preparedness plans, assets deployment, intelligence gathering, and overall security and defence capabilities. Consequently, establishing the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) to safeguard Sabah’s 10 vulnerable coastal districts (Figure 7) has accomplished its strategic requirement as border issues and non-conventional threats have not been prevalent over the past few years. Apart from the usual political interest, Malaysia’s economic interest in the Spratlys should remain as high priority as the surrounding waters and seabed purportedly contain abundant hydrocarbon and fishery resources. Malaysia may mirror the actions of certain claimants who built artificial islands and structures on reefs (some more than 200 nm of one’s mainland) to gain a foothold and increase military capability. Although this capacity and aggressive influence in the SCS is in contrast to UNCLOS, these compounded actions shall convey the message about Malaysia’s rightful expansion and presence within her EEZ.

F igure 7. E as tern S abah S ec urity C ommand

(S ourc e: www.wikipedia.org/wiki/E as tern S abah S ec urity Zone)

17


Malaysia A Maritime Nation: Defending Sovereignty And Prosperity Without Affecting Relationship Between Asean Nations Lesser talk about the “pivot” or “rebalancing” has relatively led to the current stalemate. No party can make the claimants excavate their constructed artificial islands, nor can they be stopped from deploying military assets on the “islands”. Neither can any party stop navies from operating under, on, and over the SCS without risking a conflict. As a result, there will not be any substantive change to the emerging pattern of patrol and protest in the SEA as long as the region maintains this psychological equilibrium or the conception of Omni-directional balance. Nonetheless, the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the SCS has momentarily placed the risk of conflict in abeyance (Bateman & Emmers, 2009). Correspondingly, firmness on resolving these disputes via diplomacy on a bilateral or multilateral basis, or using the arbitration mechanism provided by the UN, will be the most significant steps in resolving the issue. The freedom of navigation around the artificial islands militarily occupied by five claimant nations will open access to Asia’s maritime commons in the SCS. Besides increasing the vulnerabilities of conflicts, these navigations will, in a way, buffer the creeping assertiveness of illegitimate claimants (Dupont, 1998) (Figure 5). There are no easy options to the continuing strife in the SCS. No side desires to provoke a conflict. Yet, none is willing to reduce the tension by mediating in its territorial rights. For that reason, Malaysia has to project her jurisdictions over water and resources in the SCS (Joyner, 1998), and protect her territorial integrity in a non-confrontational manner in response to these worrying assertions (Tang, 2014). Then again, being an ASEAN member and besieged by big power rivalries, working together for a peaceful bilateral solution to this territorial exasperation must not be dismissed.

Legal Implications International laws which prescribe rules governing the relations of nation-states must be the accepted obligation for resolving disputes. Considering that 168 countries have accepted UNCLOS as the governing document on the law of the sea, all signatories must accept this basis for addressing disputes, sovereignty and territorial sea limits. However trivial the SCS territorial disputes are or how profoundly threatened by the growing overlapping claims in the SCS, interpretations of EEZ under UNCLOS must be inclusive and not make for a volatile environment that can severely dent relationship. Since all claimants are signatories, dwindling trust and commitment to observe UNCLOS must be countered. Likewise, UN mechanisms for arbitration must be considered to reduce the difficulty of resolving disputes (Beckman, 2013). The DOC on the SCS, which commits nations to settle the dispute over the Spratlys peacefully, must also spell out and commit claimants to the do’s and don’ts in the use of military forces in their claims (NDU, 1999). Malaysia must enforce her claims based on geographic proximity, specifically within provisions in its map Peta Baru 1979, and by adhering to international law, primarily the UNCLOS and the 2002 DOC of Parties in the SCS, to avoid aggravating the current tensions. 18


Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

Maritime Piracy Dealing with maritime piracy involves coordinated and orchestrated efforts domestically, regionally and internationally. In addressing piracy, the places most vulnerable to attacks, how the pirates identify and intercept their targets, and the focus of their operations whether for stealing cash, valuables or the entire cargo, or for kidnapping and hijacking the ship and crews for ransom, are the risks difficult to assess but must be considered. Congested waters in the waterways and maze of restricted waters of islands are safe havens for pirates to hide and spring surprise attacks and operate uninterrupted. However, with aggressive suppression initiatives by regional and international maritime security forces, this menace can be reduced drastically. Alas, so long as there exist conducive environment and sea-based targets remain vulnerable, piracy will thrive. New methods to combat piracy are needed and the root causes have to be addressed. Yet, the principle of any successful strategy will always be the same, which is international cooperation and unity of purpose.

Terrorism The fight against terrorism is an ongoing concern worldwide. Democratic countries must not sacrifice peace and harmony to these unscrupulous groups or terrorists who are disguising to fight for public or religious cause. Terrorist component-linked vulnerabilities will significantly affect and pose potentials for destabilising security and safety, and deter peace’s constructive and beneficial aspects (Farouk, 2016). Collectively, terrorism must be looked upon in its most worthless nature, for it is a form of psychological tyranny which brings agonising suffering to the nation’s moral and legal inheritance of peace and harmony. Therefore, there is undeniably the need to step up security and bolster defence systems to shield the borders against these terrorists while being cautious about safeguarding peaceful relations with origin countries of the terrorists (Campbell, 2013). Terrorism should also be an indicator to dictate defence requirements.

Defence Spending Through the Defence White Paper, Malaysia’s deterrence position amplifies “shifting from a threat focus to the defence of national interest”. This reflects the significance of protecting offshore resources in the EEZ (DWP, 2019). At the moment, Malaysia’s benign environment and comfortable economic growth must not limit her focus on developing the socio-economic sector per se (Chong, 2014), because for Malaysia 19


Malaysia A Maritime Nation: Defending Sovereignty And Prosperity Without Affecting Relationship Between Asean Nations to flourish economically, its territorial claims must be defended and strengthened. Factors influencing the existing border and territorial claims, as well as possible incursion, should also remind the government that enhancing defence capability is equally essential to secure territorial integrity. Considering the vast maritime area to cover with a diminutive force compared to major powers, there must be a considerable defence build-up to be a deterrent factor. SEA’s precautionary strategic environment and maritime-based threats should also be the precedence for defence spending to secure its maritime nation status. In the event of the SCS’s littoral States resorting to use forces to settle territorial dispute, Malaysia must accordingly be equipped and well-armed. Obviously, Malaysia must thus revise to increase defence allocation to enhance her defence capabilities procurement.

Confidence Building Measures (CBM) EEZ enforcement dimension and the pivotal role in securing Malaysia’s sovereignty as a maritime nation are paramount and fundamental to its existence. Hence, bilateral and multilateral exercises and Defence Agreements serve as good platforms to enhance CBM. Efforts at the regional level, especially under ASEAN, should also continue so that the SCS and SEA would remain peaceful. Exercising CBM efforts challenges assertive maritime claims, prevents rivalries and hegemonies, promotes stability, encourages prosperity, ensures its access to the region, and most importantly, balances the role of nations (NDU, 1999).

Major–Power Influence For centuries, SEA countries have lived amidst major-power competition at the Pacific Ocean’s strategic crossroads with the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf. Military development and innocent passage into other claimant’s Territorial Waters to reaffirm one’s interest and keeping alive one’s claims of sovereignty in the area must be accepted optimistically (NST, 2014). Concerns about major power presence in the SCS should neither be viewed as an extension and corroboration of military alliances nor as adding factors of instability to international security (Scobell & Wortzel, 2000). The emergence of regional powers could buoyantly challenge the region’s state ‘bullies’ and secure the security and economy in various ways (Ching, 2012). Major powers inevitably should become involved in limited operations to keep the SLOC and air lanes of communication (ALOC) open. If a conflict occurs, their presence in the region, enlargement of military blocs and strengthening of military alliances in the Asia Pacific region will hopefully stabilise the continuum of long-standing issues 20


Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

(Defencelink, 1998). However, claimants should not lose confidence in abiding by international law and refute claims of any possible military agenda in the strategic waterways of the SEA.

Conclusion Malaysia and virtually all the other ASEAN nations’ ultimate goals are economic prosperity and political stability. Likewise, cooperative economic development and modernisation contribute to greater stability and lay the foundation for more peaceful relations. Vice versa, territorial disputes and looming crises cultivate strategic defensive measures in securing and safeguarding individual nation’s sovereignty and national interests. The current situation in the SEA is somewhat stable, but we must view it from a guarded perspective relative to the long term. Piracy is an intricate multi-dimensional problem causing a course of concern to the safety and security of the littoral states of the SoM and Singapore Strait, SCS and the Sulu Sea but more importantly, to seafarers plying these waters. Despite the overall decline in reported incidents, the risk to seafarers remains. Eliminating or curbing piracy can prove extremely difficult but has to be done collectively and cooperatively by all littoral states. Every nation today, wittingly or otherwise, is at risk of being a victim of terror-motivated attacks ever since the crosshairs of extremism metastasised and strengthened its footing across the world. Although Malaysia has not been struck with any aggression as yet, the rapid spread of this extremist ideology across the globe succinctly sums up the nature of the threat. Tensions over the Spratlys are increasingly threatening regional stability, as the balance of power in the SEA is shifting between the major powers. A conflict of any scale in the SCS would directly affect all ASEAN states from benefiting from the SCS’s potential riches, and threaten the region’s vital SLOC and ALOC. The growing controversial demarcation assertiveness, extensive land reclamation and transforming it into artificial islands will further complicate an already complex territorial dispute. Nevertheless, more unites SEA nations through stable and cooperative relations for regional peace, security and prosperity. Furthermore, there is a welcome realisation that continued disagreement and misunderstanding over these issues are pointless. Claimants know that solutions exist or can be found as long as they are prepared to work together to settle their differences. ‘Bullies’ must realise that its assertive or aggressive foreign policy has created an environment in which would welcome major power’s presence to balance increasing military might. Stabilising the Spratlys situation is vital for regional security 21


Malaysia A Maritime Nation: Defending Sovereignty And Prosperity Without Affecting Relationship Between Asean Nations and stability. Conclusively, there is too strong a potential for events to spiral beyond the point of manageability. Therefore, positive engagement by all players is essential to ensure long-term regional stability. It requires light treading by immediate actors within the region and scrutinising major powers from within and beyond. Multilaterally, though mechanisms and procedures are already inexistent to promote operational safety among regional armed forces, a new arrangement is necessary. However, these ever-increasing complex and evolving challenges faced by Malaysia bring about a growing awareness that cooperative mechanisms for managing conflicts and responding to unconventional threats must be alleviated by existing arrangements. There are still crucial elements of defence cooperation that can assist in achieving strong bonds in managing conflict and unconventional threats within its sea and land territory. Ensuring this individually as a nation-state or cooperating with other ASEAN member states remains the challenge. Lastly, Malaysia will need to capitalise all her efforts strategically and balance her relations pragmatically to resolve disputes. Proper jurisdiction over the waters and seabed, and its legality within the EEZ to suit its evolving national interests must be the ultimate aim to protect her sovereignty and prosperity without affecting the relationship between the ASEAN nations.

References Razak, M.N.A, (2001). Defending Malaysia – Facing the 21st Century, London, Asean Academic Press Ltd. Bateman, S & Emmers, R. (ed) (2009). Security and International Politics in the SCS, London Routledge. Beckman, R. (2013). “The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Maritime Disputes in the SCS.” American Journal of International Law 107, no. 1 (2013): 142-63. Blair, D. & Huntsman, J. (2015). Commentary: A Strategy for SCS. http://www. defensenews.com/story/defense/commentary/2015/07/13/commentary-strategysouth-china-sea/30084573. Bonnie, S. G. (2015). Armed Clash in the SCS. Contingency Planning Memorandum No.14, Center for Strategic and International Studies. www.cfr.org (council on foreign relations press (retrived on 2 Jan 16 at 1034H). Campbell, Charlie (2013). “Sabah standoff: Diplomatic Drama after Filipino Militants Storm Malaysia”. TIME. Retrieve 6 Jan 16. http://world.time.com/2013/02/26/sabahstandoff-diplomatic-drama-after-sulu-militants-storm-malaysia/. Ching, F. (2012). China Pushing Neighbours into Arms of US, New Strait Times dated 2 Feb 12, Pg 24. Chong, P.K. (2014). Malaysia budget deficit shrinks more than government target. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-13/malaysia-s-budget-deficit-shrinksmore-than-government-targeted.html. 22


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Cordner, L. G. (1994) “The Spratly Islands Dispute and the Law of the Sea.” Ocean Development & International Law 25, (1) : 61-74. Defenselink (1998). Defenselink Publications-East Asia-Pacific Region Security Strategy 1998, p. 18. www.defenselink.mi/pubs/easr98. Dupont, A. (1998). The Environment and Security in Pacific Asia, Pg 31, Oxford; Oxford University Press. DWP, (2019). Defence White Paper 2019 - Kuala Lumpur, Ministry of Defence. Dzurek, D. J. (1995) China Occupies Mischief Reef in Latest Spratly Gambit. Boundary and Security Bulletin. April 1995. pp. 65-71. Faudzi, M. A (2014). Malaysian Armed Forces Capability Development. Lecture from MAF HQ, delivered on 18 Feb 14 at the MEBM CMID module, NDUM Kuala Lumpur (PowerPoint Slides). Farouk, O.S.A. (2016). Jihad of the heart. NST 5 April 2016, pg 17. Gonzales, Robin (2014). The Spratly Islands Dispute: International Law, Conflicting Claims, and Altrnative Frameworks for Dispute Resolution. Las Vegas, University of Nevada. https://digitalscholarship.unlv.edu/award Jazlan, M. (2014). Malaysian Defence Policy and Defence Budgeting. Notes prepared for MEBM 2014, CMID module, NDUM Kuala Lumpur. Joyner, C. (1998). “The Spratly Islands Dispute: Rethinking the Interplay of Law, Diplomacy, and Geo-politics In the SCS.” The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law 13, no. 2 (1998): 193-236. Accessed August 27, 2013. Academic Search Premier. Kausikan, B. (2017). Dodging and Hedging in Southeast Ais. www.the-americaninterest.com/2017/01/12/dodging-and-hedging-in-southeast-asia/ Levitt, M., & Jacobson, M. (2008). Terrorist Threat and U.S. Response: A Changing Landscape. Washinton DC, Washington Institute for Near East Policy. NDP. (2010). Malaysia National Defence Policy. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ world/malaysia/policy.htm. NDU. (1999). Report on the NDU 1999 Pacific Symposium, Pg.10 www.ndu.edu/inss/ symposim/pacific99/summary/html. Noor, E. (2015). ‘Three takeaways from two issues’. New Straits Times dated 12 Jan 15, Pg 16. NST. (2014). US to Protect ASEAN Maritime Assets. New Straits Times dated 12 Feb 2014, Pg 11. NST, (2015). ‘China’s action on Spratlys raises tension’. New Straits Times dated 12 Jan 15, Pg 12. Olds, K., Dicken, P., Kely, P. F., Kong, L. & Yeung, H., W-C (1999). Globalization and the Asia-Pacific: Contested Territories. London & New York, Ruoutledge. Scobell, A., & Wortzel L. M. The Asia-Pacific in the U.S. National Security Calculus for a New Millenium. U.S Army War College, 2000. Surakiart, S., (2015). Eight Challenges ASEAN Must Overcome. Available at www. todayonline.com/world/asia/eight-challenges-asean-must-overcome. TAC, (1976). Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia; Bali, Indonesia on 24 Feb 76 (http://aseansec.org/1217.htm. 23


Malaysia A Maritime Nation: Defending Sovereignty And Prosperity Without Affecting Relationship Between Asean Nations Tang (2014). Malaysia’s Strategic Outlook and Developments in its Defence Policy, Notes prepared for MEBM 2014 CMID Module, NDUM Kuala Lumpur. Tang, S.M. (2014). A Test of Friendship. New Straits Times Malaysia, 18 Feb 14 Pg 14. Tangsubkul, P. (1982). ASEAN and the Law of the Sea. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. UNCLOSS III, (1982). http://www.un.org/depts/los/convention_agreements/texts/ unclos/unclos_e.pdf. Xu, B. (2014). SCS Tensions. http://www.cfr.org/china/south-china-sea-tensions/ Updated: May 14, 2014 Retrieved on 23 Dec 15 at 1234H.

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CHAPTER TWO

MALAYSIA A MARITIME NATION: THE GEOGRAPHICAL DE FACTO First Admiral Najhan Md Said

Introduction Located strategically at the centre of Southeast Asia (SEA), Malaysia is a ‘maritime nation with continental roots’ (Ministry of Defence, 2020). The ‘maritime nation’ identity derives from the adjacent South China Sea (SCS), Straits of Malacca (SoM), as well as the Sulu and Celebes Seas. Whereas, her ‘continental identity’ derives from her land connectivity to mainland SEA wherein Peninsular Malaysia sits on the southernmost landmass of the Eurasia supercontinent (Lai & Kuik, 2020). The maritime domain also portrays national and regional identities connecting the nation’s two separated landmasses, namely Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo (Evers, Embong & Ramli, 2019). These unique geographic parameters situate Malaysia at the centre of SEA and at ‘the heart’ of the Indo-Pacific region, linking the continental up to the North with vast surrounding maritime space. Undeniably, this geographical centrality is the maritime de facto that sustains Malaysia’s role as a ‘bridging linchpin’ between the two ocean regions (Ministry of Defence, 2020). Functioning as the main artery of the nation’s economy, the maritime domain is thus critical for Malaysia’s territorial integrity, sovereign rights and developmental stakes. Moreover, the burgeoning ‘wealth’ of this maritime domain is evident when one combines the strategic importance of both the SCS and the SoM as among the world’s busiest sea lanes of communication (SLOC), with seaborne trade worth trillions of dollars passing through the sea lanes annually (Hayton, 2014; Rahman & Tsamenyi, 2010). Unsurprisingly, these geo-economics factors have attracted major powers to rope in Malaysia as their strategic partners. Indeed, both China’s Maritime Belt and Road Initiative and the United States led Indo-Pacific regional cooperation recognise Malaysia as an important strategic partner (Pantucci & Lain, 2017). 25


Malaysia A Maritime Nation: The Geographical De Facto

This chapter provides an overview of the geographical factors that underline Malaysia’s status as a maritime nation and is divided into four sections. The first section explains the geographical aspects of Malaysia’s maritime boundaries based on the parameters of Peta Malaysia Baru 1979. The second section discusses the issue of overlapping maritime boundaries claims with neighbouring States such as Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei, Viet Nam, the Philippines as well as the People’s Republic of China1. The third section highlights the geo-economic importance of the Territorial Waters, Continental Shelf and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Malaysia. Finally, the chapter concludes by highlighting three critical recommendations for implementing a comprehensive maritime nation strategy.

The 1979 Malaysia New Map (Peta Malaysia Baru 1979) The Genesis Malaysia’s official national map, the Peta Baru Malaysia 1979 (herein ‘Peta 1979’) was promulgated by the Ministry of Land Development and Regional Development on 21 December 1979, in accordance with domestic obligations through Warta Kerajaan No. 5745. Peta 1979, which illustrates Malaysia’s total land and water areas comprise of two sheets: Sheet 1 (Peninsular Malaysia); and Sheet 2 (Sabah & Sarawak). Notably, both sheets only promulgated two maritime regimes, namely the Territorial Waters area and the Continental Shelf of Malaysia (under the Geneva Convention on the Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone 1958 and Provisions of the Geneva Convention on the Continental Shelf 1958 - herein ‘Geneva Convention 1958’). Principally, the boundary lines shown on both sheets were derived from bilateral or trilateral treaties and agreements between Malaysia and the relevant neighbouring states. In the absence of official accords, the bridging segments of the boundaries line were constructed unilaterally by adopting the equidistance principles based on the relevant provisions of the Geneva Convention 1958. On this basis, Malaysia takes the position that Peta 1979 is her legitimate international maritime zones or Malaysian Maritime Zone (Zon Maritim Malaysia).

The inclusion of the People’s Republic of China (China) is to deliberate the outset of the historical claim and never intended to recognise China as a claimant states in the South China Sea. 1

26


Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

Figure 1: Sheet 1 of Peta Baru Malaysia 1979 (Source: JUPEM)

Figure 2: Sheet 2 of Peta Baru Malaysia 1979 (Source: JUPEM)

27


Malaysia A Maritime Nation: The Geographical De Facto

The Maritime Features Ownership Within the Dangerous Ground area in the southern part of the SCS, Peta 1979 clearly marked Malaysia’s ownership over seven maritime features namely Pulau LayangLayang, Terumbu Mantanani, Terumbu Ubi, Terumbu Siput, Terumbu Peninjau, Terumbu Laksamana and Terumbu Laya. With the exception of Terumbu Laksamana and Terumbu Laya, the other five features have been occupied and governed by the Federal Government’s administration since 1983. This clearly demonstrates Malaysia’s effective control of the features and sovereignty over her adjacent waters’ spaces. However, this unilateral move by Malaysia in the early 1980s provided a catalyst for neighbouring States to react and counter Malaysia’s claims through their occupation of several nearby maritime features.

The ‘Tanah Air’ Outlook When posturing a country’s geographical shape, many, if not all, describe the country’s shape based on the structure of the landmass. Therefore, a simple survey was conducted by asking a group of geomatic science university students to draw a Malaysia map. Unsurprisingly, all the illustrations depicted the map by the shape of Peninsular Malaysia in the west, with Sabah and Sarawak territories located in the east. This outcome is anticipated since the public understanding of the country had for a long time been based on a conception of land-based territories, which ignores the maritime spaces surrounding the landmasses. Interestingly, in the native language of Bahasa Melayu, the word ‘country’ is translated as ‘tanah air’, meaning land (tanah) and water (air). This ‘tanah air’ term originating from the Malacca Sultanate era accurately conveys the importance of maritime territories for the livelihood of the early rulers and inhabitants of the Malay land. For the Malays, who were historically known as the ‘Great Seafarers’, the ocean was an integral part of daily life (Hanizah Idris & Ruhanas Harun, 2004). Thus, historically, Malaysia’s development and evolution as a country found its roots precisely on the significance of the maritime space surrounding the lands. The ancient governments of the Srivijaya Kingdom and the Malacca Sultanate for example, was booming with economic activity through sea trade and the wealth of its ocean resources during their golden era. Hence, the ‘tanah air’ concept has always been inherent to the inhabitants’ claims of territorial sovereignty, and Malaysia’s geographical outlook must necessarily include both the landmasses and their maritime space surrounding. Figure 3 illustrates Malaysia’s ‘tanah air’ outlook map combining the landmasses (329,758 km2) and maritime spaces (569,845 km2).

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Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

Figure 3: Malaysia’s land and maritime spaces combined (‘Tanah Air’) outlook

The Maritime Boundary Challenges Mare Clausum is a common term to many scholars in the field of maritime law. Indeed, the limits of today’s Territorial Sea under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS) is derived from the concept of Mare Clausum or ‘Close Seas’ theory. Historically, the concept arose as a result of the Santa Catarina incident when the Portuguese carrack was captured by the Dutch on 25 February 1603 (Ittersum, 2006). Surprisingly, not many Malaysians are aware that the Santa Catarina was captured within Malaysia’s maritime space off the Southeast Johor coast. This incident led to the evolution of international law in maritime domains, particularly on territorial sovereignty of ‘Close Seas’ (Mare Clausum) against maritime rights in ‘Open Sea’ (Mare Liberum) (Hayton, 2014; Ittersum, 2006). The historical facts of the Santa Catarina case illustrate the complexity of delineating the geographical structures of a maritime region, which is embedded with economic value for international trade and fractured by competing interests of other seafaring countries. In today’s context, the complexity of geographical features within maritime zones has created challenging maritime territorial disputes among neighbouring countries. Thus, it is not difficult to comprehend why the promulgation of Peta 1979 had triggered diplomatic protests from neighbouring States with strategic interests over the same maritime domain. Although Peta 1979 was drawn in accordance with bilateral treaties and international law based on the 1958 Geneva Convention, the semi-enclosed geographical condition of the region and the geo-economic values attached to it had generated objections and protests from several neighbouring States.

29


Malaysia A Maritime Nation: The Geographical De Facto

Indonesia Indonesia was the first country to raise objections against Peta 1979 on 8 February 1980. The main trigger of Indonesia’s protest was related to the maritime boundary around the Celebes Sea, where Indonesia interprets the boundary line to lie on 4°10′ North latitude and therefore rejected Malaysia’s inclusion of Ligitan and Sipadan Island to be within Malaysia’s jurisdiction (both islands were adopted as Malaysia’s baseline). Although Indonesia acknowledges the boundary lines negotiated and agreed upon between Malaysia and Indonesia from 1969 to 1976, the archipelagos State had however introduced a new dual-regime concept, comprising of the Continental Shelf regime and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Consequently, the Malaysian-Indonesian ‘adik-abang’ relationship had to go through a lengthy process of maritime delimitation negotiation, culminating in the 2002 decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Pulau Ligitan and Pulau Sipadan Dispute Resolution Case, in Malaysia’s favour. Indonesia continues to update its Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia (NKRI) map, which illustrates its maritime boundaries with neighbouring States. Figure 4 is the latest version of the NKRI map published in 2017.

Figure 4: NKRI map published in 2017 (Source: BIG)

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Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

Singapore Singapore’s protest over Malaysia’s Peta 1979 was made on 14 February 1980. The protest was directed primarily against Malaysia’s construction of a maritime boundary line which showed Batu Puteh (Pedra Branca) to be within Malaysia’s territorial sovereignty. Today, the ‘ownership’ of Batu Puteh, Batuan Tengah and Tubir Selatan have been resolved with both sides agreeing to respect the ICJ decision of 23 May 2008. However, although the question of sovereignty over these features have been resolved, maritime boundaries delimitation is yet to be agreed upon by both countries, and negotiations are still ongoing in the disputed maritime areas. From a technical perspective, the delimitation process is no less challenging as it involves Indonesia’s maritime space in the southern parts. Nevertheless, Malaysia and Singapore can undoubtedly achieve an amicable solution since both sides have remarkable experiences and had successfully finalised their maritime boundaries in the Straits of Johor. Through the 1995 Agreement, the boundary line comprises 72 boundary points (47 points on the east and 25 points on the west of the Johor Causeway), covering 89.02 kilometers. Figure 5 shows the boundary line in the Straits of Johor.

Figure 5: The boundaries line in the Straits of Johor (Source: NHC)

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Malaysia A Maritime Nation: The Geographical De Facto

Thailand Thailand issued a Protest Note over Malaysia’s promulgation of Peta 1979 on 19 February 1980. Ironically, the maritime boundary between Malaysia and Thailand had already been determined through agreement, treaties and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) involving 332.17 km2 even before Peta 1979 was published. Furthermore, in 1979 Malaysia and Thailand had already signed an MoU which established a MalaysiaThailand Joint Development Area (MTJDA) within an area of 7,236 km2 based on the principle of equal distance (equidistance) between Malaysia and Thailand. The joint venture cooperation is valid for 50 years and will expire in 2029. Currently, both sides have started discussions on future arrangements of the MTJDA. Figure 6 illustrates the boundary lines between Malaysia - Thailand and the MTJDA Area.

Figure 6: The boundary line between Malaysia - Thailand and the MTJDA Area (Source: NHC)

Viet Nam Viet Nam’s concerns over Peta 1979 was made known through its Protest Note on 10 March 1980. Both countries conducted open discussions on the discrepancies, which resulted in a temporary solution through two MoUs. Due to the complex semienclosed geographical condition, in 1992, both countries agreed on a cooperation mechanism known as the Malaysia-Viet Nam Joint Cooperation Area (MVJCA). 32


Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

Cooperation between both countries continues to be developed according to Article 123 of UNCLOS, which encourages cooperation among States bordering an enclosed or semi-enclosed sea. The same cooperation concept had also facilitated Malaysia and Viet Nam in the Joint Submission for delineation of an extended limit of the Continental Shelf to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) in 2009. Subsequently, in 2018, Malaysia and Viet Nam resumed negotiations on maritime border restrictions through a technical committee set up to discuss issues of overlapping claims in the SCS and the Gulf of Thailand. Figure 7 illustrates the Joint Submission area.

am

tN

e Vi

0 20

nm sia ay

0 20

nm

al

M

Figure 7: Malaysia-Viet Nam Joint Submission Defined Area (Source: CLCS)

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Malaysia A Maritime Nation: The Geographical De Facto

The Philippines The Philippines’ protest made on 14 March 1980 was mainly over maritime boundary line generated from the Sabah coast, which invariably included the Philippines’ baseless claim of sovereignty over Sabah in North Borneo. The same argument was brought up again on 13 March 2001 when the Philippines requested permission to intervene in the Pulau Ligitan and Pulau Sipadan ICJ case. In its application for intervention, the Philippines indicated that its objection was based on its domestic “constitution and legislation dominion and sovereignty over North Borneo”. Nonetheless, Philippines arguments were rejected by the Court where Judge Ad-hoc Thomas Franck, in a Separate Opinion, which stated that: “Modern international law does not recognise the survival of a right of sovereignty based solely on historic title: not, in any event, after an exercise of self-determination conducted in accordance with the requisites of international law, the bona tides of which has received international recognition by the political organs of the United Nations. Against this, historic claims and feudal pre-colonial titles are mere relics of another international legal era, one that ended with the setting of the sun on the age of colonial imperium”. In light of the above judgement, the Philippines’ claim over Sabah clearly has no basis under international law. Nevertheless, the Philippines has consistently continued its unjustifiable agenda in various situations, including through its protest (Note Verbale) over the Define Area in the 2009 Malaysia-Viet Nam Joint Submission of extended Continental Shelf to the CLCS; and in 2015 when it classified Sabah as a ‘Disputed Territory’ in a Memorial submitted to the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) during its Arbitral Proceedings on the SCS Issue. Malaysia takes the position that the Philippines’ claims over Sabah is purely a political move, without any legitimate basis in international law of the sea. Therefore, there has not been any negotiation between Malaysia and the Philippines in the overlapping claim areas in the SCS.

Brunei Brunei was the last country to protest against Malaysia’s Peta 1979 on 14 August 1980. The objection was mainly based on the rationale of the Order in Council (OIC) issued by the British in 1958. Nevertheless, the maritime border between Malaysia and Brunei was subsequently finalised through the Exchange of Letters in 2009. However, publication and gazetting of maritime border maps between Malaysia and Brunei 34


Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

as contained in the Exchange of Letters have yet to materialise. Figure 8 shows the boundaries line agreed between Malaysia and Brunei.

Figure 8: Malaysia and Brunei boundary agreement from the Exchange of Letters (Source: NHC)

The People’s Republic of China China has had a long-standing interest in the SCS, which goes back to as early as the Western Han Dynasty when ancient Chinese seafarers first discovered some of the region’s land features in the SCS. However, all of China’s claims over the SCS have been argued based on ‘historical rights’ and essentially devoid of any official ‘legalbased’ evidence. China had never actually objected to Malaysia’s maritime zones as depicted in Peta 1979, and it was only in 1999 that the Chinese government started to protest Malaysia’s occupation of Terumbu Siput and Terumbu Peninjau (Ho & Bateman, 2013). Subsequently, China’s claim over almost the entire SCS features and its adjacent 35


Malaysia A Maritime Nation: The Geographical De Facto

waters surfaced through the controversial ‘nine-dash line’ official map issued by China to the CLCS on 14 May 2009. The map was attached with a Note Verbale in response to the Joint Submission by Malaysia and Viet Nam to the CLCS. China’s officials have consistently referred to the SCS as a ‘core interest’ - the same term used for Taiwan, Xinjiang and Tibet (Mastro, 2021). Hypothetically, the projection of China’s aggressiveness in the SCS might have been different if the CLCS had decided not to defer the Joint Submission by Malaysia and Viet Nam and rejected China’s ‘nine-dash line’ map in 2009. Although the CLCS action was based merely on Article 5 (a) of Annex I to the CLCS Rules of Procedure, China had ingeniously taken the opportunity to ‘bend the rule’ of maritime boundary delimitation as provided under UNCLOS and continues to claim an overwhelming area of sovereignty in the SCS. Figure 9 is the official map portraying the ‘nine-dash line’ claim in the SCS.

Figure 9: China’s controversial ‘nine-dash line’ claim (Source: CLCS)

36


Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

Maritime Geographical De Facto According to Hans Morgenthau (1973), geography is a critical and the most stable element of national power since time immemorial. Notably, the geographical landscape of Malaysia is uniquely divided into two parts: comprising of Peninsular Malaysia (West Malaysia), which is bounded by the Asian continent, and Sabah and Sarawak (East Malaysia), which are on the Borneo island. Only Malaysia has this uniqueness in the SEA region, as it is partly joined to the Asian continent while being somewhat separated from it and forming part of the Malay Archipelago. Based on Peta 1979, the total area of Malaysia’s maritime space is 569,845 km², inclusive of Territorial Water and Continental Shelf (excluding the Define Area (94,132 km²) and Remaining Portion (63,035 km²) of the Extended Continental Shelf. The country’s largest maritime area is located within the SCS with a total area of 441,630 km², whereby 134,558 km² is extended from the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, and 307,072 km² is derived from the west coast of Sabah and Sarawak. Malaysia’s second-largest maritime area is in the SoM, which comprise an area of 74,080 km², and its third-largest area is located at the Sulu-Celebes Seas, which encompass 54,135 km². All these three maritime space contains its own unique strategic characteristics, resources and challenges. Undeniably, the nation’s ‘wealth’ lies in these three major maritime domains surrounding Malaysia; the SCS, which is the strategic area for superpower rivalry; the SoM, which serves as a crossroads between the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and the Sulu-Celebes Sea which is rich in mineral resources and home to the world’s richest source of tropical marine biodiversity (Hanizah Idris & Ruhanas Harun, 2004). Figure 10 illustrates the percentages of the total area of Malaysia’s maritime domains.

Figure 10: Malaysia’s maritime domain geographical facts (Source: NHC)

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Malaysia A Maritime Nation: The Geographical De Facto

Malaysia has discovered more than 4,000 offshore geographic entities (islands, rocks/ reefs, sandbanks, ridges and others), each having its own distinct characteristics. Thus far, there are 1,508 islands and an estimated 2,536 other offshore features such as rocks/reefs, sandbanks, and ridges that have been registered within the Malaysian maritime spaces (NHC, 2019). Sabah has the most islands, accounting for a quarter of Malaysia’s total island population. Figure 11 provides the factual details of Malaysia’s geographic entities and islands (NHC, 2019)

Figure 11: List of Geographic Entities and Islands (Source: NHC)

Maritime Domain Geo-economic Facts Straits of Malacca The SoM’s total area is 74,080 km2, and with a length of 790.8 km, it is one of the longest straits in the world. It elongates in a funnel-shaped from North to South, with its maximum width of 300 km located between Kuala Perlis and Ujung Tamiang (Sumatera). In comparison, the shortest breadth of 33.4 km is located between Tanjung Tuan and Pulau Rupat, Riau (Tanjung Rhu). West Malaysia and the southernmost part of Thailand are to the east of the SoM, while Sumatra of Indonesia borders west of the Straits. The strait connects the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean via both the Andaman Sea and the SCS. The strait’s average depth is approximately between 50 to 70 metres, with an overall depth that rarely exceeds 130 metres. The depths gradually increase north-westerly 38


Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

and reaches about a 600 metres depth as it merges into the Andaman Basin. There are numerous islets, some with fringing reef and sand ridges, which pose hindrance to the passage’s southern entrance. In terms of its economic importance and strategic location, the SoM is one of the most crucial canal shipping routes between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, connecting three countries with the most significant number of populations. Indeed, the route is essential for transporting oil and commodities across continents with various shipping, fishing and aquaculture activities. According to Qu & Meng (2012), in the event of a blockade of the SoM, economic loss to the global economy would amount to an estimated USD10 million daily. Besides the importance of the strait for international shipping waterways, a vast amount of sand reserve is found in the natural sandbanks of the SoM. Sand reserve categorised as exploitable is estimated to amount to 17.1 billion m3. Apart from sand reserves, the SoM is also deposited with heavy minerals. Furthermore, according to Kudrass & Schlüter (1994), sediments overlying the basement rock of the SoM have the highest cassiterite concentrations of up to 400 ppm.

South China Sea Geographically, the SCS is a western Pacific Ocean rim that runs parallel to the SEA mainland. It is a massive marginal sea that stretches from Singapore and the SoMs in the south, to the Taiwan Strait in the west, and from Borneo and the Philippines in the east, to Viet Nam and the Chinese coastal inlets in the north. The distinctive feature of SCS is a very deep rhomboid-shaped basin in the east, where coral swarms rise quickly. Coral reefs, bays, and beaches that are exposed during low tide and submerged during high tide, also known as Low Tide Elevation features, are the main habitats of the SCS. They are mostly found in clusters such as the Spratly Islands, including the Gugusan Semarang Peninjau (GSP). It is a 3,685,000 km2 lake with a mean depth of approximately 1,212 metres. The SCS, which is shared by eight countries, is important for various reasons, including shipping, SEA’s monsoonal climate, living and nonliving resources including hydrocarbon for the oil and gas industry. In terms of economy, diverse marine life flourishes in the SCS. According to the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Qingdao Naval Biology Laboratory, there are 22,629 species from 46 divisions of marine life in the SCS. The richness of biodiversity is due to the influx of rich nutrients from the land and water discharge into the sea. At the same time, for the densely populated SEA countries, the sea is also a major source of protein, whereby mackerel, anchovies, shrimp, and oysters are among the most common tuna species found in the area (Zhang, 2018). Besides marine life, significant oil and gas reserves have also been discovered beneath the SCS floor. The main 39


Malaysia A Maritime Nation: The Geographical De Facto

hydrocarbon production areas are located north of Borneo Island, east of the Malay Peninsula and northwest of Palawan. Together with the SoM, SCS is recognised as one of the most crucial shipping routes globally. Every year, the SCS transports about half of the world’s goods to foreign destinations, resulting in a USD5.3 trillion worth of trade and covering a third of all global shipping. Several western analysts have estimated that the SCS’s oil reserves alone could be worth up to 213 billion barrels. (Baker, 2015; Center For Strategic & International Studies, 2021).

Sulu and Celebes Seas The Sulu and Celebes Seas lies in the south-east of the SCS and is separated by the shallow, partly emerged Sulu Ridge (approximately 150 to 200 km wide), extending from Zamboanga to Semporna and Dent Peninsula, on Northeast Borneo. Geologically, the basins are located near the zone of complex junction between the Pacific, Indian Ocean, and the Philippine Sea plates. Consequently, these basins are considered deep with up to 5000 metres in depth and form part of a subparallel oceanic basin trending roughly northeast (Rangin & Silver, 1990). The Sulu Sea is a narrow, which is separated by elongated ridges such as Cagayan Ridge and the Palawan. According to the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), the Sulu Sea is part of the East Indian Archipelago waters. Encompassing a total area of approximately 260,000 km2, it extends about 789 km from north to south and 605.6 km from east to west. The Sulu Sea’s most profound charted depth is 4140 metres on its southern end of the Sulu Archipelago. The sea’s maximum breadth is between Jambongan Island, Malaysia and Cagayan Island, Philippines at 108 km, and its narrowest breadth spans about 51.9 km between Banggi Island in Malaysia and Balabac Island in the Philippines. Likewise, the Celebes Sea (also known as the Sulawesi Sea) spans between Semporna, Malaysia, and Sibutu Island, Philippines, at 96.34 km. Overall, it extends 674.13 km north-south and 837 km east-west and occupies a total surface area of 280,000 km2. Comparing this maritime space with the SoMs and the SCS, the Sulu and Celebes maritime spaces generally have lower economic development. However, the subject of maritime insecurity has been a persistent challenge to the surrounding countries as these waterways are well-known globally for illegal activities such as kidnapping for ransom by militant groups and illegal wildlife trafficking. In addition, limited economic development within the coastal communities have instigated feelings of economic exclusion, undermining the rule of law and generating fertile recruiting ground for illicit activities such as piracy.

40


Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

Undeniably, problems such as informal cross-border trade and illegal immigration persist despite various mechanisms developed to overcome them between the affected countries. The barter trade ecosystem still supports the socio-economic landscape of this particular area, and although the system has evolved over time with the use of monetary currency to exchange goods, the trade remains largely informal and thus unregulated. These unofficial economic activities may be deemed as illegal trade or smuggling, which hinders the development of the coastal economy and the implementation of a uniform regional maritime security system.

Key Highlights Malaysia’s status as a maritime nation is neither a new nor emerging concept. Thus, as a historic maritime nation, systematic governance of the maritime domains is paramount. However, ironically, Malaysia still thinks and behaves like a continental power despite all the geo-economic factors which characterise Malaysia’s maritime domain to be inseparable from the nation’s socio-economic interests (Leong, 2021). Therefore, the government must develop a long-term policy backed by solid political will to create a comprehensive strategy in governing its maritime domains. Firstly, the interdependency of the nation’s economy on the complexity of Malaysia’s maritime domains can only be leveraged through a solid strategy which covers all aspects of maritime interests, including defence, security, economy and environmental protection. Furthermore, it is submitted that the strategic interest of major power nations in maritime areas of the SoM and the SCS, as well as the Sulu and Celebes Sea, will remain consistently high. Thus, a comprehensive strategy through a wholeof-government and whole-of-society approach that involves numerous ministries, government agencies, state governments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the private sector, academic institutions and community members is crucial. This strategy must be adopted as the nation’s grand strategy, especially in dealing with major power interests. Secondly, there is an imperative need to establish a maritime ministerial portfolio which would oversee all national maritime affairs, especially in the area of maritime safety and security. In recent years, the number of maritime incidents has escalated, particularly in the SCS. The “five-nation face-off” precipitated by West Capella’s drilling operations in Arapaima-1 and Lala-1 in 2019 is a recent example of how underlying maritime disputes can cause severe repercussions in the domain of maritime defence and security. Therefore, the introduction of a ministry dedicated to maritime affairs is critical in efforts to spearhead Malaysia as a strategic maritime nation. Ideally, this ministry should be given the mandate to formulate and implement all maritime-related policies, including management of coastal zones, marine fishing 41


Malaysia A Maritime Nation: The Geographical De Facto

resources, marine geospatial database, maritime boundary delimitation, seaborne trades, exploration and exploitation of oil and gas, marine tourism and all other areas that contribute to the country’s maritime interests and prosperity. This concern is emerging because of the numerous legislations imposed by different state governments that have often resulted in contradictory mandates and ineffective resource allocations. Furthermore, inadequate regulations due to a lack of cooperation or coordination among government agencies also contribute to maritime security mechanisms’ ineffectiveness. If these bureaucratic and administrative problems are not promptly tackled, they will continue to hamper efforts to improve revenues that could be generated through the maritime-based industry. Thirdly, the government must seriously develop a comprehensive marine database to improve the management of maritime spaces because the existing national marine database is still low and poorly disseminated. At the same time, methods of data collection are still unstructured due to discrepancies within government ministries and agencies. In today’s era, which demands science-based data, a comprehensive marine database is no longer an option, but is instead a necessity. With a massive maritime domain totalling 569,845 km² of three separate areas, a scientific marine spatial database is crucial for the government to monitor and boost marine resources, while at the same time preserving the ecosystem for future generations. Therefore, the government must quickly develop the nation’s Marine Spatial Data Infrastructure (MSDI) based on international standards and requirements. In this context, the National Hydrographic Centre (NHC) has already taken the initiative to lead and develop MSDI in Malaysia and to further support the nation’s Geospatial Data Infrastructure (MyGDI). The current role of NHC as the authoritative source for hydrographic and bathymetric data for all activities associated with the seas and ocean, must therefore be recognised and applauded. Furthermore, even without a formal national level regulatory framework, the NHC has continued to play a leading role in efforts to materialise the maritime domain through MyGDI. Therefore, it is imperative for the Government to allocate sufficient resources to support the NHC’s ‘Marine Geospatial 2050’ transformational programme, which aims to mature MSDI in Malaysia by the year 2050.

Conclusion The mantra ‘Malaysia, a Maritime Nation’ should not be treated as just a media campaign slogan during special events such as World Ocean Week, Maritime Day or LIMA. Instead, it should be substantiated as Malaysia’s maritime blueprint through a national Grand Strategy. Historical facts and the current geo-political situation have demonstrated how pertinent maritime domains are to the socio-economic landscape and livelihood of the nation. 42


Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

Indeed, maritime domains are precious assets that must be well managed and efficiently leveraged. Therefore, the government should ‘think big’ and seriously consider all the three highlighted recommendations, namely: (1) a long-term strategic policy supported by strong political will; (2) the establishment of a maritime affairs ministerial portfolio; and (3) the development of a well-structured and comprehensive marine geospatial database. In addition, the implementation aspects of the three abovementioned recommendations must also be addressed. On too many occasions, while the Government has proven to be proactive in formulating comprehensive strategies and robust policies, their implementation are always much left to be desired. The privileges of having vast maritime domains could turn out to be a curse if Malaysia does not take extreme measures to protect and govern it. Notably, only by having all mechanism in place and a good implementation plan, the marine-based applications can be extended from enhancing sonar system performance, reducing marine pollution, preserving marine biodiversity, monitoring climate change as well as developing marine-based new businesses such as fish farms, aquaculture, offshore wind farms, and many more. In conclusion, Malaysia must strategically manage her maritime endowments to elevate her maritime-based socioeconomic interests while preserving its ecosystem and biodiversity for future generations. However, as Leong (2021) pointed out, until Malaysia’s strategic culture reorients itself to the importance of her maritime domain, it will be challenging to sustain Malaysia’s vision as a ‘maritime nation with continental roots’.

Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank the support delivered by the National Hydrographic Centre, especially on all the geographical facts, measurement works and maps provided by Lt Cdr Mohammad Shaiful Suhaimee RMN, Lt Cdr Razimi Mohd Damri RMN, Lt Cdr Mohamad Sufian Othman RMN and all NHC staffs. The completion of this chapter could not have been possible without their assistance and contributions.

References Baker, H. (2015). Fishing, Shipping Lanes, Oil & Gas: Is Peaceful Resolution of the SCS Dispute? Knoxville: The University of Tennessee. CSIS. (2021). Center For Strategic and International Studies. How Much Trade Transits the SCS? Retrieved from China Power: https://chinapower. csis.org/much-tradetransits-south-china-sea. 43


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Evers, H., Embong, A. R & Ramli, R. (2019). Connecting Oceans: Malaysia as a Maritime Nation. Bangi: Penerbit Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Hanizah, I., & Harun, R. (2004). Malaysia as Maritime Situation: Prospects and Challenges. Jati, 9, 19 - 30. Hayton, B. (2014). The SCS: The Struggle for Power in Asia. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Ho, J., & Bateman, S. (2013). Maritime Challenges and Priorities in Asia: Implications for Regional Security. London and New York, Routledge. International Hydrographic Organization, (1953). Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition. Special Publication No. 23 (S-23). Monaco: International Hydrographic Organization. Ittersum, M. J. V. (2006). Mare Liberum Versus the Propriety of the Seas? The Debate between Hugo Grotius (1583–1645) and William Welwood (1552–1624) and its Impact on Anglo-Dutch Fishery Disputes in the Second Decade of the Seventeenth Century. Kudrass, H. R., & Schlüter, H. U. (1994). Development of cassiterite-bearing sediments and their relation to Late Pleistocene sea-level changes in the Straits of Malacca. Marine Geology, 120(3-4), 175-202. Lai, Y. M. & Kuik, C. C. (2020): Structural sources of Malaysia’s SCS policy: power uncertainties and small-state hedging, Australian Journal of International Affairs, DOI: 10.1080/10357718.2020.1856329. Leong, A. K. W., (2021). Is Malaysia Really a ‘Maritime’ Nation? The Diplomat, ASEAN Beat. https://thediplomat.com/2021/05/is-malaysia-really-a-maritime-nation/. Mastro, O. S. (2021). How China is bending the rules in the SCS. The Interpreter. The Lowy Institute. https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/how-china-bendingrules-south-china-sea. Ministry of Defence. (2020). Defence White Paper: A Secure, Sovereign and Prosperous Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur, Percetakan Nasional Malaysia Berhad. Morgenthau, J. (1973). Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Pace (Calcutta, 1973, 5th and. Indian). Pantucci, R., & Lain, S. (2017). China’s Grand Strategy: The Belt and Road Initiative. Whitehall Paper Series, 88(1), 7. https://search-proquest-com.libproxy.upnm.edu. my/docview/2171640000?accountid=51108. Qu, X., & Meng, Q. (2012). The economic importance of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore: an extreme-scenario analysis. Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, 48(1), 258-265. Rahman, C. & Tsamenyi, M. (2010). A Strategic Perspective on Security and Naval Issues in the SCS. Ocean Development & International Law, 41 (4): 315–333. doi:10.1080/ 00908320.2010.499277. Rangin, C., & Silver, E. A. (1990). Geological setting of the Celebes and Sulu Seas. In Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Initial Reports 124, 35-42. Zhang, H. (2018). Fisheries cooperation in the SCS: Evaluating the options. Marine Policy, 89, 67-76. 44


Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

CHAPTER THREE

ESTABLISHING THE OUTER LIMITS OF THE CONTINENTAL SHELF BEYOND 200 NAUTICAL MILES Mazlan Madon

Introduction The seabed and subsoil of the submarine areas defined as the “Continental Shelf” which falls under the national jurisdiction of a coastal State is specified in Article 76 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS). UNCLOS is an international agreement that has been ratified by 168 countries of the United Nations. It contains over 300 articles covering the legal aspects of various maritime and ocean affairs, such as navigation, transportation, fisheries, scientific research and the delineation of maritime spaces. When UNCLOS came into force in 1994, it effectively designated to coastal States ocean space up to 200 nm from their territorial sea baselines. The establishment of “Exclusive Economic Zones” (EEZ), within which coastal States have jurisdiction and exclusive rights over the natural resources of the seabed and subsoil, effectively amounted to the annexation of approximately 35% of the world’s oceans by coastal States (Figure 1). Irrespective of the size of the land territory of a coastal State, a landmass is entitled to an EEZ and a Continental Shelf at least up to 200 nm. According to Article 76, coastal States are also entitled to establish the outer limit of the Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm if they are able to demonstrate that the continental margin extends beyond 200 nm. The “extended” or “outer” Continental Shelf (ECS or OCS) adds to the total marine area under national jurisdiction of the coastal State, including the EEZ. Small island States are among the potentially big gainers, as they are surrounded by vast areas of the oceans that may become part of their extended Continental Shelf. Based on submissions made to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), it

45


Establishing The Outer Limits Of The Continental Shelf Beyond 200 Nautical Miles

was estimated that for some small island States, the area of ECS under consideration may be as much a thousand times their total land area (UNEP/GRID-Arendal, 2011).

Figure 1. Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ, shaded blue) in the World’s oceans, based on marineregions.org database. Areas of “extended” Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm (shaded pink) are based on submissions by coastal States to the CLCS (Sourced from UNEP GridArendal, continentalshelf.org).

The total area of Malaysia’s marine space, including its internal waters, territorial seas and EEZ, is twice as much as the total land area of approximately 330,000 km2. A large proportion of Malaysia’s EEZ is in the shallow waters of the Sunda Shelf which have water depth of less than 200 metres, including Straits of Malacca (SoM), off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia and as well as much of offshore Sarawak. Around Peninsular Malaysia, the Continental Shelf is delimited by treaty lines with neighbouring coastal States and is everywhere less than 200 nm measured from the baselines. In the South China Sea (SCS), the 200 nm line lies much further seaward of the shelf-slope break (Figure 2), which is marked by the line representing the 200 metres water depth contour. If a continental margin extends beyond the 200 nm line, Article 76 of UNCLOS provides the means by which coastal States can establish the outer limits of the Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm. This chapter discusses the concept of the Continental Shelf according to Article 76 and its application in the establishment of the outer limits of the Continental Shelf. 46


Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

200 NM

(A)

(B)

12 NM

12 NM

200 NM

Figure 2. The concept of “Continental Shelf” according to Article 76 of UNCLOS. (A) In the case of continental margin that is narrower than the 200 nm limit (EEZ), the Continental Shelf is determined at the 200 nm line. (B) A wide (geological) continental margin may extend beyond 200 nm and that portion of the seabed beyond 200 nm may become part of an “extended” Continental Shelf. This figure was modified from the original in “The Law of the Sea: Training Manual for Delineation of the Outer Limits of the Continental Shelf”, United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS, 2006).

The Concept of Continental Shelf Continental Shelf, although a familiar concept in the geological sciences, has a specific meaning under Article 76 of UNCLOS (paragraph 1) which states that: “The Continental Shelf of a coastal State comprises the seabed and subsoil of the submarine areas that extend beyond its territorial sea throughout the natural prolongation of its land territory to the outer edge of the continental margin, or to a distance of 200 nm from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured where the outer edge of the continental margin does not extend up to that distance.” This paragraph essentially specifies the seaward extent of the Continental Shelf beyond a distance of 200 nm from the baseline from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured and that location is referred to as the “outer edge of the continental margin”. It also specifies that where the continental margin does not extend to the 200 nm line from the baseline, by default the outer limit of the Continental Shelf will 47


Establishing The Outer Limits Of The Continental Shelf Beyond 200 Nautical Miles

be at the 200 nm line as the minimum distance (Figure 2A). Where the outer edge of the continental margin lies seaward of the 200 nm line, that part of the continental margin beyond the 200 nm has the potential to be considered part of an “extended Continental Shelf”, if established in accordance with the provisions of Article 76 (Figure 2B).

Why is the Outer Limit Important? As stipulated in Article 77 of UNCLOS, coastal States have sovereign rights over the Continental Shelf for the purpose of exploring it, and exploiting the natural resources of the seabed and subsoil. The exploration and exploitation of natural resources in the oceans are the primary motivation for coastal States to carry out activities further and further out into the high seas. Establishing the outer limits of the Continental Shelf is therefore necessary in order to determine with certainty the limits of the marine areas that are under the national jurisdiction of the coastal State. Beyond those limits is the international seabed area beyond national jurisdiction for the “common heritage of mankind”, also known as the “Area” under UNCLOS. Establishment of the outer limits of the Continental Shelf has great impact on the management of the seabed area beyond national jurisdiction by the International Seabed Authority (ISA). This is a technical body established under UNCLOS and is responsible for regulations and awarding licenses for exploration and exploitation of natural resources in the Area’s. Activities such as deep-sea mineral exploration will be carefully managed in accordance with the rules and regulations set by the ISA to ensure sustainable use of the oceans.

Historical Perspective The starting point of the concept of the Continental Shelf in maritime law is said to be the “Truman Proclamation” in 1945 when the then President of the United States, Harry S. Truman, proclaimed a US policy with respect to the natural resources of the seabed and subsoil of the Continental Shelf: “The Government of the United States regards the natural resources of the subsoil and sea bed of the Continental Shelf beneath the high seas but contiguous to the coasts of the United States, subject to [its] jurisdiction and control.” The Truman Proclamation paved the way for other coastal States to make similar unilateral proclamations regarding their jurisdiction and control of the seabed of the Continental Shelf, especially in the Atlantic and Pacific margins. Seeing this trend, 48


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Ambassador Arvid Pardo of Malta, when speaking at a UN conference on 1 November 1967, called on the world to enact an international legislation to ensure peace at sea as well as to curb ocean pollution and conserve natural resources. Mr. Pardo described the seabed of the oceans as a “common heritage of mankind” to be conserved and managed for the benefit of all, not just rich States. In 1982, after almost 10 years of discussions and negotiations, UNCLOS became the internationally agreed maritime legal instrument which has now been ratified by more than 168 countries. Article 136 of UNCLOS states that “The area [deep sea bed] and its resources are the common heritage of mankind”, a principle held at international discussions on the exploitation and use of natural resources including living resources in marine areas beyond national jurisdiction (further than 200 nm from baseline).

Continental Shelf Delineation Article 76 of UNCLOS contains specific provisions that may be used by coastal States for establishing the outer limits of the Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm. These provisions are based on geological principles, adapted and applied in the delineation process. In order to establish the outer limits, coastal States make a submission to the CLCS data and information in relation to the outer limits for consideration. The CLCS is another technical body established under UNCLOS with the mandate to consider the submissions made by coastal States and make recommendations regarding the outer limits of their Continental Shelf. The recommendations are made in accordance with the provisions of Article 76 and the guidelines described in the Scientific and Technical Guidelines of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS, 1999).

The Concept of “Natural Prolongation” Truman’s Proclamation, which is contained in “Proclamation 2667 of September 28, 1945 Policy of the United States with respect to the natural resources of the subsoil and sea bed of the Continental Shelf”, was based on an important premise for a coastal State’s exercise of jurisdiction and control. This premise reads “the Continental Shelf may be regarded as an extension of the land-mass of the coastal nation and thus naturally appurtenant to it”. This is an important principle that may have laid the foundation for the concept of the “Continental Shelf” in UNCLOS, which is that the sovereign rights of coastal States are determined by the existence of a “natural continuity” between what is visible on land (continent) and what is hidden under the sea (Continental Shelf). In other words, a continent and its adjoining Continental Shelf are one and inseparable. This principle implies that every land territory of a sovereign nation is entitled to the seabed and subsoil of the adjoining Continental Shelf. In other words, since the Continental Shelf is as an extension of the land-mass, it can also be 49


Establishing The Outer Limits Of The Continental Shelf Beyond 200 Nautical Miles

regarded as a “land territory under the sea”. This concept is implicit in paragraph 1 in Article 76 of UNCLOS, which states that the Continental Shelf is the seabed and subsoil of the marine area throughout “natural prolongation of land territory” of a coastal State (Figure 3).

Figure 3. The concept of “natural prolongation” of land territory (paragraph 1, Article 76), equivalent to submerged prolongation of the landmass (paragraph 3, Article 76) gives coastal States entitlement to its submerged prolongation.

The Continental Margin In defining the Continental Shelf, paragraph 1 of Article 76 further states that the seaward limit of the natural prolongation is “to the outer edge of the continental margin”. Thus, the delineation of the Continental Shelf of a coastal state essentially involves locating the outer edge of the continental margin. The continental margin, also a geological concept, is the transitional area between the continent and ocean. It is where the Earth’s crust changes in character (both thickness and composition) from continental to oceanic (Figure 4). As a result, the sea floor in the continent-toocean transition zone subsides below sea level to a depth of tens of metres to more than 5000 metres. A continental margin consists of three morphological elements: Continental Shelf, continental slope and continental rise (Figure 2). The same concept of the continental margin is used in paragraph 3 of Article 76): “The continental margin comprises the submerged prolongation of the land mass of the coastal State, and consists of the seabed and subsoil of the shelf, the slope and the rise. It does not include the deep ocean floor with its oceanic ridges or the subsoil thereof.” The “Continental Shelf” is the submarine area nearest to shore and is characterised by relatively flat seafloor, with gradients not more than 1° or 2° (see Figure 4) between 50


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the shoreline to the point at which there is a marked increase in the seabed gradient towards the relatively flat, deep sea floor. The edge of the geological Continental Shelf is normally where the water depth is around 200 metres, beyond which is the continental slope where the seabed gradient increases significantly to between 2° and 4° or greater in some places (Figure 4). The width of the Continental Shelf varies from place to place. The Sunda Shelf, one of the largest continental shelves in the world, is up to 800 km wide, approximately the same distance from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu. In comparison, the Continental Shelf of Sabah is one-tenth of that. As indicated in Figure 4, the width of the continental margin is an important aspect that may impact the establishment of the outer limit of the Continental Shelf.

Figure 4. Besides morphological changes at the sea bed, from shelf to slope and rise (with typical gradients as indicated), the continental margin is characterised by changes in crustal thickness and composition which are determined from geological and geophysical data. The objective in Article 76 is to find the outer limit of the Continental Shelf which separates “Continental Shelf” from “deep ocean floor” or the “AREA” of seabed beyond national jurisdiction.

Beyond the slope is an area with seabed gradients slightly lower than that of the continental slope but higher than that of the essentially flat seafloor of the abyssal plain (Figure 4). This seabed area is the continental rise, which is formed by a wedge of sediment at the base of the continental slope. In areas where continental rise is absent, the continental slope merges with the abyssal plain. The objective for the coastal State is the determine the outer limits of the Continental Shelf that marks the boundary between Continental Shelf (under national jurisdiction) and deep ocean floor according to Article 76 (Figure 4).

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Establishing The Outer Limits Of The Continental Shelf Beyond 200 Nautical Miles

Establishing the Outer Limits As mentioned above, in order to define the outer limits of the Continental Shelf, we need to first determine the outer edge of the continental margin. The methodology for establishing the outer limits of the Continental Shelf is described in the Scientific and Technical Guidelines of the CLCS and can be summarised in four basic steps in determining (Figure 5): 1. 2. 3. 4.

Base of the continental slope. Foot of the continental slope. Outer edge of the continental margin. Outer limits of the Continental Shelf.

Figure 5. Main steps towards establishing the outer limits of the Continental Shelf, based on Scientific and Technical Guidelines of the CLCS.

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350 Nm

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100 Nm

350 Nm

60 Nm

100 Nm

Figure 6. Schematic illustration of a common method used in delineating the outer limit of the Continental Shelf, as outlined in Figure 5. (A) Identification of the foot of the continental slope at the point of maximum change in gradient within the base of slope region. (B) Defining the outer edge of the continental margin (OECM) by the Hedberg formula (60 NM from FOS). (C) Alternatively, the OECM can be determined by the Gardiner formula – the point at which the sediment thickness is at least 1% of the shortest distance to the FOS. In both (B) and (C) if the OECM lies beyond the constraint line at 350 NM from the baseline, the outer limits will be determined at the 350 NM line.

As a general rule, the base of the continental slope region is identified by zone in which there is a significant regional change in the seafloor gradient between the continental slope and the continental rise or, when the rise is not present, between 53


Establishing The Outer Limits Of The Continental Shelf Beyond 200 Nautical Miles

the continental slope and abyssal plain (deep sea floor). The foot of the continental slope is then determined at a point of maximum change in the gradient within that base of slope region (Figure 6). Based on the foot of slope (FOS), the outer edge of the continental margin may be delineated by a number of fixed points determined by either one of two formulae specified in paragraphs 4 and 5 of Article 76: (1) at a distance of not more than 60 nm from the FOS (Hedberg formula) or (2) at a point where the sediment thickness is at least 1% of the shortest distance to the FOS (Gardiner formula). A coastal State would normally use the formula that gives the largest distance from the FOS based on the available geological data and information. The line defining the outer edge of the continental margin is then delineated by joining those fixed points by straight lines that are not more than 60 nm in length. The final step in the establishing the outer limits of the Continental Shelf is to apply the applicable constraints to the outer edge of the continental margin, as specified in paragraph 5 of Article 76. The two possible constraints are (1) the 350 nm line measured from the baselines from which the territorial sea is measured (also referred to as the “distance constraint”) or (2) the line defined at 100 nm from the 2500 metres isobath (“depth constraint”). The outer limits of the Continental Shelf is established by connecting fixed points on the “constrained outer edge” line by straight lines segments not more than 60 nm in length. The shape of the continental margin (i.e., the seabed area between the shoreline and the deep sea) varies considerably depending on the type of margin and its geological setting. These factors are discussed at length by the CLCS in its guidelines to coastal States when establishing the outer limits (CLCS, 1999). Atlantic continental margins, e.g., off South America, normally have the typically sigmoidal 2D profile comprising the shelf, slope and rise (Figure 7A and 7B). The shelf-slope-rise triad is a result of sediment accumulation at continental margins. Transform margins, e.g., in the Gulf of Guinea (Figure 7C and 7D), tend to be narrower and the continental slope steeper due to less sediment accumulation. The shape (morphology) as well as the width of continental margins are important factors that determine the extent of the Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm.

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Figure 7. Examples of seabed morphology depicted with satellite-derived bathymetric data obtained from Gridded Multi-Resolution Topography (GMRT) database, ver. 3.8 (Ryan et al., 2009). (A) 3D bathymetry of a portion of the South Atlantic margin. (B) 2D profile across the South Atlantic margin in A. (C) 2D profile across a transform margin in the Gulf of Guinea. (D) 3D bathymetry of a portion of the Gulf of Guinea, showing the location of the profile in C.

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Establishing The Outer Limits Of The Continental Shelf Beyond 200 Nautical Miles

Continental Shelf Submissions Article 76 of UNCLOS provides the opportunity for coastal States to establish the outer limits of the Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm by making a submission to the CLCS. The CLCS is an independent body of experts established in 1997 under UNCLOS with a mandate to consider the submissions of coastal states and make recommendations on the outer limits of the Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm from the territorial sea baselines. It is made up of 21 scientists including geologists, geophysics and hydrographers selected and elected from among nationals of the nominating States Parties to UNCLOS. The submission to the CLCS should contain relevant information regarding the outer limits, supported by geological, geophysical and hydrographic data and information. Malaysia signed UNCLOS 1982 on 10 December 1982 and ratified the Convention on 14 October 1996. Subsequently, based on a desktop study conducted by a special project team that started in 2002, it was determined that under the provision of Article 76 of UNCLOS, Malaysia is entitled to establish the outer limit of the Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm in the SCS. Towards that objective, Malaysia undertook a data collection project called the Malaysia Marine Research Survey (MyMRS) in 2007-2008, to acquire the necessary data to support its submission. The data acquired include 5730 km of single and multi-beam bathymetry, multi-channel seismic, gravity and magnetic data (Minerals & Geoscience Department, 2009). Geological and geophysical analyses and interpretation of these data were used to support Malaysia’s submission of its extended Continental Shelf. The MyMRS data were also supplemented by data from the oil industry supplied by PETRONAS (Malaysia’s national oil company) as well as public domain data from US National Centre for Environmental Information (NCEI). Some of the geological studies carried out for the preparation of the submission have been published (Hutchison and Vijayan, 2010; Vijayan et al., 2013). Figure 8 shows the interpretation of two of the seismic profiles from the MyMRS project which had enabled the team to visualise the geological structure of the continental margin off the Sabah across the southern margin of the SCS. Although most of the Malaysian survey data unfortunately do not extend much further than the 200 nm limit, active geological and geophysical research and publication on the SCS region by industry and academic scientists during the last decade have resulted in a large body of geological data and information available in the public domain, which provided further insights into the geology of the Sarawak and Sabah continental margin.

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Figure 8. Examples of NW-SE seismic profiles from MyMRS marine seismic survey undertaken for the purpose of preparing Malaysia’s submission to the CLCS. These profiles and their interpretation were published in Vijayan et al. (2013). For location of profiles, refer to Figure 10. In both profiles are shown the three main sequences of the Dangerous Grounds rifted continental terrane overridden by the deepwater fold-thrust belt off Sabah shelf. Sabah Trough is a deep bathymetric feature formed at the convergence zone between Dangerous Grounds and Sabah.

Figure 9 shows two examples from the international literature geoseismic crosssections across the continental margin off west Sabah extending into the SCS marginal basin. The continental margin is at least 600 km wide from the shoreline to the continent-ocean boundary (COB) at the edge of the SCS oceanic basin (Figure 9A). The profiles show the complex geology and morphology of a large part of the continental margin commonly referred to as the “Dangerous Grounds” located between Sabah Trough (a linear bathymetric depression interpreted as a Middle Miocene continental collision zone, e.g., Franke et al., 2014) and the COB. This region of intermediate water depths of 500 metres to more than 3000 metres is underlain by rifted continental crust and is considered as submerged prolongation of the landmass of Sabah (Borneo).

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Figure 9. Geoseismic profiles across the continental margin of Sabah (Malaysia) towards the South China Sea basin, simplified from published studies. For location of profiles see Figure 10. (A) Profile 1 from the northern part of Sabah Basin across the Dangerous Grounds rifted terrain towards the deep South China Sea basin. Modified from Ding et al. (2013) with the addition of the continent-ocean boundary (COB) from Song and Li (2015). (B) Profile 2 from the Sabah shelf across the Sabah Trough onto the Dangerous Grounds rifted terrain and crossing the SW sub-basin of the South China Sea. Modified from Yan and Liu (2004).

As a result of these efforts, Malaysia has made two submissions. The first was a Joint Submission with Viet Nam in the southern part of the SCS between Viet Nam and Sarawak, which was prepared over a period of 8 years and was submitted and presented to the CLCS on 6 May 2009. The second submission was a partial submission by Malaysia in the central area of the SCS. Figure 10 shows the areas of Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm which are the subject of those submissions. The CLCS shall consider the information and make recommendations on matters related to the establishment of the outer limits of its Continental Shelf. The recommendations from the CLCS on the outer limits are based on the data and information provided by coastal States in their submissions in accordance with the provisions in Article 76 of UNCLOS and in the Statement of Understanding. The “Statement of Understanding concerning a specific method to be used in establishing the outer edge of the continental margin” is contained in the Annex II of the Final Act of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (United Nations, n.d.). The recommendations would then form the basis upon which coastal States may establish the outer limits of their Continental Shelf and, henceforth, exercise with certainty their sovereign rights over the extended Continental Shelf for the purposes of exploring it and exploiting the natural resources of its seabed and 58


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subsoil, as provided for in Article 77 of UNCLOS. As of December 2020, there are 87 submissions and 7 revised or partial revised submissions made by coastal States to the CLCS with regard to their extended Continental Shelf. To date, only 35 of those submissions have been recommended upon by the CLCS and many more are awaiting consideration. Continental Shelf Beyond 200 Nm

Figure 10. Malaysia’s Continental Shelf area in the southern part of the SCS, as contained in the submissions made to the CLCS in 2009 (jointly with Vietnam) and in 2019. Malaysia’s proposed outer limit of the Continental Shelf is indicated by the red line. Blue lines refer to seismic profiles shown in Figures 8 and 9.

Conclusion As a State Party to UNCLOS, Malaysia is entitled to submit particulars of her Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm as established in accordance with the provisions of Article 76 of UNCLOS. Malaysia is exercising her rights as a sovereign maritime nation by making two submissions to establish the outer limits of the Continental Shelf in the SCS. In addition to being a submitting coastal State seeking to establish its outer limits, Malaysia has also made a significant contribution to the work of the CLCS by nominating its own experts to serve as member of CLCS since its inception in 1997. 59


Establishing The Outer Limits Of The Continental Shelf Beyond 200 Nautical Miles

The establishment of the outer limits of the Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm is necessary for Malaysia to exercise its rights over the seabed and subsoil of the Continental Shelf for the purpose of exploration and exploitation of natural resources. As the search for conventional hydrocarbons continues further into deeper waters and onto the outer continental margins, significant future resources may lie in areas of the Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm. Besides conventional hydrocarbons, deposits of gas hydrates and deep seabed minerals also have the potential for exploration and exploitation in the future.

References CLCS. (1999). Scientific and Technical Guidelines of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. Official document of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, CLCS/11. Downloadable from the CLCS website, http://www. un.org/depts/los/clcs_new/commission_documents.htm. DOALOS. (2006). Training Manual for delineation of the outer limits of the Continental Shelf beyond 200 nautical miles and for preparation of submissions to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. United Nations Division of Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, New York, United Nations Publication. Franke, D., Savva, D., Pubellier, M., Steuer, S., Mouly, B., Auxietre, J.-L., Meresse, F., & Chamot-Rooke, N. (2014). The final rifting evolution in the South China Sea, Marine and Petroleum Geology, 58 (B), 704-720, https://doi.org/10.1016/j. marpetgeo.2013.11.020. Hutchison, C.S., & Vijayan, V.R. (2010). What are the Spratly Islands? Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 39, 371–385. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jseaes.2010.04.013 Madon, M. (2017). The Continental Shelf – five decades of progress (1966-2016). Bulletin of the Geological Society of Malaysia, 63, 145 – 156. https://doi.org/10.7186/ bgsm63201707 Minerals & Geoscience Department. (2009). Member Country Report submitted by Malaysian Delegation at the 46th CCOP Annual Session 18-23 October 2009. Coordinating Committee for Geoscience Programmes in East and Southeast Asia (CCOP), CCOP-46AS/3-9. 13pp. Ryan, W.B.F., S.M. Carbotte, J.O. Coplan, S. O’Hara, A. Melkonian, R. Arko, Weissel, R.A., Ferrini, V. Goodwillie, A. Nitsche, F. Bonczkowski, J., & Zemsky R. (2009), Global Multi-Resolution Topography synthesis, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 10, Q03014, doi: 10.1029/2008GC002332 Song, T., & Li, C.F. (2015). Rifting to drifting transition of the Southwest Subbasin of the South China Sea. Mar. Geophys. Res., 36, 167–185. Doi:10.1007/s11001-015-9253-0 UNEP/GRID-Arendal. (2011). Continental Shelf, The Last Maritime Zone: Status in September 2010. United Nations. https://www.un.org/Depts/los/clcs_new/documents/final_act_annex_ two. 60


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Vijayan, V.R., Stagg, H., & Foss, C. (2013). Crustal character and thickness over the Dangerous Grounds and beneath the Northwest Borneo Trough. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 76. 389-398. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jseaes.2013.06.004

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CHAPTER FOUR

SIGNIFICANCE OF MALAYSIA’S EXTENDED CONTINENTAL SHELF CLAIMS BEYOND 200 NAUTICAL MILES AND RELATED DISPUTE RESOLUTION CASES Jalila Abdul Jalil

Introduction The history of Malaysia’s Continental Shelf claims was established based on the 1958 Geneva Convention, bilateral treaties and customary international law (Jalil, 2020). The basis stems from the North Sea Continental Shelf Case 1969 (North Sea Continental Shelf Cases (Federal Republic of Germany/Denmark; Federal Republic of Germany/ Netherlands, 1969), in which the Continental Shelf constitute the natural prolongation of the land mass of its land territory into and under the sea. This gives the entitlement to Malaysia’s Continental Shelf claim whereby these features are part of the natural prolongation of the land mass, including the extended Continental Shelf claim based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982.

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Figure 1: Map of Malaysia’s Peta Baru 1979 showing Malaysia’s territorial sea and Continental Shelf of Sabah and Sarawak Source: National Institute of Land and Survey Malaysia (INSTUN) http://www.instun.gov.my/ index.php/en/muat-turun-2/muat-turun-pengkalan-ilmu/artikel-1/ukur-dan-pemetaan-1/27pengukuran-sempadan-negeri-dan-antarabangsa-1/file

Having established its Continental Shelf claim (including territorial sea), Malaysia through Notification No. 5745, on 21 December 1979 issued a map known as Peta Baru 1979 (1979 Map), produced in large scale in two sheets showing the territorial sea and Continental Shelf of Peninsular Malaysia, and Sabah and Sarawak, deposited with the Director General of National Mapping, Directorate of National Mapping of Malaysia. The Map also shows Malaysia’s maritime boundaries delimitation based on treaties, by unilateral declaration, and single maritime boundary line in all sectors of its maritime boundaries.

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In relation to the 1979 Map, Malaysia’s statement as depicted by Haller-Trost (1998) stated that: “…the islands and atolls are under Malaysian sovereignty, and Malaysia has in the past reaffirmed its jurisdiction ...They are within Malaysia’s Continental Shelf area and Malaysia’s sovereignty over them has been officially declared through the new Map of Malaysia, published on December 21st 1979 ... The claim is in line with the Geneva Convention of 1958 pertaining to Territorial Waters and Continental Shelf boundaries, and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, as well as other international practices”. The Map shows Malaysia’s extended Continental Shelf starts from TP 52 to TP 53 to 65 in relation to Malaysia Joint Submission on the Extended Continental Shelf submitted to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) on 6 May 2009. This chapter discusses Malaysia’s extended Continental Shelf claims beyond 200 nm namely the Joint Submission and Partial Submission, Rules of Procedure (RoP) of the CLCS and related cases from the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) and International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).

Malaysia–Viet Nam Joint Submission in respect of the Southern Part of the South China Sea One of the main highlights of 2009 was the issue on the extended Continental Shelf, in which many coastal States raced to meet the deadline of 13 May 2009 in order to submit their preliminary information or submissions on the extended Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm to the CLCS. As of 10 January 2021, the CLCS has received a total of 88 submissions (unilateral, partial, or joint) and 47 preliminary information, indicative of the outer limits of the Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm, in relation to the extended Continental Shelf claims (CLCS, 2021). From the total 88 submissions, 9 were joint submissions including the Joint Submission of Malaysia and Viet Nam in respect of the southern part of the South China Sea (SCS) (CLCS/64, 2009). Out of the 9 joint submissions, three has received recommendations from the CLCS namely:1. 2. 3.

Joint submission by France, Ireland, Spain and the United Kingdom of Great Britain in the area of the Celtic Sea and the Bay of Biscay Joint submission by the Republic of Mauritius and the Republic of Seychelles in the region of the Mascarene Plateau Joint Submission by the Federated States of Micronesia, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands concerning the Ontong Java Plateau. (CLCS/62, CLCS/70, & CLCS/98, 2009, 2011 and 2017). 65


Significance Of Malaysia’s Extended Continental Shelf Claims Beyond 200nm And Related Dispute Resolutions The remaining six submissions have been deferred including the Joint Submission of Malaysia and Viet Nam. The CLCS deliberated and decided: “Taking into account these notes verbales and the presentation made by the delegations, the Commission decided to defer consideration of the submission and the notes verbales until such time as the submission is next in line for consideration as queued in the order in which it was received. The Commission took this decision in order to take into consideration any further developments that might occur throughout the intervening period during which States may wish to take advantage of the avenues available to them including provisional arrangements of a practical nature as contained in annex I to its rules of procedure.” (CLCS/64, 2009). One thing to note that in preparing the joint submission, both Malaysia and Viet Nam have proven on the legal, scientific and technical on the extended Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm based on the provisions of Article 76 (4) and Article 76 (5) of UNCLOS 1982. Also, based on Article 76, Article 9 of Annex II, Rule 46 (2) of the Rules of Procedure (RoP) of the CLCS and Paragraph 1, 2 and 5 (b) of Annex I RoP of the CLCS, both States had undertaken the efforts to secure non-objection from other relevant coastal States of the submission (CLCS/64, 2009). Jalil (2020) noted that, “In preparing the scientific and technical data submissions... coastal States have spent millions of dollars (Grignon, 2013) including considerable time and efforts. Invariably the process entails a high number of inter-agency meetings, logistic preparation, complex data collection and the use of ocean going vessels time to undertake surveys. ...time involved in drafting the submissions...” It has been 12 years since the joint submission was presented to the CLCS and in the meantime, a lot of development has happened including on the aspects of the law of the sea with related cases and jurisprudence. One of the significant decisions is the Philippines Arbitration Case in 2016. The PCA decision on China nine-dash line stated that the “nine-dash line” are “contrary to the Convention and without lawful effect to the extent that they exceed the geographic and substantive limits of China’s maritime entitlements under the Convention” (PCA, 2016) The decision relates to China’s Note Verbale to the United Nations dated 7 May 2009 appended with a 9-dashed line map protesting to the joint submission. This was the first time China declaring its nine-dash line map to the United Nations. The Note Verbale amongst others noted that the joint submission had seriously infringed China’s sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction in the SCS. The Philippines also submitted a Note Verbale dated 4 August 2009 protesting the joint submission. 66


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In return, Malaysia, Viet Nam, and Indonesia respectively sent their Note Verbales protesting against China’s Note Verbale. The Joint Submission of 2009 was deferred by the CLCS due to these Notes Verbales. The CLCS, in the document CLCS/83, stated that “the Commission noted that there had been no developments to indicate that consent existed on the part of all States concerned which would allow for consideration of this submission and decided to defer further the establishment of a sub-commission” (Progress of Work, 2014). Based on the PCA decision, it is about time CLCS relook into the deferred joint submission and perhaps make recommendation as a way forward. As mentioned earlier, CLCS also stated that States may wish to take advantage of the avenues available to them in the intervening period including provisional arrangements of a practical nature as mentioned in Annex I of RoP (CLCS/64, 2009). Malaysia and Viet Nam may also consider the option of seeking judicial and arbitral bodies, i.e ITLOS, ICJ and PCA to delimit the Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm as reflected in the related cases of Bangladesh, India and Nicaragua. In addition that, Malaysia and Viet Nam could explore securing a ruling under Annex VII (Arbitration). Most importantly, the joint submission “was a legitimate undertaking in the implementation of each State’s obligations as States Parties to the Convention” (CLCS/64, 2009) and Malaysia and Viet Nam have clearly marked the existence of Continental Shelf entitlement beyond 200 nm.

Cases on Delimitation of Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm The following are cases on delimitation that have been presented to and decided by ITLOS, ICJ and PCA. 1.

ITLOS Case - Dispute Concerning the Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary between Bangladesh and Myanmar in the Bay of Bengal (Bangladesh/ Myanmar), Judgment of 14 March 2012. This is the very first case for ITLOS on maritime boundary delimitation and is significant as this is the first decision on delimitation of Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm. Initially, the Tribunal had to address the issues as to whether the Tribunal had jurisdiction to delimit the Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm as raised by the parties. Based on the arguments forwarded by both parties, the Tribunal decided that Article 76 embodies the concept of a single Continental Shelf. At the same time, in referring to Article 77(1) and Article 77(2) of UNCLOS, the Tribunal declared that the coastal state exercises exclusive sovereign rights over the Continental Shelf in its entirety without any distinction between within 200 nm and beyond 200 nm. The Tribunal referred to the case of Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago by saying, 67


Significance Of Malaysia’s Extended Continental Shelf Claims Beyond 200nm And Related Dispute Resolutions “The dispute to be dealt by the Tribunal includes the outer Continental Shelf,…in any event there is in law only a single ‘Continental Shelf’ rather than an inner Continental Shelf and a separate extended or outer Continental Shelf”. In relation to third parties, the Tribunal remarked that the delimitation of the Continental Shelf cannot prejudice their rights as the decision by the Tribunal is binding only between the parties to the particular dispute. As to the issues concerning the international seabed area, the Tribunal stated that the delimitation of the Continental Shelf area beyond 200 nm between Bangladesh and Myanmar is situated far from the area and hence, does not prejudice the rights of the international community. The Tribunal also specified that the activities of the CLCS, the International Seabed Authority and the Tribunal complement each other to ensure coherent and efficient implementation of the UNCLOS. The Tribunal also decided that there is a clear distinction between the delimitation of the Continental Shelf under Article 83, entrusted under dispute settlement procedures, exercised by international courts and tribunals on the one hand. On the other hand, delineation of the outer limit of the Continental Shelf under Article 76, where the CLCS is assigned to make recommendations to coastal states on matters relating to the establishment of the outer limits of the Continental Shelf without prejudice to the delimitation of maritime boundaries. This case is significant as this is the first time the term “natural prolongation” with reference to Article 76 (1) of the UNCLOS was defined. The Tribunal decided that Article 76 (1) should be understood in light of the subsequent provisions of the article defining the Continental Shelf and continental margin” and that entitlement to Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm should thus be determined by reference to outer edge of the continental margin as referred to Article 76 (4). Delimitation of the Continental Shelf within 200 nm should not differ for beyond 200 nm and the equidistance/relevant circumstances method continues to apply for delimitation of the Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm. The Tribunal remarked that, “This method is rooted in recognition that sovereignty over the land territory is the basis for the sovereign rights and jurisdiction of the coastal State with respect to both the Exclusive Economic Zone and the Continental Shelf”. This method permits resolution of the problem of cut-off effect beyond 200 nm created by an equidistance line where the coast of party is markedly concave. The adjusted equidistance line delimiting the EEZ and Continental Shelf within 68


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200 nm continues in the same direction beyond 200 nm, until it reaches the area where rights of third States may be affected.

2.

ICJ Case – Territorial and Maritime Dispute (Nicaragua v. Colombia), Judgment of 19 November 2012 Based on the provisions of Article 76 of UNCLOS, Nicaragua contended that it has an entitlement to a Continental Shelf extending to the outer edge of the continental margin. Nicaragua requested the Court to define and delimit the maritime areas between Nicaragua and Colombia in accordance with equitable principles and relevant circumstances applicable to delimitation. Colombia argued that the Continental Shelf boundary claimed by Nicaragua was situated in an area which has no entitlements, in which the two mainland coasts are more than 400 nm apart. Colombia contended that Nicaragua did not include this request on entitlement of Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm in its Application and Memorial and further contended that the delimitation cannot be based on geological and geomorphologic factors, and that as such the subject matter is inadmissible. The Court decided that the claim made by Nicaragua of the overlapping entitlement of Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm was a new claim but would not render it inadmissible. The Court indicated the claim of the extended Continental Shelf falls within the dispute in relation to delimitation and cannot be said to transform the subject matter of that dispute by proclaiming that, “What has changed is the legal basis being advanced for the claim [natural prolongation rather than distance as the basis for a Continental Shelf] and the solution being sought [a Continental Shelf delimitation as opposed to a single maritime boundary], rather than the subject-matter of the dispute. The new submission is admissible as it concerned the delimitation of the Continental Shelf, although on different legal grounds”. The Court indicated that the applicable law is customary international law as Colombia is not a party to UNCLOS. The Court accepted that the provisions of Article 76 (1) forms part of customary international law but did not decide on other provisions of Article 76. The Court noted the jurisprudence of Bangladesh v. Myanmar referred to by Nicaragua and stated that the Tribunal in that case did not determine the outer limits of the Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm but instead extended the line of the single maritime boundary beyond 200 nm until it reaches the area of the third state. Both Bangladesh and Myanmar are states parties to UNCLOS and the Tribunal’s delimitation in accordance with Article 83 of UNCLOS 1982 does not preclude any recommendations of the CLCS as to the 69


Significance Of Malaysia’s Extended Continental Shelf Claims Beyond 200nm And Related Dispute Resolutions outer limits of the Continental Shelf in accordance with Article 76 (8). The Court observed there is a clear distinction between delimitation of a Continental Shelf and delineation of a Continental Shelf of its outer limits. The Court in this case quoted its earlier judgment in Nicaragua v. Honduras where “any claim of Continental Shelf rights beyond 200 nm [by a State party to UNCLOS] must be in accordance with Article 76 of UNCLOS and reviewed by the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf”. In this regard, the Court stated that Nicaragua had only submitted “Preliminary Information”, and not the full submission of the outer limit of its Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm as required under Article 76 (8). The Court could not provide a definitive ruling on the precise location of the outer limits of Nicaragua’s Continental Shelf as Nicaragua had not established its continental margin that overlaps with Colombia’s 200 nm. Therefore, the Court cannot address the delimitation of the overlapping entitlement of Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm between Nicaragua and Colombia.

3.

PCA Case – Bay of Bengal Maritime Boundary Arbitration between Bangladesh and India, Award of 7 July 2014. Both Bangladesh and Myanmar had submitted their submissions on the Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm to the CLCS. For purposes of the arbitration, both countries agreed that Article 83 of UNCLOS is the applicable law for the delimitation of Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm and shall be affected by agreement on the basis of international law, as referred to in Article 38 of the Statute of the ICJ, in order to achieve an equitable solution. The Tribunal indicated that international jurisprudence on the delimitation of the Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm is rather limited. It decided that Article 76 embodies the concept of a single Continental Shelf, reflected in the Article 77 (1) and (2) in which a coastal State exercises exclusive sovereign rights over the Continental Shelf in its entirety and these provisions made no distinction between Continental Shelf within and beyond 200 nm, including Article 83. The tribunal quoted its earlier decision in Barbados v Trinidad and Tobago that says “there is in law only a single Continental Shelf rather than an inner Continental Shelf and a separate extended or outer Continental Shelf”. The Tribunal also noted the distinction between the delimitation of the Continental Shelf under Article 83 and delineation of the outer limits under Article 76. The delimitation of the Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm required the interpretation and application of Article 76 and 83 of UNCLOS 1982. It also laid down the decision of Bangladesh v. Myanmar that the delimitation beyond 200 nm should be in

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conformity with Article 76. The Tribunal also indicated that the appropriate method for delimitation should be single Continental Shelf irrespective of area within or beyond 200 nm and the equidistance/relevant circumstances method for delimitation. The Tribunal further remarked that, “International jurisprudence on the delimitation of the Continental Shelf does not recognize a general right of coastal States to the maximum reach of their entitlements, irrespective of the geographical situation and the rights of other coastal States”. The Tribunal rejected arguments by Bangladesh’s concerning the cut-off effect and coastal concavity of an equidistance line stating that the delimitation of the Continental Shelf within 200 nm continues to apply for delimitation of the Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm and that relevant circumstances have a continuing effect on such delimitation. The adjusted equidistance line delimiting the EEZ and Continental Shelf within 200 nm continues in the same direction beyond 200 nm, until it reaches the area where rights of third states may be affected. The Tribunal further adjusted the provisional equidistance line within and beyond 200 nm to achieve equitable result by stating that, “Provisional equidistance line adjustments will allow the coasts of the Parties in terms of maritime entitlements, a reasonable and mutually balanced way and must not infringe the rights of third States”.

Conclusion Malaysia have done its level best in registering her interest and claims by submitting her Extended Continental Shelf Claim beyond 200 nm including the latest Unilateral Submission on the same matter. By doing this Malaysia has explored the avenue of Article 76 process and procedures. This shows that Malaysia upholds and respects the international law process under the Convention. As mentioned earlier, CLCS also stated that States may wish to take advantage of the avenues available to them in the intervening period including provisional arrangements of a practical nature as mentioned in Annex I of RoP (CLCS/64, 2009). Malaysia may also consider the option of presenting her claims under ITLOS, ICJ or PCA to delimit the Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm as reflected in the latest decisions of Bangladesh, India and Nicaragua. The related case examples with points that have been raised are good options for Malaysia to consider as one of the avenue in dealing with Malaysia’s deferred Joint Submission on the Extended Continental Shelf relating to beyond 200 nm. 71


Significance Of Malaysia’s Extended Continental Shelf Claims Beyond 200nm And Related Dispute Resolutions In addition that, Malaysia and Viet Nam could also explore securing a ruling under Annex VII (Arbitration). Most importantly, the joint submission with Viet Nam “was a legitimate undertaking in the implementation of each State’s obligations as States Parties to the Convention” (CLCS/64, 2009) and Malaysia and Viet Nam have clearly marked the existence of Continental Shelf entitlement beyond 200 nm.

References CLCS, C. o. (1982, December 10). Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS). Retrieved from United Nations: https://www.un.org/Depts/los/clcs_new/ clcs_home.htm CLCS, C. o. (n.d.). Preliminary information indicative of the outer limits of the Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm. Retrieved from United Nations: Preliminary information indicative of the outer limits of the continehttps://www.un.org/Depts/ los/clcs_new/commission_preliminary.htm CLCS/62, CLCS/70, & CLCS/98. (2009, 2011 and 2017, April 2009, May 2011 and April 2017 20, 11 and 17). Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS). Retrieved from United Nations: https://www.un.org/Depts/los/clcs_new/commission_ submissions.htm CLCS/64, S. b. (2009, October 1). Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS). Retrieved from United Nations: http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/UNDOC/ GEN/N09/536/21/PDF/N0953621 and http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/ GEN/N14/284/31/PDF/N1428431 Grignon, G. (2013, October). Extension of the Continental Shelf Beyond 200 nm: an asset for France. Retrieved from European, Economic and Social Committee: https:// www.eesc.europa.eu/ceslink/resources/docs/13-12-avis-plateau-continental-eng. pdf Haller-Trost, R. (1998). Chapter 8: The Spratly Islands. In R. Haller-Trost, The Contested Maritime and Territorial Boundaries of Malaysia (p. 323). International Boundary Studies Series, Kluwer Law International Law Ltd. Jalil, J. A. (2020). The South China Sea and Malaysia’s Claims on Continental Shelf and Extended Continental Shelf Beyond 200 nm. In A. L. BA Hamzah (ed), Malaysia and South China Sea, Policy, Strategy and Risks. Kuala Lumpur: National Defence University of Malaysia. North Sea Continental Shelf Cases (Federal Republic of Germany/Denmark; Federal Republic of Germany/Netherlands, I.C.J. Reports (International Court of Justice February 20, 1969). Progress of Work, C. (2014, March 31). Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), Selected Documents of the Commission. Retrieved from United Nations:https: //www.un.org/Depts/los/clcs_new/commission_documents. htm#Statements%20by%20the%20Chair%20of%20the%20Commission

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Permanent Court of Arbitartion (PCA), July 12, 2016.The Matter of the South China Sea Arbitration before An Arbitral Tribunal Constituted Under Annex VII to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea between The Republic of the Philippines and The People’s Republic of China, Award on Merits, 2013-19. Bay of Bengal Maritime Boundary Arbitration between Bangladesh and India, Award of 7 July 2014, para. 438, 441, 442, 443, 447, 452, 454, 469, 477, 77 (PCA July 7, 2014). Dispute Concerning the Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary between Bangladesh and Myanmar in the Bay of Bengal (Bangladesh/Myanmar), Judgment of 14 March 2012, para 461, 16 (ITLOS March 14, 2012). Dispute Concerning the Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary between Bangladesh and Myanmar in the Bay of Bengal (Bangladesh/Myanmar), Judgment of 14 March 2012, para 462, 368, 455, 16 (ITLOS March 14, 2012). Territorial and Maritime Dispute (Nicaragua v. Colombia) Judgment of 19 November 2012, para. 111, 117, 125, 130, 131 (I.C.J. November 19, 2012). Territorial and Maritime Dispute between Nicaragua and Honduras in the Caribbean Sea (Nicaragua v. Honduras), Judgment I.C.J. Reports 2007, para 120, 127 and 128 (I.C.J. October 8, 2007). Territorial and Maritime Dispute between Nicaragua and Honduras in the Caribbean Sea (Nicaragua v. Honduras), Judgment I.C.J. Reports 2007, para 319, 109 (I.C.J. October 8, 2007).

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CHAPTER FIVE

SECURITY AND IDEATIONAL DIMENSIONS OF MALAYSIA’S MARITIME ASPIRATION: AN APPRAISAL Ruhanas Harun

Introduction For most of its existence since independence, Malaysia’s national security has been focused on mitigating threats on land. However, in recent years, with the advent of globalisation and the rekindling of Malaysia’s aspiration to become a maritime nation, more attention has been paid to threats emanating from the sea. There is an increasing awareness about the maritime dimension of Malaysia’s national security among policy makers and those tasked to secure peace and security in the country. This awareness came about as Malaysia has recognised the fact that it is a maritime nation. There is thus a need to protect this position from threats that may derail or delay further the process. Issues related to the maritime security of Malaysia range from incursions into its Territorial Waters, transnational crimes, piracy, sea robbery threat to its maritime infrastructures and others. Despite many efforts by the Malaysian authorities to deal with the problems, they still persist, and seemingly aggravated by new emerging challenges to national security. This chapter aims to assess the problems of maritime security in Malaysia coupled with the need to embed a strategic maritime culture in the context of building Malaysia as a successful maritime nation.

Southeast Asia: A Maritime Crossroads Malaysia is strategically situated in Southeast Asia (SEA). Together with Indonesia and Singapore, it controls the Straits of Malacca (SoM), described as one of the busiest waterways in the world. Malaysia, in particular, the Malay Peninsula has always

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served as a strategic land bridge between continental Asia and its archipelagic parts (Jesuhrun, 1999). Malaysia exhibits many characteristics of a maritime nation. Its extended territorial claims in the South China Sea (SCS) and the assertion of its rights to its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) was influenced by strategic considerations as much as by economic ones. The importance of Malaysia as a maritime nation and its maritime assets is inevitably linked to that of SEA. This region’s reputation as a maritime crossroads is anchored in histories of trade and empire. Famed as the locale of the “spice islands”, traders shipped nutmeg, cloves and later pepper across the Indian Ocean to the Middle East and the Mediterranean long before such products drew Europeans to the region in the early 16th century. Malaysia’s maritime trade has a similarly long history. Today, modern SEA continues to be linked into the wider economic and trading systems of the contemporary period. All ASEAN countries, with exception of Laos, are maritime states in the sense that they have coastlines, deepwater harbours, seafaring populations and economies that include fishing, maritime trade, sea transport, seabed exploration and shipbuilding (Evers, 2019). Indonesia remains the largest archipelagic state in the world. The Malaysian EEZ is about two times larger than its land mass. The Philippines has also acquired the status of an archipelago. Today, more than ever, SEA serves to underscore the vibrancy of other forms of interactions and exchange beyond the economics. This vibrancy of connections, both intraregional as well as interregional is seen in other forms - social, cultural, geopolitical and political. The integration of SEA (and Malaysia) into the modern world system created many advantages for regional countries because of their strategic position along the maritime route connecting East and West. Among the countries identified as maritime nations of SEA, Singapore is the most advanced in terms of having efficient maritime infrastructures and abundant maritime economic activities. During the period of Western colonization, Singapore was a strategic centre of great importance: it sat at the crossroads of two major oceans and evolved into an economic focal point for all SEA, important for both trade and shipping (Richard, 1999). Its entry into the modern world system pushed Singapore towards the centre of the maritime trade, while other countries, although on track, are still having to catch up due to the lack of ‘world-class’ infrastructures and less efficient management to fully accommodate maritime economic activities. Indonesia has also reiterated its desire to take advantage of its position as an archipelagic state with its maritime fulcrum policy as declared by President Joko Widodo when he became President of Indonesia. For Indonesia, its significance as a maritime nation is not just for economic purposes, but to actualise its social, historical and cultural links to the sea. For Indonesians, “laut adalah sumber kehidupan“ (the sea is the source of life). The Indonesian strategic culture is also linked to the sea, so is its history. Although Indonesians may trace their maritime roots well before the coming of European colonialism, it was the Dutch colonialism that brought the realisation about the importance of the sea through trade and capitalist exploitation of the region. Maritime economic activities and networks shape the 76


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patterns of trade and sea voyages between the regions of Indonesia contributing to the national economic integration of the nation. (Zuhdi, 2014). While the maritime activities in Indonesia gave the nation its national pride in integration, they also have security implications for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Indonesia. In general, there are three types of factors influencing or conditioning a nation to embrace itself as a maritime nation. The physical factors are important determinants, which include the physical shape, nature, the length of its coastlines, and easy access to Sea Lanes of Communications (SLOCs). The second type of factors influencing the decision to become a maritime nation includes security and stability at the country’s land borders and ready access to or control of its naval bases and chokepoints. The third consideration is categorised as the ideational factors, which in essence comprise the strategic culture of continental or maritime strategic culture. In countries that are considered as maritime nations, most if not all of these elements are present. While the physical elements are natural phenomenon or fixed assets, the other two are less so because they can be shaped and harnessed through national policies and practices that conform to the development of a maritime nation.

Rekindling the Idea of a Maritime Nation Malaysia’s origin as a maritime nation can be traced back to the rise of the Malay kingdom of Malacca as a maritime state. Malacca was an important entrepot in the Nusantara region as centre for trade and spices. The geographical position of Malacca, with the SoM connecting the two oceans, the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean added to this advantage. Tome Pires, describing the importance of Malacca said that “whoever controls the SoM, controls Venice” (Potter, 2012). But the defeat of Malacca to the Portuguese in 1511 signalled the end of a Malay maritime kingdom, although Malacca continued to exist under European colonial masters, the Dutch and British, with one succeeding the other. However, much of its grandeur as a maritime state declined and eventually eclipsed with the rise of other centres later, such as Singapore. The coming of the European colonialism gradually eclipsed the idea of the maritime Malay world, although Malacca as a maritime Malay kingdom remains an inspiration for Malaysia to re-emerge today as a modern maritime nation. However, this “re-emergence” comes about in a different geopolitical and sociocultural environment than that of Malacca five centuries ago, a factor that must be considered when assessing the problem and the ability of Malaysia to become a successful maritime state today. This host of factors must be understood and accommodated in analysing the difficulties that the country has to contend with in her aspiration to become a maritime nation. Legacy alone is not sufficient to crystallise Malaysia into a truly maritime nation. The nation has to overcome many obstacles that in the past have led to the neglect of her maritime advantages or assets that 77


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could be developed or converted into a maritime nation. One of these obstacles is the conception of national security of Malaysia where the maritime dimension did not loom large enough to merit the attention it deserved. But recent geopolitical and geostrategic developments in the region have pushed Malaysia to rethink her national security to include the maritime dimension.

The Maritime Dimension of Malaysia’s National Security National security can be defined in terms of its objectives and the core values it seeks to protect. It refers to the manner in which the state protects itself from threats and its ability to preserve those core values (Harun, 2009). Many definitions of national security reflect the Realist school of thought’s preoccupation with military threat in a nation’s survival. Harold Brown defines national security of the United States as the “ability to preserve the nation’s physical integrity and territory; to maintain its economic relations with the rest of the world on reasonable terms; to protect its nature, institutions, governance from disruption from outside and to control its borders” (Brown, 1972). Other definitions includes the protection of and extend of national values which are considered vital (Simonie and Trager, 1973 in Brown, 1972) and an assertion that security rises and falls with the ability of a nation to deter an attack (Arnold Wolfers, 1962 in Ayoob, 1983). The economic well–being of a nation is also an inextricable part of national security (Alagappa, 1987). This is especially relevant for developing nation such as Malaysia where a deteriorating economy can give rise to internal instability and threatens social harmony. For developing countries the economic well-being of their citizens is certainly a goal that has security implications (Harun, 2009) In the Malaysian context, the above concepts and definitions are relevant in explaining national security. However, the simplest way to explain Malaysia’s national security conception and approaches is to discuss it in relation to specific threats faced by the country. These factors are significant in shaping the threat perception of the country’s elite in its national security thinking and in the formulation of policies to deal with threats (Harun, 2009). This may also help to explain why the Malaysia has been for a long time more inclined towards “land security threats” in its national security focus. Malaysia had to face land-based security issues such as communist insurgency which forced the government to look towards land resettlement as a mechanism of control. The socio-economic development and infrastructures too, were land-based. Roads and railways were constructed for transportation and distribution of goods. To alleviate poverty among rural population, the government focused on land development projects such as FELDA. This was in contrast to the meagre level of attention paid to the livelihood of fishermen which became one of the symbols of poverty in Malaysia. Malaysia for a long time was “built and developed” based on land. To contain threats 78


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arising out of the communist insurgency, the Malaysian government introduced the new village concept, which was proven successful. So was the concept of security and development (Keselamatan dan Pembangunan – KESBAN), a concept which emphasised on the duality and synergy of functions of security and development to win the hearts and mind of the population in the fight against communist insurgency in Malaysia. One can qualify this as a policy to respond to an essentially land-based threat. If the above land-based threats justified the national security focus away from the sea or oceans, there are other obstacles towards embedding the maritime dimension in national security thinking. The Malays, who were seafarers and were closely connected to the sea and the maritime traditions, became disconnected with this maritime past. Not only they have almost lost their maritime past, they are also not inspired to return to their maritime roots and civilisation. Although there is still fond memories of the grandeur of Malacca as a maritime state, little of the maritime attributes are translated or manifested in their socio-cultural lives of the population. The connection between the “hulu” and “hilir” (upstream and downstream), meaning the connection between the land and the sea no longer holds sway in the minds of the people. Thus the changing lifestyle of the population and the cultural developments of the society gradually shifted from the sea to the land. Although physically the country had always been surrounded by seas, the maritime thinking has become marginalised or even dormant for quite a long time. If at all it can be seen as a consolation to this neglect of maritime source and culture, this fate is not just confined to Malaysia. Indonesia too had unwittingly oriented towards the land, despite its identity as an archipelagic nation (Zuhdi, 2014). However, for Indonesia it never meant a complete alienation from its maritime past, for geography and socio-cultural activities forced it to retain many aspects of its maritime civilisation. It was in recognition of this fact President Joko Widodo announced his policy of the Indonesian maritime fulcrum. Malaysia too has become aware of her own maritime legacy and assets that could be channelled into making the country a maritime nation. The sea has become a source of economic life for the country, but at the same time the resources around it must be protected and secured to enable them to be converted into resources that would facilitate and consolidate Malaysia as a maritime nation.

Consolidating Malaysia as a Maritime Nation External and internal developments have set in the rethinking about national strategies and objectives of Malaysia as a maritime nation. Still many questions remain to be answered. In discussing the future and potential of Malaysia as a maritime nation, an analyst asked these pertinent questions: Has Malaysia made use of her 79


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geopolitical location between the Indian Ocean, the SCS and the Pacific Ocean? Has Malaysia fulfilled her historical and geopolitical role of ‘connecting oceans’? Has Malaysia already become a ‘maritime nation’ in terms of her economy, sociocultural awareness and policy? And what could such a maritime policy look like? (Evers, 2019), and befittingly he noted that “this question must be answered by the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya”. In addition to civilizational factors and the long duration of history, the successful development of a maritime economy depends on several additional factors, from natural to financial and human resources, but in the first instance on natural locational factors like coastlines, rivers, safe harbours and access to shipping lanes and fishing grounds (Evers, 2019). It is generally acknowledged that a high percentage of Malaysia’s economy is from the maritime sector, although in terms of ranking by maritime performance, Malaysia occupies a middle position (fifth place) among the ASEAN countries (Evers, 2019). In terms of maritime economic infrastructure, Malaysia offers great facilities such as ports and port cities. They are regarded as nodal points in these differing rates of connectivity. Malaysia has a total of seven major federal ports and several ports under state jurisdictions in Sabah and Sarawak. The sea is also becoming a popular tourist spot, and Malaysia has much to offer. Her beaches are well known for leisure seekers, and dive spots for the more adventurous ones. It is true that geography confers many advantages to Malaysia, but at the same time it also became a source of vulnerabilities especially in the areas of security and external relations. In view of the unpredictable security environment, these activities need to be protected and secured. The question that arises is, how equipped is Malaysia to deal with these threats so as to provide a secure environment to her maritime economic structure, territory and population to enable these resources and sectors to be exploited to benefit the national economy?

The Sea and Its Security Vulnerabilities The geographical separation of Malaysia into two parts, the Malay Peninsula (West Malaysia) and the East Malaysian territories of Sabah and Sarawak, situated on the island of Borneo contributed to the awareness about the role of the sea in the national security thinking, hence an impulse towards conceptualising maritime security as a pillar of national security and identifying what these threats are. The two parts of Malaysia are separated by a vast stretch of water, the SCS. This situation gives rise to a serious concern and vulnerability, especially at present when the security environment in the regional waters is highly unpredictable. Today maritime threats or threats related to the sea, directly or indirectly, have become so obvious that they could no longer be ignored. They include illegal immigrants, sea robbery, piracy, incursions from external forces, terrorism, and many other threats to national security which find their way to Malaysia via the sea. In addition, the SCS has 80


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become a contested maritime space between several countries including Malaysia and China, and with worrying security implications. One of the consequences of European colonialism in SEA is the problem of territorial and boundary disputes among many states in the region. This is so because the colonial powers, according to Zuhdi (2014), “reconceptualised SEA which was previously fluid, into a new cartography reflecting the colonial rivalry in the 19th and 20th centuries” Many of these disputes are maritime in nature, which add to the already host of dangers emanating from the sea.

Assessing the Roles of Security Agencies in Providing Maritime Security Traditionally, the navy plays an important role in the maritime security of any nation. In Malaysia, the task of securing the national maritime waters are with the navy. Malaysia shares maritime borders with Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Viet Nam and Brunei. In the past, the protection of the country’s maritime borders has been tasked to the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN). Today, the navy shares this responsibility with other agencies such as the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and the marine police. But the RMN has its own constraint to effectively take up the responsibility alone. It is relatively small and has a moderate marine weapons systems as compared to its neighbours, and also disproportionately inadequate to the responsibilities it has to undertake. In order to truly secure her sovereignty, it is estimated that the country requires a fleet of at least 20 frigates, of which six or seven could then be permanently deployed in Malaysia’s Territorial Waters (Ramli and Sukiman, 2019). Over the past decades, Malaysia’s maritime areas have faced persistent security challenges of both traditional and non-traditional nature (Kasmin, 2009). These maritime issues include the overlapping claims of offshore island and EEZ in the SCS, intractable maritime boundary issues, protection and preservation of both living and non-living marine resources, navigation safety in the SoM and Straits of Singapore and combating illegal activities such as illegal fishing, illegal immigration, smuggling, piracy and robbery. Since the 9/11 incident, the security issues of the SoM has been at the forefront of maritime issues, not only in Malaysia, but also in this region (Kasmin, 2009).

Strengthening Maritime Capabilities in Dominating the Sea A coastal state becomes a maritime nation when its national ambition to develop and exploit maritime capabilities is considered vital for national security and prosperity. A coastal State has to dominate the sea in order to use if effectively for the purposed of national security and prosperity. To dominate the sea, Malaysia has to develop her own maritime capabilities, i.e. the combination of military maritime capabilities (naval capabilities) and civilian capabilities. The role of the RMN in safeguarding the nation’s maritime security is a long standing one. 81


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The National Defence White Paper published in late 2019 provided specific roles for the navy in achieving the national defence objective of a secure, sovereign and prosperous nation. By virtue of her EEZ, Malaysia has a sea area two times larger than its land area. The importance of the sea to Malaysia is expected to increase due to a number of reasons. They include the extent of shared maritime boundaries with neighbouring states, the increase in the number of ships transiting through the SoM (which is recorded as over 85,000 ships per annum), and the recognition that Malaysia is one of the top 20 trading nations in the world where 90% percent of its trade is seaborne as well as the emergence of major ports throughout the country (Chief of Navy Keynote address, 2020). In such a setting, the role of the RMN is essential in ensuring that the nation’s sovereign rights and security be guaranteed. To this end, the RMN is entrusted with two roles, primary and secondary roles. The primary role consists of protecting Malaysia’s sovereignty and maritime interests from traditional and non-traditional threats. This involves the use of naval force in both offensive and defensive operations to protect national interest, territory and trade. The secondary role of the RMN is described as to conduct Military Operations Other Than War (MOOTW) including Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), Search and Rescue (SAR), Non–Combatant Evacuation Operations (NEO), and assisting the civil authorities in maritime law enforcement (CN Keynote address, 2020). The RMN has outlined three strategies that fits into the three pillars of the Malaysia’s National Defence Strategy, namely Capability Acquisition and Sustainment, Collaboration and Defence Diplomacy (CN Keynote Address, 2020). The strategy of Capability Acquisition and Sustainment envisages a transformation of the present fleet from the existing 15 classes of ships to just 5 classes. The Navy also has plans to acquire new Maritime Operations Helicopters, Unmanned Aerial Systems and Fast Interceptor Crafts. In view of the increase threats to maritime security and that Malaysia has declared itself as a maritime nation, such requirement of assets is not only justified, but also urgently needed. The Navy’s ability to defend and protect Malaysia’s maritime interests is also to be enhanced through a second strategy of collaboration. This is necessary in view of the frequently cited budget constraints and the need for inter-agency cooperation for the purpose of effectiveness implementation. Examples of collaboration between the RMN and other agencies include collaboration with Malaysia International Shipping Corporation Berhad (MISC) and PETRONAS in implementing Sea Basing initiative in Eastern Sabah. The RMN has also provided security for MISC ships while they transit through the Gulf of Eden in ‘Ops Fajar’. The RMN also introduced initiatives to help the maritime community, especially fishermen, boat owners and boat operators to communicate with the RMN in times of emergency and perceived threat while out at sea (CN Key note Address, 2020). The third strategy in enhancing Malaysia’s maritime security is Defence Diplomacy. The RMN has long-standing bilateral and 82


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multilateral engagements with all ASEAN countries and beyond. The RMN’s bilateral and multilateral cooperation involves Confidence Building- Measures such as Navy to Navy Talks, Defence Cooperation Programmes, Coordinated Patrols, Exercises, Ships Visits, and Training Cooperation and Exchange Programmes. To achieve the aspiration of a true maritime nation, the Navy is without doubt one of the most, if not the most, essential guarantee of national security with regards to maritime security and interests. Without a respectable and credible navy, such dreams will be hard to fulfil. As land-based threats have been effectively mitigated, some of the resources hitherto focused on the army could now be channelled to the Navy in order to facilitate and consolidate its role as the protector of the nation’s maritime interests. Maritime threats and insecurity are varied and abundant in the waters surrounding Malaysia, therefore the Navy, in collaboration with other maritime related agencies must be equipped with capabilities that correspond or commensurate its tasks and responsibilities. Compared to other maritime related agencies, the Navy is the oldest and most associated with maritime security activities. In Malaysia, this is more so as even other security agencies collaborated with the Navy, and in the process, came to adopt the Navy’s maritime culture of resilience, perseverance and esprit de corps as traditionally exhibited by sea men. All these are qualities and characteristics, together with adequate material power are necessary for security agencies to carry out the responsibility of protecting the nation’s maritime interest. The importance of the Navy in the protection and security of a maritime nation does not exclude the responsibilities and the need for other maritime security agencies. In Malaysia, the need for inter-agency collaboration has led to the formation of security agencies such as MMEA, the Marine Police and RELA, among others. The nature of today’s maritime threats has evolved to become more complex which explains the need to establish these agencies that not only will complement the Navy’s task, but also may relieve the Navy of some of the unnecessary. Also the setting up of these agencies will resolve some of the problems of uncertainty of jurisdictions in the implementation of maritime security mechanisms and decisions. The ever changing security environment requires innovation in addressing these security threats and challenges.

Maritime Security Issues and Regional Cooperation Besides strengthening her own maritime security capabilities in order to facilitate the transition towards a maritime nation and to uphold the gains achieved in the process, Malaysia also saw the necessity to work closely with regional countries, especially her immediate neighbours with similar maritime interests and preoccupations. This is done through direct engagement within bilateral and multilateral frameworks, and at the same time accepting the cooperation of extra regional powers who are keen to ensure the safety of navigation and passage through the waters of SEA where security 83


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could not be fully guaranteed. Malaysia has established cooperation with regional countries such as Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam as well as extra regional countries such as US, China and Japan. One of the most important countries for Malaysia in terms of maritime security cooperation is Indonesia. This is because of her close proximity with Indonesia, longstanding historical, social and cultural relations involving the sea. The two countries share both land and maritime boundaries, but more often than not, problems and tensions in their relations are caused by maritime issues, including illegal migration, trans-national crime such as smuggling, piracy, fishing violation, territorial dispute and occasional show of force. Close security cooperation between the two neighbours has long been established to resolve land based security issues along the border of Kalimantan and Sarawak, including the SOSEK – MALINDO social and economic cooperation. Maritime cooperation have also been established between the two nations, such as the coordinated patrols in the SoM. Maritime security cooperation with Indonesia is necessary not only as an effective means to mitigate threats, but also to optimise cooperation in the exploitation of economic resources. The surrounding seas provide both countries with economic resources, but at the same time it also became a source of tension. Thousands of Indonesian immigrants, legal and undocumented use the SoM to come ashore on the West Coast of the Peninsular Malaysia. The sea is also a place of “confrontation” between Malaysian and Indonesia maritime authorities regarding fishing violations, transgression of maritime borders and the unresolved issue of overlapping claims over Ambalat. In 2011, for example, their navies almost came to a collusion encounter in Ambalat area, with Indonesian press and public provocative actions about Malaysia as the aggressor in the case. Luckily, and partly due to their close relationship especially between military leadership of the two countries, common sense prevailed and conflict was averted, at least temporarily. A maritime conflict involving Malaysia and Indonesia will affect not only their political and economic relations, but will also jeopardise maritime security in the SoM, the Sulu Sea area and the SCS. Users of the SoM who are dependent on the safety and security for transhipment from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean will also suffer. As Malaysia and Indonesia control large portion of the maritime areas in the region, a conflict between the two will inevitably lead to undesirable consequences affecting all countries in ASEAN politically and in terms of security. As an archipelagic State, maritime issues are major security issues in Indonesia. These maritime security problems include an increase in pirate attacks on ships and smuggling of illegal migrants (thousands of illegal migrants from Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and even Iraq have crossed Indonesian waters to seek asylum or refuge in Australia). The illegal fishing by foreign fishing vessels also led to the loss of billions of dollars per year to Indonesia (Sukma, 2011). Besides illegal fishing activities in its Territorial Waters, Indonesia is also vulnerable to external influence from big countries to extend their influence in Indonesia. Thus cooperation among regional states, 84


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especially with neighbouring countries will allow Indonesia to avoid pressures and dependency on extra regional powers for its security. An ease of tension in Malaysia-Indonesia bilateral relations would also allow the two countries to look for reasonable ways to resolve the issue of overlapping claims in Ambalat (Karang Unarang) in the Celebes Sea, an area considered as a thorn the flesh in their bilateral relations. While Malaysia sees the need to patrol the area for security purpose, these patrols by the RMN in the area is considered by Indonesia as a “military threat”. Several incidents involving RMN and the Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL) led to the Indonesian navy to declare that “the biggest conflict potential comes from Malaysia” (Mohd Nazir, 2017). The loss of Sipadan and Ligitan to Malaysia has left Indonesia with a bitter taste and vowed that “pisang tidak akan berbuah dua kali” (it will not happen again). Despites such tensions at sea, Malaysia-Indonesia maritime cooperation is longstanding. Nevertheless, there are still obstacles to fruitful outcomes in areas of maritime security. Besides the often expressed inadequate naval capabilities of both countries, joint or coordinated actions to counter maritime threats are not as effective in view of the fact that individual security and national interests of each country takes precedent over joint interests. It is asserted that the coordinated patrol of the SoM by Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia (MALSINDO Coordinated Patrol) provided an opportunity for the Indonesian navy to increase the presence of its ships on the pretext of ‘securing’ the strait, whereas in actual fact, it enabled Indonesia to implement an “aggressive patrol in the SoM, resulting in several unwanted incidents with Malaysian maritime authorities” (Mohd Nazir, 2017). The Natuna issue is another thorn in the flesh in Malaysia-Indonesia maritime relations. The areas around Natuna Island (which belongs to Indonesia) occupy a strategic position in Malaysian security and defence consideration. Natuna commands the sea lane between West Malaysia (the Peninsula) and East Malaysia. Situated in the centre of the commercial sea lanes of SCS, any maritime and air movements between the Peninsula and Sabah/Sarawak will have to pass through the air and maritime space of Natuna. Its strategic position can be equalled to that of the American military base of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean (Mohd Nazir, 2017). Indonesia has stepped up its capabilities in Natuna for two main purposes. The first is to prepare for any eventualities with China, and the second is it will enable Indonesia to obstruct any military operations between Peninsula Malaysia and East Malaysia in case of conflict. It is estimated that the Indonesian military (TNI) combat radius can attain as far as the RMN base in Teluk Sepanggar about 900 km in Sabah (Mohd Nazir, 2017). Apart from the tension and its potential of degenerating into an open conflict between the two countries, Malaysia’s maritime security concern also extends to other areas bordering Indonesia such as in the Johor Sea and the Sulu Sea. These areas are also familiar areas for Malaysian fishermen, thus the possibility of collusion with Indonesian 85


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authorities, either its navy or marine police cannot be excluded. In the past, Indonesian maritime authorities have arrested Malaysian fishing boats for trespassing into Indonesian Territorial Waters. Tensions also occurred between maritime authorities of both countries in the SoM for the same reasons. Such incidents created diplomatic tensions between the two countries which necessitated the interventions of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of both countries to avoid damaging bilateral relations. Besides Indonesia, another country of importance to Malaysia in the issue of maritime security and cooperation is The Philippines. The close proximity of the maritime boundaries between the two countries and the conflict in South Philippines resulted in many security problems for Malaysia. The Malaysian state of Sabah shares close maritime boundaries with The Philippines, and as such spill-overs from the conflict and instability in the South Philippines are inevitable. They include transnational crimes, illegal immigration from The Philippines to Malaysia, terrorism and smuggling. Incidences of piracy have also created negative impacts on the socio-economic of the local population and to the international shipping companies operating in the area. The conflict in the Southern Philippines also resulted in the exodus of refugees to the Malaysian state of Sabah, with all the political, social and security implications affecting Malaysia’s national security. This has also became a source of tension in Malaysia-Philippines relations. The problem is compounded by increasing number of stateless children born to Filipino illegal immigrants and refugees residing in Malaysian territory, thus creating another national security issue. Malaysia and The Philippines have established some form of cooperation to mitigate the above-mentioned problems. However, it is to be observed that maritime cooperation between Malaysia and The Philippines have not been successful in mitigating these threats because of the differences in their national security pre-occupation and priorities, alongside the instability in the Southern Philippines. As long as these uncertainties exist, it will be difficult to resolve the security problems in the maritime areas in the Sulu Sea. Cooperation with The Philippines is necessary in view of the fact that both share long maritime boundaries in the Borneo waters. Despite the goodwill and intention on both sides, there remains many challenges as to the effectiveness of the task due to the limited capacity and capability in patrolling the wide seas around Sabah and the region of Southern Philippines (Harun, 2009). The SoM remains a high priority maritime security area for Malaysia. In 2005, the littoral states maritime security arrangement was established through the setting up of MALSINDO, comprising Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Through this arrangement, littoral states coordinated maritime security activities with view to reduce insecurity in the area. For Malaysia especially, this arrangement was welcomed as it would be able to relieve some of the pressures of the task of guarding the strait through the sharing of responsibilities, including sharing of information on security. In general, it is said that regional countries are averse to multilateral arrangement in security 86


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operation of their Territorial Waters for fear that such arrangement may undermine their sovereignty. However, the creation of MALSINDO cooperation seemed to have dispelled that idea.

Challenges of Safeguarding Malaysian Waters Safeguarding Malaysian maritime waters is not without challenges. One of the most frequently cited challenges in safeguarding Malaysian waters is the state of readiness of the security agencies tasked to do this. Outdated infrastructures and budget constraints contributed to the inefficacy of providing security on the part of security agencies. This is aggravated by fact that these agencies are burdened with secondary tasks, thus reducing the focus and time spent on operations, necessary to secure the long coastlines of Sabah. In addition, the close proximity of Sabah to The Philippines islands pose difficulty in combating maritime threats, especially piracy. It is known that pirates do not operate in isolation, but quite often with some help from informants. Many of the legal and illegal immigrants in Sabah have family connections with the locals living on the edge of the waters and across the border in The Philippines. The Lahad Datu incident in February 2013 and the establishment of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) again revealed the necessity for the various security enforcement agencies to come under one command system. The task of coordinating operations, intelligence gathering and other related tasks cannot be shouldered by agencies separately. The Lahad Datu incident and the handling of it revealed the importance of effective collaboration between the various security agencies, including coordination at the federal and state levels in various aspects such as operational, political and legal. The MMEA, which since 2011 has been named as the sole agency on sea security, including search and rescue mission and prevention of piracy and drugs has facilitated coordination of tasks of these agencies. It has taken a long time for the various agencies to understand this, and finally come to accept the fact that they are partners, not rivals in the quest for maritime security in Sabah, or in other parts of Malaysia. Following the Sipadan and Ligitan incidents, the Malaysian authorities responded immediately and launched a major operation code-named Ops Pasir in September 2009 with the deployment of security forces at strategic spots in the area. But ensuring security in the area came with a high cost, as the government revealed that it has spent millions of ringgit which put a stress on the national budget. With so much efforts put in to defend the maritime areas of Malaysia, questions remain as to why the issue is still creating much concern to the country. Despite these efforts, cross-border kidnappings and other crimes still occurred. Malaysia it seems will have to live with this geo-strategic vulnerabilities because of her proximity to The Philippines and its unsolved domestic security situation. In the words of a military personnel, “although numerous measures have been taken to address the problems 87


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of cross-border crimes, they have been difficult to resolve.” One of the main reasons is due to the geographical factor-Sabah’s vast coastline, long porous borders, the presence of many islands along Sabah’s waters and its close proximity to troubled neighbours, especially The Philippines. The presence of stateless people or sea-nomad, who roamed freely around the east coast of Sabah and The Philippines is also a cause for concern for the Malaysian authorities in this quest to secure Sabah waters. The areas where they are mostly to be found are in Kudat, Sandakan, Lahad Datu and Semporna. The difficulty to resettle them for the purpose of control is due to their statelessness, coupled with the fact that they are socio-culturally part of the landscape since their ancestors have been living in the area even before the concept of modern state borders. All these factors makes it problematic for Sabah, which happens to have plentiful of resources for Malaysia as a maritime nation. Thus, despite being endowed with resources, unresolved security issues reduce the ability to optimise them towards the development of Malaysia as a maritime nation.

Conclusion The idea of Malaysia as a maritime nation is not new although a formal recognition of the fact that it is actually a maritime nation is a recent one. But to successfully become a maritime nation needs more than just a decree or a statement of intent. The realisation of a maritime vision for the country needs the commitment of both the government and the population. To become a successful maritime nation, both the economic and security imperatives are inevitable. Besides the twin goals harnessing economic elements and providing security, the success of Malaysia’s maritime nation will have to take into consideration the socio-cultural factors to cement the idea into the minds of the population. A maritime nation worthy of its name must reflect the extent in which all the elements of that nation - the physical, ideational and security factors will have to be present in the conception and consolidation of a maritime nation, especially in the current context of a competitive geostrategic environment. How to effectively link together the elements of geography, economic, security and socio-cultural dimensions remains a big challenge for Malaysia in transforming herself into a true maritime nation.

References Alagappa, M. (1987). National Security of Developing States. Lessons from Thailand. Mass: Aurburn House Publishing Co. Andaya, B., & Andaya, L. (2001). A History of Malaysia. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. 88


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Ayoob, M. (1983). Security in the Third World: The Worm about to Turn? International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944-), 60(1), 41-51. doi:10.2307/2618929 Buzan, B., Waever, O., & de Wilde, J.D. (1998). Security: A New Framework for Analysis. Boulder: Lynnne Rienner. Brown, H. (1972). Thinking about National Security. Defence and foreign policy in a dangerous world. Boulder: West view Press. Evers, H.D., Embong, A.R., & Ramli, R. (Eds.) (2019). Connecting Oceans. Malaysia as a Maritime Nation, Vol. 1. Bangi : Penerbit Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Harun, R. (2009). Peningkatan Kerjasama Malaysia dan Negara-negara jiran. JEBAT. Journal of History, politics and Strategy. UKM. Vol. 36. Harun, R. (2009). The evolution and Development of Malaysia’s national security. In Abdul Razak Baginda (ed) 2009. Malaysia’s defence and security since 1957. Kuala Lumpur: MSRC. Harun, R. (2016). Beyond Securitisation. Emerging Issues and evolving perceptions of migrants in Malaysia. Journal of Public Security and Safety. Vol. 6 No. 2/2016. Idris, H., & Harun, R. (2004). Malaysia as a maritime situation: prospects and challenges, JATI 9. Jeshurun, C. (1999). Malaysia: The delayed birth of a strategic culture. In Ken Booth and Russell Trood (Eds.) Strategic Cultures in the Asia-Pacific Region. London: Longmans Kasmin, S. (2009). Maritime Law Enforcement Agencies and Auxiliary Security agencies in Malaysia. In Abdul Razak Baginda (Ed.) 2009. Malaysia’s Defence and Security since 1957. Kuala Lumpur: MSRC. RMN. (2020). Keynote Address by Chief of Royal Malaysian Navy, January 2020, The Malaysian Armed Forces Staff College, Putrajaya. Mohd Nazir, M.N. (2017). Peningkatan Keupayaan Tentera Nasional Indonesia di Era Pasca Suharto dan implikasi Terhadap Keselamatan Malaysia. Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia. Tesis MA. Potter, R. (2012). The Importance of the Straits of Malacca. Available at https://www.eir.info/2012/09/07/the-importance-of-the-straits-of-malacca. Ramli, R., & Sukiman, N.A. (2019). Towards a maritime policy for Malaysia. Outline of a comprehensive framework. In Evers, H.D., Embong, A.R. and Ramli, R. (Eds.). Connecting Oceans. Malaysia as a Maritime Nation, Vol. 1. Bangi : Penerbit Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Richard, D. (1999). Singapore: Comprehensive security and total defence. In Ken Booth and Russell Trood (eds.)(1999).strategic cultures of the Asia-Pacific Region. London: Longmans. Sukma, R. (2011). Indonesia: Security Outlook, Defence Policy and Regional Cooperation. The National Institute of Defense. Tokyo Zuhdi, S. (2014). Nasionalisme, Laut dan Sejarah. Jakarta: Komunitas Bambu.

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CHAPTER SIX

MALAYSIAN MARITIME CHALLENGES ACTIVITIES AND RESPONSE Commander Muhamad Zafran Whab RMN

Introduction As a maritime nation, Malaysia has developed her maritime capabilities to protect her national interests at sea, particularly in her Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Any activity that could potentially jeopardise the economy is considered a betrayal of national interests, and strong measures must be taken to prevent it. The South China Sea (SCS) is becoming increasingly important not only in terms of defence strategy, but in terms of economic development as well. It is navigated by warships as well as merchant vessels. The SCS is rich in natural resources, such as oil and gas as well as fishery resources. These natural resources will entice many foreign countries to come and engage in illegal activities in the Malaysian EEZ, which may consequentially impact our maritime security. Many foreign activities occur in the Malaysian waters, which may have indirect impact on the economy and national security. This necessitates the security forces to collaborate with relevant agencies to protect the Malaysian territory from activities that could be harmful to the nation. This chapter discusses the foreign activities in the Malaysian EEZ and how Malaysian responds to this issue.

Understanding the Economic Exclusive Zone The EEZ is an area beyond and adjacent to the territorial sea where the coastal State’s rights and jurisdiction, as well as other State’s rights and freedoms, are governed by the provisions of Article 55 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982. Additionally, Article 57 stipulates that the EEZ shall be 200 nm 91


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from the measuring point of the baseline of the territorial sea. However, the seas are treacherous, and several countries have overlapping EEZ, a phenomenon that has only grown more complex in some cases due to the presence of excessive territorial sea straight baselines. Many EEZs are small, but countries around the world continue to fight for control for larger marine space. Conflicts ensue because of unclear EEZs. “Maritime security” has joined the international relations lexicon as a buzzword (Zulkifli & Zahari, 2021), and is now considered a part of the country’s sovereignty in the case of many major actors. This buzzword has heightened awareness of new challenges and galvanized support to address them. Malaysia’s security concerns continue to be dominated by maritime developments, which are viewed as an extension of these activities. Although there are notable exceptions, such as the invasion of the SCS by major power’s aircraft carrier-led task force. Maritime security concerns span the military and policy realms. It is therefore necessary to consider both components to fully comprehend their cumulative impacts on national security. The Malaysian Territorial Waters, on the other hand, have expanded since the Federation of Malaysia was formed in 1963 with the incorporation of Sabah and Sarawak. Malaysia has also become a country divided into two landmasses by the SCS because of this event. Malaysia has been able to expand her Territorial Waters and claim sovereign rights outside the Contiguous Zone due to the establishment of a new maritime regime, UNCLOS, in 1982. In recent years, both Indonesia and Malaysia have formulated their respectine national ocean policies, while actively working on developing their respective maritime economic infrastructures. The Malaysian Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MOSTI) had purportedly prepared a draft National Ocean Policy 20112020 to better manage Malaysia’s maritime resources. Although the policy is still in the pipeline, this would allow for further deliberation to include defence and security interests (Till & Atriandi Supriyanto, 2017). Malaysia’s most critical challenge, as an economically dependent coastal states on maritime trade, is to maintain effective maritime safety in this region. Malaysia appears to have neutralised maritime threats in this region in recent years through unilateral and multilateral security measures. However, vulnerabilities persist because of geographical constraints, sovereignty concerns, and territorial disputes. Malaysia will need to take proactive measures to increase domestic and partnership capacity with other coastal States to effectively counter these threats, and protect her economic interests and sovereignty in the future (Cronou, 2012).

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Maritime Nation Perspective “Maritime security” is one of the most recent topics in international relations. It has begun to appear in mandates, and several actors have reframed their work to incorporate it. “Maritime security” is a buzzword that attracts attention, raises awareness of emerging threats, and brings people together in efforts to respond to those threats (Bueger, 2015). Despite this, there has never been an international agreement on a definition of the term “maritime security”. Buzzwords however, according to Beuger (2015), enable international coordination of actions in the absence of consensus. These, on the other hand, are constantly in danger of concealing disagreements and political conflict. Given the impossibility of defining maritime security definitively, frameworks for identifying commonalities and disagreements are needed. Malaysia emphasises on concepts such as maritime security while avoiding the SCS issues through a combination of diplomatic, legal, economic, and security approaches. These initiatives are being implemented to assist Malaysia in serving as a claimant state while not jeopardizing its sovereignty (Parameswaran, 2015). Malaysia’s concerns on the four main interests with the SCS stemmed from the same source. The first concern is to safeguard Malaysia’s claims. Malaysia claims 11 maritime features in the SCS’s Spratlys and occupies eight of them, while Viet Nam or the Philippines occupying the remaining three. It is critical for Malaysia’s prosperity and security that these claims are protected. Secondly, Malaysia is interested in developing a strong bilateral relationship with China that extends beyond the SCS dispute. The third concern is to ensure regional peace and stability in the SCS. The fourth concern is in preserving global norms and international law in the SCS’s interest. Malaysia’s views on the SCS serve as a thoroughfare for commerce, shipping, and telecommunications, carrying about a third of the global trade. These include overarching principles such as peaceful resolution of disputes and specific agreements applicable to the SCS dispute, particularly the UNCLOS. Malaysia believes that laws and standards in the SCS assist the littoral states in achieving clarity in facing conflicting claims by establishing a common understanding without resorting to making the right approaches or destabilizing acts involving military force. Due to the long-standing disputes in the SCS, which involve several coastal states, it is currently strained and incapable of resolving disputes cannot be resolved peacefully. The matter of who can make decisions in the SCS has led to an ongoing debate (Rustandi, 2016). As stated in Chapter VII – “Decision Making”, and Article 20 of the ASEAN Charter, the ASEAN way of decision making is by consensus and consultation. Since cooperation and consensus are deeply ingrained in the culture and tradition of the ASEAN community, this code of conduct should contain multiple phases or levels of implementation, ranging from strictly following a unanimous decision to using a majority rule voting system. The potential levels between these two points 93


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should include a combination of these processes. The code of conduct should also mandate which situations require consensus and unanimity (for example, when a specific member’s well-being is directly impacted), and which situations have no direct impact on a specific member and necessitate a majority vote. The problem of cooperation in the maritime realm is so distinct from the terrestrial realm leading to highly-contentious issue in sovereignty. ASEAN members are also engaged in a conflict process, which entails militarising competing claims in the SCS concurrently with the overlapping maritime claims. This process entails open deployment of military units, naval confrontation in disputed areas, and implicit use of threats. Constructivists will argue that the inability to resort into open warfare demonstrates the ASEAN way. However, the fact remains that there are still military confrontations at sea, as opposed to cooperative and peaceful attempts to resolve disputes on land.

Maritime Security Perspective Malaysia’s top priority in the international community is maritime security. According to the National Defence Policy, strategic waterways and offshore economic interests are critical components of Malaysia’s geopolitical interests. Malaysia’s core territories include the Peninsula, Sabah, and Sarawak, as well as the Territorial Waters and airspace above these locations. Extending outwards beyond 12 nm, an area of economic interest is referred to as the EEZ in the water column, and the Continental Shelf on the seabed and in the subsoil. The Strait of Malacca (SoM) and the various approaches to it connect Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak. As a matter of geopolitics, the geographic separation of Peninsular Malaysia from Sabah and Sarawak represents a substantial threat to Malaysia’s security, with a particular interest in the intercontinental sea and air transportation linking the two territories (Stach, 2018). Malaysian territory is defined by two major bodies of water: the SoM and the SCS. The SoM connects the Indian and Pacific Oceans, thus helping to facilitate trade. This route connects Europe, the Suez Canal, the Persian Gulf, and East Asia (including such economies as China, Japan, and South Korea). Malaysia’s major ports and business centres are located along the SoM, which is critical to the country’s economy. In addition, Malaysia relies on the Sealines of Communication (SLOC) for approximately 80% of its imports and exports. Malaysia’s national security is in grave danger from political instability, the potential for military conflicts, transportation disruption, and any encroachment into the region. Malaysia also relies on the Singapore Strait to protect its security. Not only does it function as a shipping route linking Peninsular Malaysia to Sabah and Sarawak, but it is also a route used for international trade.

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Malaysia faces numerous security threats, including the theft of cargo from vessels transiting through her waters, illegal foreign fishing activities, unauthorized marine scientific research vessel activities, smuggling, illegal sand mining, illegal immigration, arms proliferation, overlapping claims, and foreign warship incursions. Figure 1 depicts the security threats faced by Malaysia.

Figure 1: Maritime security matrix Sourced from (Bueger, 2015)

The matrix additionally serves as a framework for examining which threats the actors include and exclude from their concept of maritime security. For some actors, an issue may be primarily economic, while for others, it may be a matter of national security or safety. Figure 1 also is an ideal-typical version demonstrating on how the author would connect the concepts. It is crucial to note that utilising the matrix does not imply beginning with an idealised understanding or arguing that maritime security should incorporate all four other concepts. A matrix is a tool for analysing the differences and commonalities in the perceptions of various actors. To meet the challenges of today’s security environment, which includes non-military, transnational and asymmetric threats, deterrence must be comprehensive (Iskandar, 2006). Traditional military and state actor threats are less likely to necessitate a military response, while non-traditional maritime threats frequently call for a more comprehensive response. To establish a national maritime security policy, which serves as a framework for the five considerations, Malaysian must apply an objective and systematic approach. This encompasses encouraging all relevant agencies in the maritime security sector while also examining existing policies to determine if reforms are necessary. According to Lyndsey (2006), strategic environment is considered a critical determinant of an actor’s information and the structure in which the actor operates. Knowledge can be understood as the environment conditioning an actor’s 95


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assumptions about what they know for certain and possible inference from others’ behaviour. The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) was established to implement Malaysia’s new maritime security strategy and approach. At one point of time, there were seven agencies responsible for maritime security with distinct mandates. The MMEA is now the lead maritime law enforcement agency, with the RMN next in line as the leader of maritime defence, to be followed by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), which carries out maritime air patrols. The Malaysian Department of Fisheries and the Marine Police of the Royal Malaysian Police, previously known as the Marine Operations Force, are the remaining maritime law enforcement agencies.

Activities and Reaction According to current trends, these security issues will continue to grow. Since it has been duly recognised that maritime security is critical for Malaysia’s economy and national security, the government should review its foreign policy to ensure the security and safety of our maritime territory are protected. The non-traditional security issues in the Malaysian EEZ may continue to rise. Regardless of how remote the possibility and despite the present-day stability, more attention should be paid to maritime terrorism due to its unexpected nature. The possible increase in illegal activities in the EEZ is looming due to multiple factors such as recession, poor governance, poverty or underdevelopment. Piracy and other illegal activities will increase in tandem with the littoral states’ economic condition, where underdevelopment in the region will catalyse the growth of maritime illegal activities. Mutual respect for national sovereignty, as well as the strait user States’ responsibility under Article 43 of UNCLOS, should result in cooperation to promote maritime security in the strait based on international law. If this cooperation can be developed positively, both coastal and user States will benefit, particularly on economic and security terms. The vessel operators’ business philosophy “is the right time and the right place”, and the Malaysian EEZ should be well protected to mitigate these challenges. Additional threats in Figure 1 include pollution, human trafficking, as well as perilous navigation. The pillars of strength and capability must be reinforced further to project a more favourable operating environment. Although safe navigation does not come to a halt at any physical condition, unpolluted EEZ will facilitate such. Certain environmental protection measures should be adopted to monitor among others, discharge of waste in rivers and seas, navigation speed with a minimal impact on banks, and safe engine speed to reduce pollution. Foreign activities in the Malaysian EEZ are regarded as serious threats to the country’s economy, political stability, and security. Malaysia strictly follows the UNCLOS in 96


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exercising absolute sovereign jurisdiction over her territorial sea and EEZ. To safeguard her interests, Malaysia is solely responsible and obligated to maintain maritime law and order within her territorial jurisdiction. Alas, unauthorised or unlawful military activities contradict this primary obligation and jeopardise the coastal States’ jurisdictional rights under UNCLOS regarding military activities in the EEZ. Malaysia’s approach to these foreign activities is based on deterrence and diplomacy, which necessitates international cooperation. Transnational maritime crime enables terrorist to move weapons and personnels, raise funds, and recruit new members. Many quarters are of the view that the UNCLOS is to be blamed for overlapping maritime boundaries. The problem is exacerbated further by Malaysia’s limited military capability to hold water negotiations, particularly with super powers like China. This calls for significant military maritime capabilities enhancement in order to deter future conflicts and, ideally, to gain an advantage during future negotiations.

Response to Cooperation Since the burden on maritime security has now been placed with the front-line team, recognition and reward system for third parties involved in information security, control, and updating could be established. Intelligent collaboration could be a viable option for resolving crisis. Mutual interests and respect for Territorial Waters and national sovereignty, as well as the responsibility of the user States under UNCLOS, should result in cooperation to promote maritime security in the strait based on international law. This would benefit both the coastal and user States’, economic and security-wise. Each incident is susceptible to misinterpretation and has the potential to escalate into a much larger conflict. It is critical to establish mechanisms to address perplexing maritime issues, particularly in military and intelligence-gathering operations. UNCLOS only allows foreign ships or aircrafts to carry out military operations, hydrographic surveying, or intelligence gathering in a country’s EEZ only when permitted by such coastal State. The SCS littoral States, particularly those with extensive coastlines bordering the sea like China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Viet Nam, have significant interests to safeguard their EEZs, and natural resources from encroachment. Malaysia requires a holistic approach to resolve these issues because it involves numerous actors from diverse sectors and jurisdictions. Despite commendable efforts have been made to safeguard her border and sovereignty, more visible actions at the national and international levels might demonstrate a serious commitment to maritime security, particularly in the EEZ. In most countries, naval forces are responsible for a broad range of maritime security operations including in sovereignty exercise, 97


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law enforcement, safety, environmental protection, and resource management, in addition to the more traditional military defence responsibilities. Since the military is frequently called upon to deal with situations arising from foreign activities, the law of the sea is critical to them, which prompted some form of engagement rules. For instance, in the event of a foreign vessel conducting illegal or unpermitted activities in their waters. Under the international convention, inaction may be interpreted as tacit acceptance of such activity’s legality, which may establish a precedent. Condoning this may not be good to the national security agenda. However, they have had divergent views on other issues such as military activity in the EEZ, anti-piracy or anti-terrorist enforcement measures, and territorial claims. Malaysia, as a maritime nation, must have civil and military capabilities to explore the sea on a sustainable development basis. Without the ability to exploit, whether, for natural resources or other purposes, a nation cannot be considered a maritime nation. This is critical in terms of national security and defence. Maritime law enforcement is defined in this context as taking any reasonable measures to ensure or prevent any form of violation of any Acts or applicable written law. Law enforcement, in its broadest sense, encompasses the display of presence to deter, the discovery of violations, the conduct of an investigation, the conduct of a court proceeding, and the enforcement of court decisions. However, the RMN continues to require additional capital surface combatant ships such as frigates to overcome the weakness. Numerous flaws exist, including duplication of responsibilities, a lack of coordination among enforcement agencies, a lack of central coordination and macro planning, a lack of emphasis on asset economics, military asset misuse, and the use of nonstandardised equipment. This may result in ineffective and inefficient maritime law enforcement management. To safeguard the SLOC, the MMEA and RMN may conduct local engagements, or escort Malaysian merchant ships passing through vulnerable through where a joint task force. Politically, a nation must have a well-defined national policy to promote optimal use of its territorial sea and EEZ, as well to address the issues and challenges. In terms of Malaysia’s maritime development, the EEZ committee has been studying and making recommendations since early 1979. This resulted in a recommendation for the establishment of the National Maritime Coordinating Committee (NMCC) in October 1983, which was formally established in December 1985. In October 1987, the National Maritime Council was established. The most recent development occurred in 2007, with the establishment of the MMEA. However, no clear national policy regarding maritime law enforcement exists to date. A comprehensive policy for coastal zone and ocean management, sustainable development of sea resources, protection of the marine environment, and security must be in place.

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Conclusion Malaysia’s EEZ boundary with neighbouring countries and a portion of the primary international sea route for trade, particularly in the SCS, make enforcement extremely difficult for maritime agencies. The abundance of resources and strategic location attract the occurrence of illegal maritime activities within our EEZ. The government should take maritime threats and security more seriously and aggressively to safeguard our sovereignty. The government’s political will must be strong enough to address and advance any move, plan, law enforcement, or vision aimed at securing Malaysia’s sovereign rights. Ministries responsible for enforcing maritime law must collaborate to avoid duplication of responsibilities and execution of development plans. Additionally, the Ministry of Finance should prioritise the annual allocation on the national maritime security agenda. Planning and execution must be treated with the same seriousness as strategic importance. The government should be serious to develop the country into a maritime nation by securing our economic and national security. To this end, the government must develop adequate capabilities in terms of defence equipment, maritime-related industry infrastructure, and maritime security-related systems.

References Bueger, C. (2015). What is maritime security? Marine Policy, 53, 159–164. Clausewitz, C-V. (1989). On War. Princeton, Princeton University Press. Crowl, Philip A. “Alfred Thayer Mahan: The Naval Historian.” In Makers of Modern History from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age, edited by Paret, Peter, 444-475. Cronau, T. A. (2012). Maritime Security, Malaysia’s Persistent Problem. Air Command and Staff College Department of Fishing. Malaysia’s National Plan of action to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing Harry R.Y. (2006). Strategic Theory of for the 21st Century: The Little Book on Big Strategy. Carlisle, PA Strategic Studies Institute. ICC International Maritime Bureau, Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships. ICC International Maritime Bureau Jabatan Perikanan Malaysia. Landings of Marine Fish by State and Fishing Gear Group. Joachimsthal, E. L., Ivanov, V., Tay, S.T.L., & Tay, J.H. (2004). Bacteriological examination of ballast water in Singapore Harbour by flow cytometry with Fish. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 49(4): 334–43. Krishnasamy. K. (2016). Malaysia’s Invisible Ivory Channel. Law, A.T, Ravi., V.T., & Yeong, C.H. (1990). Oil Pollution in the Coastal Waters off Port Dickson, Straits of Malacca, Pertika, 13(3): 381-387. 99


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Leal, M. C., Pimentel, T., Ricardo, F., Rosa, R., & Calado, R. (2015). Opinion: Seafood traceability: current needs, available tools, and biotechnological challenges for origin certification. Trends in Biotechnology, 33(6): 331-336. Iskandar, S. (2006). The Concept of a Malaysian National Maritime Security Policy, Maritime Studies, 148, 15-19. Lyndsey, H. (2006). Introducing the Strategic Approach: An Examination of Loyalist Paramilitaries in Northern Ireland. British Journal of Politics and International Relations. 8(4): 539-549. Mallia, P. (2010). Migrant Smuggling by Sea: Combating a Current Threat to Maritime Security through the Creation of a Cooperative Framework. Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency. (2017). MMEA Annual Report. Noraini, Z. (2018). Straits of Malacca Maritime Strategic Interest towards Japan. International Journal of Research in Social Sciences. 8 (4), 240-259 Parameswaran, P. (2015). Playing it Safe: Malaysia’s Approach to the South China Sea and Implication for the United States. Maritime Strategy Series: 4(1) Reid, J. A. (2017). An exploratory review of route-specific, gendered, and age-graded dynamics of exploitation: Applying life course theory to victimization in sex trafficking in North America. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 5(17), 257- 271. Robert, C. B., & Davenport,. (2010). “CLCS Submissions and Claims in the South China Sea”, The South China Sea Cooperation for Regional Security and Development, 12(7), 102-220 Rustandi, A. (2016). The South China Sea Dispute: Opportunities for ASEAN to enhance its policies in order to achieve resolution. The Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies (CDSS), (April), 1–26. Secretary-General of the United Nations. “Oceans and the Law of the Sea,” Report of the Secretary-General. Sim Bak Heng. Syndicates stealing fish from our waters. New Straits Times. Suhana, S., & Ali, S. (2014). Government policy and the challenge of eradicating human trafficking in Malaysia. Malaysian Journal of Society and Space. 10 (6), 66– 74. Sumathy, P. (2013). The rising turbulence in the South China Sea. Soyombo, O. (2009). Sociology and Crime Control: That We May Live In Peace. An Inaugural Lecture Delivered at the University of Lagos, Akoka. Stach, L. (2018). Malaysia’s maritime security challenges and the development of the Royal Malaysian navy: Old problems and new threats. Korean Journal of Defense Analysis, 30(3), 423–436. Till, G., & Atriandi Supriyanto, R. (2017). Naval modernization in Southeast Asia: Problems and prospects for small and medium navies. Naval Modernisation in Southeast Asia: Problems and Prospects for Small and Medium Navies, 1–126. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (2015). The Illegal Fishing and Organized Crime Neus. United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and The Protocols Thereto. 100


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United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Valencia M.J. (1991). Malaysia and the Law of the Sea: The Foreign Policy Issues, the Options, and their Implications, the Institute of Strategic and International Studies: 1(2): 210 Vrey, F. (2010). African Maritime Security: a time for good order at sea. Australian Journal of Maritime & Ocean Affairs. 2(4): 121-132 Wyler, L. S. & Sheikh, P. A. (2008). International illegal trade in wildlife: Threats and U.S. policy. Zhou, S., Griffiths, S.P. (2008). Sustainability assessment for fishing effects (SAFE): a new quantitative ecological risk assessment method and its application to elasmobranch bycatch in an Australian trawl fishery. Fisheries Research 91:56‐68. Zulkifli, N., & Zahari, M. F. (2021). Foreign Activities in Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ): Malaysia’s Response, 3(2), 1–13.

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CHAPTER SEVEN

MALAYSIA’S MARITIME SECURITY MANAGEMENT: IN DIRE NEED OF A POLICY GUIDANCE Captain Mohd Yusri Yusoff RMN

Introduction When the Portuguese came and colonised Malacca in 1511, motivated by “God, Gold and Glory”, they came by ships (Desai, 1968); when the Dutch took possession of the fort of Malacca from the Portuguese in 1641, with the help of the Sultan of Johore, they did it from the sea (Robert & Yahaya, 2009, p. 4); when the Japanese landed at Singora and Patani in Southern Thailand and Kota Bharu, Kelantan in 1942, to invade Malaya and Singapore at the beginning of the World War II, they also came from the sea (Chung, 2011); and even when the Royal Army of Sulu “invaded” Sabah in 2013, they came by motorboats from the sea (Poling, DePadua, & Frentasia, 2013). Malaysia’s external security, therefore, starts from the sea. We had, however, formulated most of our security policies as if it stops there. Malaysia is a maritime nation, with continental roots (Malaysia MINDEF, 2020). We tend to forget that the “maritime” part is at the forefront of this aspiration, and the “continental” part is merely 595 kilometer stretch off the Malaysia-Thailand border; connecting Peninsular Malaysia to the mainland Southeast Asia and the great continental landmass of Eurasia (Malaysia MINDEF, 2020). Compare that continental land border to the extensive Malaysia’s coastline of thousands of kilometres, which according to Lai & Kuik (2020),

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“…stretches from the Andaman Sea at the north-westerly coast of Perlis to the north-eastern shores of Kelantan in Peninsular Malaysia bordering the South China Sea and another few thousand kilometres more in the Bornean region, from the SCS shores of Sarawak to the Eastern Sabah coastline contiguous to the Sulu and Sulawesi Seas” We will then have a proportionate idea of where the centrality of that aspiration should be. By all definitions, we are first and foremost a maritime nation. Our maritime domains have not only been our source of opportunities and challenges, but also solutions. Nonetheless, we are currently more “continental” in our perception that we have often neglected the fact that Malaysia is highly dependent on her seas for survival. 95% of Malaysia’s international trade are transported by sea and 35% of the federal government’s annual revenue comes from the offshore oil and gas sector (Khalid, 2009; Global Edge, 2021). Besides that, this resource-rich sea areas have also provided Malaysia with other economic spin-offs, generating supporting industries such as marine tourism, shipbuilding, ship management, port operations and fisheries. Interruption in any of these activities would have direct and damaging impacts to Malaysia’s economy and accordingly, her security. Prolonged interruption might even lead to more calamitous significance. China’s assertive maritime policy in the SCS for example, would have a direct impact on our economy and security. The April 2020 standoff between Chinese and Malaysian vessels in the SCS, which had also involved American and Australian warships (Reuters, 2020), had given us a glimpse of what’s in store for us if we continue to neglect this fact. Should this kind of incident prolong or intensify, Malaysia’s economy and its overall security will surely be impacted. Meanwhile, environmental damage to our coral reefs due to marine pollution could also lead to the same consequences. Oil spill in our waters would have a gradual detrimental effect on tourism and fishing industries in the long run, affecting Malaysia’s economy and social security. Incidents such as the oil spill at Mersing in 2019 (Bernama, 2019), and Port Dickson in 2020 (Bernama, 2020), for instance have economically and socially impacted the wellbeing of the local dwellers. Malaysia, nonetheless, is just like other nations. We have finite resources in managing all these issues. While effectivity is what we sought after in overseeing all these security threats, due to resource scarcity, we conversely need to also be efficient. As “effectiveness is doing the right things and efficiency is doing it right”, both do come hand in hand. “Doing the right thing” is nevertheless comparably “easy” than “doing it right”. When there was a resurgence in the influx of Rohingya refugees to Malaysia from May to July 2020 (Sukhani, 2020), for example, it was relatively “easy” (following hitherto government’s policy and due to its perceived subsequent security issues) for Malaysia in deciding to turn away 27 fully-laden displaced Rohingyan boats. The manner of how we have done it, however, is debatable. Malaysia had then employed 104


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billion-ringgit-worth of its Armed Forces’ assets, i.e. the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) frigates and Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) aircrafts, to execute the task (Bernama, 2020). This deployment accounts for a significant amount in operating costs and time. Whilst some would argue that the value of these military assets is already a sunk cost, it still does not add-up in its cost-benefit analysis, especially on the basis of the incremental cost incurred and the opportunity cost lost. To do the interception and enforcement, the utilisation of small fast boats of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) or the Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) would cost much less and still be as effective. This is in fact what efficiency is all about - to do the right things in the right way. Hence in this context, it is evident that Malaysia needs better maritime security management, as efficiency and effectiveness could ominously be achieved by ameliorating governance. No man is an island and in managing convolutions, it is always better to not work in silos. Collaboration between all maritime agencies must be perpetual and not just on ad hoc basis in order for us to achieve efficacy. Arrangements for such cooperation nonetheless are multifaceted and multifarious, and it will have to swathe all the security plains and spectrums. Knowing this, it is the aim of this chapter to highlight three current features in Malaysia’s maritime security environment that contributes to management complexities to justify the need for a comprehensive national maritime policy that would subsequently guide all the national maritime components towards the same national objectives. In short, it is to corroborate the imminent need to have a integrated maritime strategy in order for Malaysia to safeguard her national maritime interests due to all these amalgamated features; to contend that we are in dire need of a comprehensive management for our maritime security, and it could simply be instigated with an all-inclusive strategic policy guidance at the national level.

Maritime Security Management Primarily, the term “maritime security” is just a buzzword. Bueger (2015) argued that the term has no definite connotation to it and would only mean something when an actor relates it to another security concept e.g. Balance of Power. The meanings of this term could thus vary across actors, time and space. When scholars like Klein (2011) and Kraska (2013) used the term to point to the element of “threat” in the maritime domain, Bueger inversely argued that the term then should denote the “absence of threat”. Thus, the arguments are more than just a matter of nuance, as it would carry a different meaning for a different actor, in a different time and on a different continent. It should be pointed out then that the arguments of this chapter is based on the ground of relating the term with the perspective of the Copenhagen School’s Securitisation theory (Buzan, Wæver, & de Wilde, 1998), customising the term “security” on the existential threat on the referential object, as what was perceived by 105


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the Malaysian leaders through their speech, and subsequently actionable through the emergency measures prescribed; and in seeing the term “maritime” as a space or domain just like the word “national” in “national security”. Secondly, the definition of “management” according to Business Dictionary (2017) is the “…interlocking functions of creating corporate policy and organising, planning, controlling, and directing an organisation’s resources in order to achieve the objectives of that policy”. The word “policy” has been mentioned twice in this definition, denoting its importance. Thus, management does not only begin with a policy or guidance, it would also end or lead to the policy objective. Without a policy or guidance, there will be no management as the organising, planning, controlling and directing of the resources cannot be carried out, in the absence of objectives or goal of the policy. Maritime security management can simply be defined as the interlocking functions of creating security policy for the maritime domains and the subsequent actions of coordinating and organising all the maritime security functions and activities, in order to achieve the desired maritime security end-state or goals. In essence, it is the process of converging and organising the efforts of all the maritime security roles and actions towards similar objectives transpired in the policy. The intention of which is for the concentration of efforts, toward the same national purposes. National maritime security management, therefore, cannot exist without a national maritime security policy. A clear national maritime goal, which serves as a reference point for all its maritime security agencies to organise, plan, control and direct its maritime security activities in its maritime domain, must be in place for a proper maritime security management.

The Three Major Features in Malaysia’s Maritime Security There are several attributes in Malaysia’s maritime security environment. Nonetheless, three countenances have been popping-up whenever there are issues relating to Malaysia’s maritime security. The first characteristic of Malaysia’s maritime security is the intricacies of its geography that is the natural constant in its maritime security environment. The second trait is its heterogeneous threats which are the capricious and wide-ranging traditional and non-traditional threats posing as emergent risks towards Malaysia’s national interests. The third and the last facet is the strategic enablers’ deficiencies in the form of comprehensive maritime objectives, doctrine and organisation. There are patterns and continuities in all these features, which will only be adequately addressed with a comprehensive national maritime security policy.

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The Intricacies in Malaysia’s Geographical Setting Zooming in on the geographical nature of Malaysia and we can see that it is geographically divided into two regions. Peninsular Malaysia is located in the southern tip of the Asian mainland, and the Malaysian Borneo is situated on the north of the Island of Borneo (World Atlas 2017). In between these two land masses are the islands of Natuna and Anambas, which belong to another nation, Indonesia. All these sits on a tectonically inactive Sunda Shelf. Malaysia has a total coastline of 4675 kilometres, of which 2068 kilometres of it is in Peninsular Malaysia and 2607 kilometres in the Malaysian Borneo (CIA, 2017). Under the United Nation Convention on The Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982, Malaysia is claiming 12 nm of territorial sea and 200 nm of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The vastness of all of these geographical factors contribute to a titanic array of challenges to Malaysia’s maritime security management. Due to the separation of her regions with Indonesia in between, Malaysia does not have a clear connecting waterway without going through other States’ features, for example Indonesian or Vietnamese waters or EEZ. Unlike her archipelagic neighbours of Indonesia and the Philippines, the surrounding Malaysia’s waters cannot be regarded as a single unit. The detachment between the two landmasses in the Asian mainland and Borneo Island would mean that it is ideal (in case of isolation, due to numerous perceived factors), for Malaysia to have at least two sets each of security entities for optimised security. A “shared” capabilities between the two regions would mean reduced effectiveness, as all the “time”, “space” and “force” elements are dependent on each other. The distance (space) between these two regions, for instance, means that the capability (force) would need days (time) to move to or from, and the capability (force) would then have to be divided. This geographical impasse means that Malaysia cannot operate against or over it but must be working along it. The RMN fleet for example, has recently been divided into two commands namely the Western Fleet Command and Eastern Fleet Command (Borneo Post 2017). These division signifies that the RMN has to now manage two fleets instead of one and the government of Malaysia has one more “additional” maritime unit in its inventory. Zoom out this geographical feature of Malaysia from the Southeast Asia (SEA) perspective, and we will see that Malaysia sits on three different seas of diverse issues vis-a-vis the Strait of Malacca (SoM), the South China Sea (SCS) and the Sulu Sea (SS). All these waters are at the same time connected and separated. Depending on our perspective of half-empty or half-full, the SCS could be the one connecting or separating the SoM and SS. It is almost the same when we look at the second feature of heterogeneous threats below, where some issues are idem within the three seas and some are not. With two landmasses in between the three seas, each should ideally be responsible for the equal half of the three seas. The Peninsular Malaysia portion should be more attentive to the security of the SoM and the western part of the SCS, and the East Malaysia’s portion of maritime security lies in the SS and the eastern 107


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part of the SCS. The locality of each sea consequently dictates the issues within it and these issues, even when there could be similarities, could also be of different derivations. While piracy has been seen as “industrial-scale” and “organised”, fueled by quick economic gain and littoral states corruption practices in the SoM (McCauley, 2014), piracy in the SS has been argued to be rampant due to political instability (in the southern Philippines) leading to the never-ending crisis in the region (Yusa, 2020). The locale interpretations give meaning to what is thought to be the same issue. This example of derivation is essential as the solution to it could also be different. Now, put the geographical scope to the widest possible angle and we will see that Malaysia is strategically located at the centre of the Pacific and Indian Oceans to her east and west, and the continental Eurasia and maritime Asia to her north and south. Due to this strategic location, the big powers have been vying for centuries (Malaysia MINDEF, 2020, p. 13). So much so that it has been said that the history of Malaysia is “a history of big power politics”. For example, the SCS currently is a hotspot in manifesting the importance of this locality. When big powers such as China authorised its warships to open fire on “foreign” vessels and destroy “illegal” structures within the SCS, the United States pledged to protect it in retaliation (Seidel, 2021), sending a loud message on the geostrategic importance of the region. Hence, under these circumstances, this strategic location has always been challenging for Malaysia. Nonetheless, it could also open up opportunities. SoM for instance, provide the shortest shipping channel between the Pacific and the Indian Oceans with more than 70,000 ships plying through annually, carrying 80% of oil to Northeast Asia along with one-third of the world’s traded goods (Gilmartin, 2008). This indeed has also brought economic spin-off to Malaysia, fortifying her economic security. The location had also subsequently acted as incentives for partners to work interdependently with Malaysia. Balancing between all these challenges and opportunities due to this geostrategic location is therefore a very intricate matter, which must be addressed and guided properly. The intricacies in Malaysia’s geographical setting in relation to her maritime security environment is thus unquestionable. Geography, however, is only one of the features in Malaysia’s maritime management issues, but it is perhaps the only constant feature. Geography is a neutral factor by itself. It could be a benign or malign feature, depending on the way we perceive or shape it. We could shape our perception, or in a better word, institutionalise how we view our geography in a positive direction by giving it a strategic guidance. Henceforth, a policy that defines how our geography is perceived, whether as challenges or opportunities to Malaysia’s maritime security, is urgently needed.

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The Heterogeneous Threats in Malaysian Waters There has been a general shift in economic and military power worldwide (Malaysia MINDEF, 2020). Growing big power competitions with conceivable polarisation, mounting nationalism, widespread non-state actors, increasing virulent transboundary crimes, foreseeable globalisation developments and brittle ecological systems have been perceived as the dynamics that have mostly contribute to this shift. Globally, after the 9/11 event, non-state and transnational threats have been at the forefront of the overall security environment (Tangredi, 2002). Correspondingly, all the factors above are also accurate when it comes to Malaysia’s maritime security environment. Malaysia is also currently facing both traditional and non-traditional threats at sea. However, the threats faced are both distinctive and heterogeneous, or hybrid of conventional and non-conventional threats as well. To top the list of heterogeneous threats in Malaysian waters is the looming traditional threat being disguised as non-traditional threats in the SCS. Malaysia is one of the littoral states in the SCS territorial claims along with China (Dutton 2011). While Malaysia pursues the SCS matters mostly through its multilateral and bilateral diplomatic channels, China has been seen to be quite assertive. Kuik (2017) argued that since 2009, besides increasing its maritime patrols, China has also been employing fishing militia, interrupting seismic survey of other claimants and imposing fishing bans to other foreign ships in the SCS. In short, China has been flexing its muscles in its claims to the SCS in a non-conventional manner. Being dubbed as “White Hull Warfare” by Collin (2016), China has been using coast guards instead of the People’s Liberation Army – Navy (PLAN) in exerting its claim to SCS. The “white hulls” have always been perceived to not communicate the same overt martial impression as the “grey hull” (Kearsley, 1992). Knowing full well that most SEA countries’ coast guards are inferior in capability and capacity, China is using its coast guard for a permanent presence in SCS. Whenever any other claiming nations send its navies, the pictures drawn would go well with the strategic narrative of being “victimised” in this dispute (Collin, 2016). Besides this, China is also sending its armed fishing militia in order to establish a de facto Chinese operating presence in disputed areas (Grossman & Ma, 2020). Whilst illegal fishing is a non-conventional threat, the strategic intent of the militia is a conventional threat. Hence, there exists the “grey area” in between the conventional perception of threats. Besides that, the incident at Lahad Datu in 2013 has also highlighted this kind of heterogeneous threats, in the form of non-state actor masquerading and aiming to legitimise its actions through conventional means and arguments. The root cause of this event was the Sultanate of Sulu ancestral territorial-claim over an area of Northern Borneo or the state of Sabah in Malaysia (Poling et al, 2013). The incident saw about 200 armed militants which originated from the Sulu archipelago in the southern Philippines landed in Sabah, through the sea by motorboat, catching the Malaysian 109


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authorities off guard. This event had not only underlined the non-traditional security issues in the Sulu-Celebes Sea, but had also brought forth the undercurrent traditional security issues. Territorial dispute also persisted even after Sabah had joined Malaya along with Sarawak to form the Federation of Malaysia on 16 September 1963 via United Nation Treaty No. 10760. The Philippines were still claiming Sabah through the Philippines Official Gazette No. 5446 stating that “the delineation of the baselines of the territorial sea around the territory of Sabah, situated in North Borneo, over which the Republic of the Philippines has acquired dominion and sovereignty” (GOVPH, 1968). The dispute was said to have rooted from the lost in translations of the agreement between the British North Borneo Company and the Sultanate of Sulu in 1878. While the English version stated that the sultanate was ceding the territory (less than half of the current state of Sabah) to the British North Borneo Company in exchange for an annual payment of 5,300 Mexican pesos, the Tausug version (the language of Sulu) used a word inclining towards a lease (Poling, DePadua, & Frentasia, 2013). These arguments were carried on to this date where Malaysia contends that the territory was ceded while the Philippines argues that it was leased. The invasion of the “Royal Army of Sulu” in Sabah therefore was more than just a non-traditional security issue, nor was it distinctively a traditional one. It again resides in the “grey area” of heterogeneous threats. These examples of mixed and heterogeneous nature of the threats necessitate the requirement for the Malaysian maritime authorities to start thinking outside the box. The framing of threats and its subsequent actions, in the conventional traditional and non-traditional framework, will never work for heterogeneous threats. Both traditional and non-traditional threats will keep on evolving correspondingly to the dynamic changes, making it the most complex features. Furthermore, with globalisation and technological progress the world is now experiencing, these threats will be far more difficult to manage. Especially when there is no coordination between all the security agencies. A policy will guide current priorities and goals for better management. Instead of basing all their activities on an archaic and in-silo understanding of threat perceptions, a constantly updated (every 5-10 years) comprehensive strategic maritime security policy would really guide the security agencies towards better understandings of the threats they are facing and the priorities.

The Deficient Enablers in Malaysia’s Maritime Management Speaking at the National Maritime Conference 2019 during Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2019 (LIMA19), the former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had lamented about the 31 maritime-related agencies from more than 10 ministries, enforcing no less than 15 federal laws and orders in managing 110


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Malaysia’s maritime space (Yunus, 2019). One can imagine the enormous coordinating tasks in hand for Malaysia’s maritime security management. Nonetheless, against the backdrop of all the technological wonders and globalisation, it would be bizarre to think that there is no communication nor coordination between all these security agencies. The reality on the ground would attest to this vast coordination gap between them, which exists mostly due to strategic enablers’ deficiencies in the form of comprehensive maritime objective, doctrine and organisation. Even when provisional coordination elucidations are in existence at the national level (e.g. National Security Council Directives), they are still mostly segmented and on ad hoc basis, being more reactive rather than proactive. Without strategic structure, the strategic end-state will be either inadequate or in surplus. Inadequate as the strategic end-state will only be known to a few selected ears for implementation, or in surplus because the agencies will mostly dwell into their own rabbit hole of misconceptions and misinterpretations, creating their own strategic objectives. For a start, let us look at some of the national strategic maritime doctrine’s shortcomings. The existing Malaysia maritime laws and its accompanying strategic maps are mostly obsolete and archaic, as noted by Hamzah (2019). We have for instance, a separate and outdated shipping ordinance for the Peninsular and the two states of Sabah and Sarawak. Even when we ratified the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Act in 1984, we have yet to produce the EEZ map; when we declared the Baselines of Maritime Zones Act in 2006, we have yet to do anything for its effect; and when we proclaimed the Territorial Sea Act, we have yet to streamline the width of the territorial sea. One must understand that a law would come into force when the process of legislation, regulations, treaties and other legal instruments come to have effect. In order for the law to be effective, it must be known to the public, acceptable in the community, able to be enforced, stable, able to be changed, applied consistently and able to resolve disputes (The Law Society of Western Australia, 2013). It is therefore less effective when it is not stable (e.g. the strategic maritime maps to enforce the maritime law is not updated accordingly), unable to be enforced (e.g. not enough men or assets for regulatory bodies to enforce the law), and is not applied consistently (e.g. doing maritime patrol only when there are issues and not on schedule, due to resources scarcity). When the doctrine is incomplete, how will one indoctrinate the enforcement? Malaysia’s Peta Baru 1979, for example, is an outdated strategic maritime map in dire need of updating. Firstly, it was made 10 years after what it was intended to show, which was mainly the bilateral Continental Shelf boundaries agreement with Indonesia in 1969; and it did not reflect on the delimitation agreement of the territorial sea with Indonesia in the SoM in 1970 (Hamzah, 2019). This Peta Baru 1979 has since been challenged twice in the International Court of Justice, besides a contest by the British on behalf of Brunei (Hamzah, 2018; 2019). Secondly, Malaysia had signed UNCLOS on 10 December 1982 and ratified the same on 14 October 1996 (Government of Malaysia, 111


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2017), years after producing this so-called “Peta Baru”. According to Angkasari et. al. (2020), despite Malaysia’s stand on “single maritime boundary” in the SoM based on this map, the ratification of UNCLOS had shown Malaysia’s intent of adhering to international law at certain degrees, hence the need for an update. As for the paucity in a comprehensive maritime organisation in Malaysia, one just needs to look at the statement made by Dr Mahathir above. Malaysia has 31 maritime agencies under 10 ministries. Indonesia, on the other hand, with about 6 million km2 of maritime jurisdiction, has only 12 national maritime-related agencies (Siswanto, 2013). Besides the NSC, which coordinate all its security agencies, there is no specific agency to coordinate all maritime security issues in Malaysia. Meanwhile in Indonesia, despite having Maritime Security Coordinating Board (Badan Koordinasi Keamanan Laut - BAKORKAMLA) in place, it is still being overwhelmed with maritime coordination problems. By not having any central agency coordinating the maritime enforcements and activities, Malaysia is therefore more prone to maritime security issues. Due to this structural defect, former Director-General of the Maritime Institute of Malaysia (MIMA), First Admiral (Rtd) Datuk Chin Yoon Chin has said that it is vulnerable to “little Napoleons [that is] hungry for turf wars, rivalry and enlarged egos” (David, 2019). By having too many “strategic ends” and no strategic guidance, each agency will have its own interpretation (or misinterpretation) of the national strategic objectives. Each then would champion their own misconception as the “should-be” strategic endstate, creating turf wars and rivalry. Ironically, there was a maritime coordinating agency, the Maritime Enforcement Coordination Centre (MECC) that was stationed next to the RMN Naval base in Lumut, Perak, which was disbanded to make way for another newly-created maritime agency supposedly to take over the coordinating role. The move was made following a study made by the NSC in 1999, which accurately laid out that “the maritime enforcement in Malaysia was not effective due to the involvement of too many agencies with overlapping functions, overlapping jurisdiction and uneconomical use of resources” (Irwin, 2007, p. 71). The establishment of the Malaysian MMEA was therefore made to keep all the agencies and assets under a single maritime “roof” in 2004 (Lynch, 2012). The intention then was to be more effective and efficient, and a single entity dedicated to carry out maritime security enforcements could save the nation’s resources. However, the reality was that another enforcement entity was created to join in the turf wars. Other maritime enforcements agencies are still in existence and continue to drain the nation’s resources. The failure has been justified that “there is no provision in the MMEA Act that prevails over any contrary provisions in other federal laws” (Hamid, et. al., 2016). The MMEA Act does not derogate the provisions of other federal laws empowering maritime law enforcement to other relevant agencies. On top of all these arguments however, is the clear proof that there is absence of comprehensive national guidelines for its implementation. The intention was good, but it was 112


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executed incorrectly, leaving us with the fact that organising or coordinating function in Malaysia’s maritime security management is still lacking. All these arguments highlight some of the strategic enablers’ deficiencies in the form of comprehensive maritime objective, doctrine and organisation in Malaysia’s maritime security environment. Of all three, this feature is controllable since it is an internal factor. In most of the national strategic documents, e.g. Malaysia’s Defence White Paper 2019, emphasis were given on three strategic elements, namely resource, capability and strategy. Dubbed as “the golden trinity or thread”, these strategic elements consecutively represent means, ways and ends. Resource is converted through capability to achieve the strategic end. Doctrine and organisation are two of the most critical processes in that conversion capabilities in order to translate the resources into the outcome of the strategic end or the objective. As the enablers, their deficiency means that the objectives will not be met. All these could be further visualised in the form of a comprehensive maritime security strategic policy.

Conclusion Malaysia has limited resources. In order to keep her maritime domains safe, Malaysia must not only be effective but must also be efficient in managing these limited resources. It is therefore impossible for Malaysia to do it without having a comprehensive maritime security management and the key to it, is through a policy guidance. This policy will serve as the guidance to all the activities and processes of all maritime agencies. It would provide a common goal, establishing the unity of purpose. The policy would help coordinate, organise and streamline all the maritime security activities towards the same national objectives, establishing the unity of effort; and most importantly it would be a clear reference point for all these agencies, erasing ambiguities on all the complexities of the Malaysia’s maritime security structure. All the arguments above have proven that we are in dire need of a national maritime security policy. However, by analysing the features, one could rationalise the need even more. Firstly, a national maritime security policy would resolve the vagueness in the geographical setting of Malaysia’s maritime security environment. Secondly, the policy would clearly point to the right direction of the threat. Thirdly, the policy would provide a unity of effort in giving guidance and objectives to follow. It would coordinate the agencies’ efforts and delineated each roles, functions and authorities. This would leading to effective and efficient maritime security enforcement. In essence, it is not just a necessity, but a priority for Malaysia to have a national maritime security policy in place. It would also lead to a more structured and systemic collaboration between the maritime enforcement agencies, leading to an economy of effort and economies of scale, saving the nation a lot of money. As change is the 113


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only constant in life, we cannot expect different outcomes when we keep on doing the same thing. “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. We have learnt that we gain nothing from working in silos. We are in dire need of a guidance that would unite us all. When there is no enemy within, the enemy outside cannot hurt you.

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Sukhani, P. (2020, Jul 10). The Shifting Politics of Rohingya Refugees in Malaysia. Retrieved Jan 8, 2021, from The Diplomat: https://thediplomat.com/2020/07/theshifting-politics-of-rohingya-refugees-in-malaysia/ Sumsky, V. (1999). Russia and ASEAN: Emerging partnership in the 1990s and the security of South-East Asia. Asian Studies , 75-90. Tangredi, S. J. (2002). Globalization and Sea Power: Overview and Context. In S. J. Tangredi, Globalization and Maritime Power (pp. 1-24). Washington D.C.: Institutes for National Strategic Studies. The Law Society of Western Australia. (2013). Francis Burt Law Education Programme. Retrieved Jan 17, 2021, from lawsocietywa: https://www.lawsocietywa.asn.au/wpcontent/uploads/2015/09/2015-FBLEP-Characteristics-of-an-Effective-Law.pdf Yunus, R. (2019, Mac 28). Dr M Calls for Comprehensive Maritime Policy. Retrieved Jan 7, 2021, from The Malaysian Reserve: https://themalaysianreserve.com/2019/03/28/ dr-m-calls-for-comprehensive-maritime-policy/ Yusa, Z. (2020, Jul 1). Dangerous Waters: Maritime Crime in the Sulu Sea. Retrieved Jan 7, 2021, from The Diplomat: https://thediplomat.com/2020/06/dangerous-watersmaritime-crime-in-the-sulu-sea/ World Atlas. (2017). Malaysia Geography. Retrieved from worldatlas: http://www. worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/asia/malaysia/myland.htm

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CHAPTER EIGHT

WHAT THE THAI CANAL MEANS TO MALAYSIA’S GEOPOLITICS Nazli Aziz

Introduction In this chapter a regional perspective in addressing the possible consequences of the Thai Canal to the Malaysian geopolitics is followed. It attempts to analyse the motives for building the canal that may reshape the geopolitical landscape of Malaysia. The predictions in this chapter are based on normative analysis. They are derived from an assumption of what if the Thai Canal project is solely a joint-venture (JV) between Thailand and China. The capitals fund is funded and backed-up by Beijing. The main actors are China and Thailand, instead of other superpowers. It is interesting to note that there are tendencies amongst the pundits to predict different consequences if the project is funded and built by others but China. Tens of proposals have been tabled to the Thai Government on a new waterway of the Thai Canal in the Kra Isthmus to date. The proposition to build this new manmade canal, the Thai Canal (previously known as the Kra Canal) or 9A canal route is nothing new. The notion of building a mega man-made canal in the Kra Isthmus was envisaged more than 300 years ago. It was first proposed in 1677 while the Siam Kingdom was administrated in Ayutthaya. A French engineer was hired to carry out a survey. However, the lack of local technology and capitals to build the canal would have sparked uncertainty and instability to the kingdom’s politics. It would create a vacuum and thus, reasons for the European powers to intervene the Siam home affairs. Since then, the geopolitical considerations have always influenced the government decision-making and determination whether or not to continue with the project. The impact of the canal to the geopolitics such as diplomatic relations, sovereignty, security, as well as the bilateral and multilateral relations in trades have been dominating the government decision-making. 119


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From the 17th to 20th centuries, King Phra Nangkloa, King Mongkut (Rama IV) and King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) had reviewed different proposals to build the Thai Canal. The Thai Canal project was initially envisaged by King Narai of Ayutthaya in 1677. Within those four centuries, in general, the Siam Courts from Ayutthaya to Bangkok was concerned about Siam’s sovereignty if the canal were to be built (Ngui, 2012; Brailey, 1999; Goldman, 1972). Under King Rama V (1868-1910), the notion resurfaced but was opposed by the British. Back then, Siam was a buffer state of the two European colonial powers in The Philippines. There were also the British in Malaya and Burma, and the French in Indochina. The Siam kings understood the significance of balancing the colonial powers of the region to safeguard the kingdom’s independence and sovereignty. Although the superpowers have changed, the concern of Bangkok has remained the same since the 17th century to the 21st century. Sovereignty matters (and is paramount economically and politically) to Bangkok. The world superpowers have been shifted gradually from the Europeans to American, and Chinese nowadays. Under Prime Minister Phraya Phahon, the Thai Canal proposal was revised but scrapped because of the financial issues in 1935. The proposed waterway was opposed by the British through the Anglo-Thai Peace Treaty that was signed by Bangkok on 1 January 1946 in Singapore. The Treaty stated that Bangkok must have permission from London before building the canal. The Treaty was registered in the United Nations Treaty Series on 23 August 1957. Later, the National Security Council of Thailand expressed concern that the proposed canal project would put the national security at stake. Hence, the feasibility study carried out in 1958 was not taken into consideration. Another feasibility study was made by an American firm in 1970. Unfortunately that was the year of Thailand experiencing a political conflict. Towards the end of the 20th century, a conference was held in Bangkok to discuss the possibility of the project involving Japan’s Global Infrastructure Fund and Executive Intelligence Review, and Fushion Energy Foundation (Bangkok Post, 2020: Lam, 2018, Ngui, 2012; Abdul Rahman, 2016). Despite the changes of the main actors involved, the progress of the proposed canal is still the same. It remains “virtual”. There have been more than 20 studies undertaken on the Thai Canal project by the Thai Government since 1932 (Lam, 2018). The outcomes of the proposed project are merely a few feasibility studies without any earthworks undertaken to date. The feasibility studies on the proposed project have been commissioned by Bangkok to different nationalities such as the American, Chinese and Japanese. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had revised the project by establishing a National Committee to study the Thai Canal and invited participants from China and Japan to join the study in 2001. His notion of the proposed project received approval from the Senate but was scrapped because of the domestic political turmoil in 2007. Later in 2011, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra expressed her interest to continue the project. However, it was opposed by the military and the public because of security and environmental issues (Bangkok Post, 2020). 120


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In May 2015, the controversial Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was allegedly signed between China and Thailand to start the project. The 2015 MoU was considered as an initial step to launch the project estimated to cost US$30 billion (The Maritime Executive, 2021; Bangkok Post 2020). The MoU was signed between the China-Thailand Thai Infrastructure Investment and Development (KTKIID) and the Asia Union Group in Guangzhou, China. However, the validity of the MoU was immediately refuted by Bangkok and Beijing (Bangkok Post, 2020). Military presence in the Thai government has always been prominent and influential. The proposal of building the Thai Canal re-emerged in 2016 after a group of retired generals carried out a feasibility study of the canal route. These retired Thai generals established an association, known as the Thai Canal Association, to undertake the canal route survey with Peking University researchers and a Chinese company to survey, and their findings were presented in 2017 in Bangkok (The Maritime Executive, 2021; Bangkok Post, 2020; Lam, 2018).

Figure 1: The Proposed Thai Canal Source: Bangkok Post, 14 October 2020

The 102 km proposed canal with 400 metre width and 25 metre depth will take 10 years to construct (Cathcart, 2008). The width and depth of the canal allows Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCC) (300,000 DWT) to navigate through this waterway (Gulf Times 2015). The Thai Canal is meant to bypass the navigation and trade route via the Straits of Malacca (SoM), and will be the new route for shipping lanes to navigate to Asia Pacific without passing through the congested SoM. There are about 80,000 vessels navigating the SoM annually, and the proposed canal would be able to eventually reduce the heavy traffics (Jeevan et al., 2018).

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If the Thai Canal were to be built on this thin isthmus, it would be the game changer to Malaysia as Thailand’s closest neighbouring country who shares land and water borders. The decision to build the canal has been indecisive because of pressing domestic political issues such as cost, technology, environmental damage, and security. However, any decision made by Bangkok, whether to proceed or otherwise, would change the geopolitical strategic plans of Malaysia, SEA and Asia Pacific.

Hegemonic Power and Building a Mega Waterway The most fundamental lesson taught by history, but is often forgotten, is that the hegemonic powers come and go, politically and economically. In general, the cycle for a hegemonic power to remain on top is about 100 years before it slowly losing its world superpower status. It has been argued that the 21st century is Asia’s century, specifically the century for China. Politically, China is climbing to the top as the world superpower. China has already the largest economy in the world as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), surpassing the United States since 2020 (Galloway, 2020; Amadeo, 2020). History also demonstrates that the superpowers are “obsessed” with the impact of mega project of man-made waterways. The obsession is in fact related to the huge consequences of the man-made waterways to the global geopolitics. Any megacanals could slice through continents, which would immediately alter and re-map the world geopolitics. Like its predecessors, China is eager to be a new player in building a mega-canal. China has both the capitals and technology, and is ready. Although Beijing has the means to bring the project into reality, the decision to launch the project is beyond Beijing’s control and lies with Bangkok. The stumbling block to the Thai Canal project is Bangkok’s indecisive decision-making because of the domestic political issues. Economically, the Thai Canal would not be profitable in a short term as the estimated cost to build this waterway is US$28 billion (Lam, 2018). However, the proposed canal will be situated in one of the busiest waterways in the world, and will connect the European Union, Middle East and India faster to the major economies in the Far East i.e. China, Japan and South Korea as well as the Asian new emerging economies like Viet Nam and The Philippines. The canal will cut a three-day voyage of 1,200 km distance along the SoM where several major Malaysian seaports operates such as Port Klang, Tanjung Pelepas Port and Johor Port. Reducing merely three days voyage by using the Thai Canal, instead of calling to the established ports along the SoM may not be significant to the profit margins in the shipping industry (Chen, & Kumagai, 2016; Jeevan et al. 2018; Abdul Rahman et al. 2016). However, Beijing may have planned for long term advantages about what the shipping and maritime industry would be in 2100. 122


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The technology has been reinvented rapidly and the business strategy has evolved innovatively. Air Asia is perhaps one of the best examples to comprehend on how it has changed the conservative thinking in the aviation and airlines industry. Therefore, there is a big possibility that the shipping and maritime industry would follow suit. Beijing understands the long term return on investment (ROI) to build the Thai Canal without undermining Malaysia and Singapore. As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day, Beijing’s willingness to fund the canal is founded upon long term geopolitical interests and advantages. The British had taken a similar approach before in developing Singapore and Hong Kong to be shipping hubs and major maritime players in the region by foreseeing the possibilities a century in advance. Why is the Thai Canal vital to China? It would create similar impact to China like the Suez Canal and the Panama Canal have benefited to the European countries and the United States respectively. It is not difficult to predict and understand how the proposed canal will be the next game changer in shaping and remapping the hegemonic power rivalry and global geopolitics. The Thai Canal will duplicate the roles of both the Suez and the Panama Canals in reinforcing the Europeans and American for centuries as the de facto leaders of world’s politics. The canal will make the voyage from the Middle East to China shorter and faster. Time and efficiency are costs in economics and security. The most important thing is the proposed canal would allow China to safely navigate to the SCS, the “jewel” in between two great oceans, the Indian and Pacific. Thus, it allows China’s shipping lanes to skip a few of the American allies’ waters. China wants to control the SCS as one of the most valuable shipping routes in the world. About 40% of the global liquefied natural gas passes by the SCS annually. The trade value that navigates through the SCS is one-third of the global total, about US$3 trillion annually (Al-Jazeera, 22 Nov 2020). The Suez Canal is 193 km-long connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean via the Red Sea. The Suez Canal was opened to navigate in 1869 during the expansion era of imperialism and colonialism by the European powers in Asia, especially the British. The major western powers in the 19th century such as the British and French had access faster and shorter to Asia via the Suez Canal. Both the British and French held the advantages as they have their territories and colonies in the Mediterranean Sea. Prior to the existence of the Suez Canal, the previous major European powers such as the Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch had to navigate through the West Africa to the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa before heading to Asia via India Ocean. Meanwhile, the 80 km-long Panama Canal was opened to navigate in 1914 during the “Golden Era of America”. The Panama Canal plays major part in safeguarding the White House’s interest politically and economically. The Panama Canal slices through the Central America to have a shorter and faster access to both coastal areas of the United States i.e. the west coast in the Pacific Ocean and the east coast in the Atlantic Ocean. It also allows the United States to safeguard and oversee the American 123


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overseas territory in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico faster, if the naval ships and submarines were to to be deployed from the west coast. The Siam Kingdom did not buy in Ferdinand de Lesseps’s interest on the Thai Canal project in 1882 because of geopolitical reasons. De Lesseps was the engineer of the Suez Canal. The Siam Court was fearful that the Thai Canal project would trap Siam into unnecessary power struggle between French in Indo-China and the British in Malaya, Burma and India, inadvertently jeopardising the Kingdom’s sovereignty and independence. French was interested to start the Thai Canal project because it would allow them to reach Indo-China without navigating the SoM, which was controlled by the British in Malaya and Singapore, and the Dutch in Indonesia. Meanwhile, the British was opposed to the project to protect their political agendas and trades along the Malay Peninsular. The proposed canal would disrupt the British grand design to establish Singapore as the maritime hub in Asia. The United States and Japan have always had interests with the prospect of the Thai Canal. Washington and Tokyo had made several feasibility studies on the proposed canal, carried out by private firms such as Japan’s Mitsubishi Research Institute and the US’s Tippett-Abbot-McCafthy-Stratton (TAMS) in the 20th century. The United States expressed the interest on the project in 1973 and 1983. Meanwhile, Japan has always been interested with the project as earlier as the pre-war Imperial Japan to the post-war Japan. Japan’s interest was shown on the project in 1983, 1999 and 2000 (Lam, 2018). The United States on the other hand believes that the Thai Canal is the Chinese strategy to enhance her position and influence in the Asia Pacific region politically and economically. The canal would allow Beijing to deploy her naval ships faster to the Indian Ocean. Strategically, this is not an ideal situation for the United States in defending their interests in the India Ocean and the Middle East.

Alignment and Realignment to the Geopolitical Strategies As a neighbour sharing land and maritime boundaries, Malaysia’s geopolitical features will certainly be influenced by this canal. Malaysia shares 595 km-long land borders with Thailand from Perlis in the west coast to Kelantan in the east coast of the Peninsular. Meanwhile, Malaysia shares the maritime borders with Thailand in the Andaman Sea in the west and the SCS in the east. The Thai Canal will not change the Malaysia-Thailand international borders legally, neither will it change the ASEAN international borders legally. The proposed canal, however, will certainly change the dynamic of the geopolitics of Malaysia and the Asia Pacific region. In retrospect, Thailand has always been impartial with foreign powers during the colonial era. In general, Thailand seems to always be able to balance and neutralise as well as be an ‘apolitical’ actor when dealing with foreign governments without jeopardising her foreign affairs. 124


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China wishes to develop the Thai Canal as an integrated development with port facilities, refinery and industrial zones. With the rising of China as the world’s economy power house and political player, the vision to shorten the maritime route from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean through Kra Isthmus is possible. The proposed canal would be one of the best strategies of Beijing’s vision to establish the Maritime Silk Road. Under the premiership of Xi Jinping, China has invested heavily in infrastructures in different continents to expand their investment portfolio globally. Today’s China reflects her capability to seed funding, cutting-edge technology and outward looking in her foreign affairs in ASEAN particularly with Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia and Laos. The Asian countries to benefit most from the Thai Canal are China, India and Japan. Meanwhile for the littoral states of the SoM such as Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia will be affected especially in shipping industry and seaport services (Jeevan et al., 2018; Chen, & Kumagai, 2016; Abdul Rahman et al., 2016). Dr Mahathir Mohamad, then the Prime Minister of Malaysia in 2002 suggested that Malaysia must re-adjust the current and future strategies if the Thai Government decided to build the canal. Dr. Mathathir believed that the Thai Canal was the game changer that will reshape the Malaysian and ASEAN economics (Business Times, 2002, cited in Abdul Rahman et al., 2016). It is logical to assume that the Thai Government will eventually build the Thai Canal project, which is expected to stimulate the economic growth especially in the Thai trading and shipping industries and the neighbouring countries such as Malaysia and Myanmar in the long term. The proposed canal would stimulate economic growth in Southern Thailand and the northern states in Malaysia. The socio-economics gaps between the rich Central Thailand and the poor Southern Thailand as well as the rich west coast and the poorer northern states in Malaysia are expected to narrow with the canal’s presence. However, decisions made by Bangkok is also dictated by external factors at the regional and international levels. The Thai Canal suits with Beijing’s ambition to complete and complement its grand strategy of “One Belt, One Road”, connecting the world both in land and maritime links. The proposed canal will connect the missing link of the Xi’s vision in linking the Maritime Silk Road. The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) in Malaysia funded by the China’s state company is part of Beijing’s global plan to link the networks. The Thai Canal would create different political moods in predicting future alignment and realignment between Thailand and Malaysia in particular, and ASEAN in general. If Bangkok decide to build the canal, it will demarcate a new man-made “border” between Bangkok and the “Muslim Region” in Thailand. A clear border will be created between the muslim Malay minority in the southern part and the buddhist Thai majority in the northern part of the canal. The proposed canal may become the stepping stone for the separatist in Southern Thai to push their agenda further. 125


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Bangkok may fear that the canal would intensify the insurgence and separatist movements with the Royal Thai Armed Forces in the Southern Thai Province. When the unrest situations and tensions rose in Southern Thailand, the friendly bilateral relations between Malaysia and Thailand would be affected. There is a tendency to perceive that the Malaysian Malays as sympathisers to the muslim separatist movements in the Southern Thailand.

Alliance and Neutrality In a geopolitical arena, nothing is permanent. The alliances evolve. Construction of the Thai Canal under Beijing will be a great concern to the White House. However, Bangkok keeps both her relations with the United States and China friendly. Washington has always anticipated Beijing’s interest in funding the Thai Canal project whereby Thailand would provide China the main facilities and infrastructure of the waterway. The canal project will advance China’s economic and political interests in the Asia Pacific. The private sectors and tertiary institutions in China and Thailand have been lobbying their governments to proceed with the project (Lam, 2018). Hence, the Chinese and Thai governments have allowed the private companies and higher institutions to undertake feasibility study on the Thai Canal1, and the project was discussed officially between China-ASEAN in Nanning, China, in 2006. The idea of the Thai Canal is dynamic. Anything is possible. Perhaps Bangkok’s biggest concern is to what extent the canal may leverage Thailand’s sovereignty in governing the canal. The Thai military is divided on the Thai Canal project but the navy is keen because the naval ships can patrol the Andaman coast faster without navigating the Malaysian waters in the SCS and the SoM. Malaysia must take adaptation and mitigation measures if the Thai foreign affairs changes in the future. If Thailand decides to abandon her neutrality, it would change the status quo. The Thai Canal will be a new determinant to test the political powers in the SCS, a precious ‘pond’ with a lot of competition. The proponents of the White House perceive the “power rivalry” of the territorial disputes in the SCS between the ASEAN members (the Philippines, Viet Nam, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia) and China as a potential future conflict that may spark instability. China does not wish for any conflict in the SCS due to enormous negative consequences to her trade. The SCS trade routes are worth hundreds of billions of dollars per year for China, the United States, Japan and ASEAN. Being able to control the SCS by avoiding the SoM is better and safer option for Beijing to ensure China’s trade, and fuel supply are enough to drive her economy.

For example the China’s state-owned Liu Gong Machinery Co. Ltd, Heavy Industry Co. Ltd, The University of International Business and Economics Beijing as well as the associations such as the Thai-Chinese Culture and Economic Association of Thailand (TCCEAT). 1

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ASEAN with its huge asymmetrical socio-economics and different political ideologies between the members will be tested if the conflict occur. Therefore, it is vital for Malaysia and ASEAN to remain the status quo of non-intervention principle, yet assertive to both Washington and Beijing without being forced to choose the alliance. Any conflict in the SCS is a collateral damage to Malaysia and ASEAN. These tensions often intersect with political divides based on ideologies. The resulting tensions of Chinas involvement in the project can be stark and accelerated. As China retains a strong streak of communist ideology, the sceptics continue to question China’s involvement in the Thai Canal. Nonetheless, Washington will not allow Beijing to be the dominant power in this region to protect the American interest in the Asia Pacific. The development planning approaches that have been designed and taken off since the 1990s to date are rather different than previously. Many countries have been rapidly developing without following the conventional approaches of the west. The Asian Tigers – Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and to some extent Malaysia, and Middle East countries like UAE, Qatar and Bahrain are glaring examples. The beginning of the 21st century has seen emerging and rapid growth of communist countries like China and Viet Nam, indicating that economic growth is not exclusive to pro-west nations per se. Although political ideology appears indistinctively in the market systems of these communist countries, many countries remain sceptical of political agendas behind any investment made by China.

The Thai Canal: Mapping the Players As the biggest economy in the world China has what it takes to build the Thai Canal. China has impressive records in man-made mega projects constructions such as the Three Gorges Dam and train networks. The Thai Canal will be the best option for China to substitute the SoM to safeguard China’s trade and sea lanes. This new waterway through the Kra Isthmus would be able reduce ship collisions and pirates attacks in the congested shipping lane in the SoM. Like Thailand, Malaysia’s relationship with China has always been cordial since the former Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak. However, Singapore and The Philippines may perceive that China has political agendas attempts in pursuing the notion of cutting through the Kra Isthmus. If we analyse from the security lenses, the proposed canal would be a threat for the nations involved in the overlapping territorial claims in the SCS with China. Knowing that any instability or conflict along the SoM and the SCS will interrupt China’s economic growth, the Thai Canal would be the best alternative sea route for China to mitigate and protect her maritime lanes. The Thai Canal is the ultimate link in connecting the web of maritime ports in Malaysia upgraded or constructed by China such as the Kuantan Port, and the 127


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proposed Melaka Port. The negotiation to (re)develop these ports began in 2017. The development of these ports has been argued to increase the bilateral trade as well as boost the shipping and logistics between Malaysia and China within the web of China’s Maritime Silk Road. However, the Melaka State Government had scrapped the developer of the project in November 2020 (Hazlin, 2020; Seatrade Maritime News, 2020). The US$43 billion Melaka Port project was a joint-venture between a Malaysian company, KAJ Development, and a Chinese company, the Power China International. The Melaka Gateway of the 246ha integrated development is a project to overtake Singapore as the largest port in the region (Hazlin, 2020). China’s preference to invest in ports-building in Malaysia can be analysed in two ways: firstly, China believes that the SoM remains significant to the global maritime trade and is complimentary to the Thai Canal; and secondly, China has already anticipated that the proposed undernegotiation Thai Canal would not materialise because of Bangkok’s indecisiveness and perhaps the silence resistance from other ASEAN countries. As the game changer for Malaysia, the Thai Canal would impact growth of certain areas, and (re)map domestic, Thailand-Malaysia and SCS security issues. The impact will be to the shipping and maritime industries in the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia along the SoM, especially in Selangor, Melaka and Johor. The opening of the Thai Canal will reduce the traffic in the SoM. However, the canal is expected to open new economic opportunities to the poor northern states of Malaysia namely Perlis, Kedah and Kelantan. Meanwhile, with a proper plan, the strategic role of Penang Port can be reinvented and repositioned by taking advantage of its close proximity to the proposed canal. That is to say that Penang Port has potentials to re-emerge her former glory in Malaysia as a port of call. In general, the northwest coast states and the east coast states (including Terengganu and Pahang) in Malaysia are also expecting to have the spill over effects of the canal in the long term. It is absurd to measure the impact of the Thai Canal in a short-term. Funding and building a mega man-made canal is a long term investment to any superpower. To them, the benefits are beyond the ROI and economic gains. Similar to the Suez Canal and the Panama Canal, the notion of building the Thai Canal comes with a package. Simultaneously, the canal will certainly change the political and security affairs together with the trade patterns and shipping sector in the long term. Tanjung Pelepas Port is an example on how a new port can rival nearby older maritime ports when the geopolitics and strategic thinking are combined with the business strategy. The development of Tanjung Pelepas Port and Johor Port to some extent have added to souring Malaysia-Singapore’s already love-hate bilateral relationship. That is to say, that the Thai Canal has the potential to evolve and overtake the Malaysian ports and change the mood of Malaysia-Thailand bilateral relationship in the long term. In view that China’s economy has matured, the Thai Canal may impact Malaysia harder than expected if China’s economic growth consistently remains around 6% in 128


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the next 50 years. The prediction of the proposed canal will negatively impact the SoM littoral states is not new. As early as in the 1930s, an analyst argued that Singapore’s dominance (which was part of the Straits Settlements) in maritime trade would be affected and reduced significantly (Ronan 1936). Similar prediction continues to this date, including Malaysia (see Jeevan et al. 2018; Abdul Rahman, 2016; Sulong 2013). Economically, the Malaysian shipping and maritime industries will be affected. However, Chen and Kumagai (2016) highlighted that most of the arguments and predictions are not empirically calculated, by basing their argument only on the coexistence mechanism and the roles ASEAN may play to complement the services offered by the Thai Canal and the SoM. No doubt that strategic location is still relevant in turning a port into a maritime hub. In the 21st century, however, infrastructure and facilities with an integrated development are key ingredients to success, which back China’s intention to develop in the Kra Canal vicinity. Singapore understands this well. Singapore’s status as an entrepot and maritime hub is by design rather than its strategic location (Idris, 2005, 1996). In retrospect, the potential of the Thai Canal to flourish as a trading port was predicted by the British. Hence, there were two treaties signed between the British and Siam to safeguard British’s maritime interests in the Malay Peninsular and Singapore. The Anglo-Siam Secret Convention of 1897 and the Anglo-Thai Peace Treaty, 1946 were also meant to prevent the Thai Canal to be built to ensure Singapore’s position as a trading hub in the region and to manage the British Empire in Asia (Thio, 1969). The treaties stipulated that Bangkok must first get consent from the British before constructing the canal. At the same time, Indonesia’s position as one of the 21st century’s biggest global economies also plays an important role. The SoM remains vital to access Indonesia from Europe, Middle East and South Asia. If the Indonesian and Australian economic growth are steady, the SoM will remain as a vital trade route between the Indian Ocean and the Java Sea, the Banda Sea, the Celebes Sea, the Timor Sea and the Arafura to Indonesia and Oceania region. Therefore, the littoral states of the SoM must re-strategise their development planning to remain competitive and relevant. Maritime ports are not indispensable. History never fails to repeat the cycle. The glorious ports in the colonial era had been overtaken by the post-colonial’s newer ports. In fact, in Malaysia, we have witnessed how Port Klang has taken over the roles of Penang Port and now Tanjung Pelepas has rapidly expanded its operations to rival Port Klang and Singapore Port. We also see how Singapore has remained as the regional and global hub because of the long-term planning as well as its proper governance and management, utilising its location nearby Johor – the southern most point of the Asian mainland to interlock the east-west trade and shipping activities. However, strategic location per se is meaningless without strong governance and adequate mechanisms in managing economic growth, security and political stability.

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Conclusion If the Thai Government agrees to build this mega project in the near future, this manmade canal will be the game changer in mapping and remapping the geopolitics of Malaysia. The canal will become a testimony of how Malaysia (together with ASEAN) behave in aligning and realigning their allies. It will also validate to what extent the predictions as discussed for decades by politicians, analysts and pundits regarding Beijing’s motivations on politics and economics are accurate. Beijing argues that China’s prosperity will bring stability to the regional order, yet scepticsm remains amongst the democrats and liberalists. To date, the proposal to build the Thai Canal has not reached any concrete decision as yet but is “progressive”. Thai’s politics and her economic conditions have certainly influenced the status of the proposed project for centuries. Politically, inconsistency in decision-making and governance mechanisms as well as the geo-politics, interventions from global powers and security issues are the factors hindering the project from materialising. Whither the Thai Canal? Malaysia must have a backup master strategy, by studying all possibilities.

References Abdul Rahman, N.S.F., Salleh, N.H.M, Najib, A.F.A, & Lun, V.Y.H. (2016). Descriptive method for analysing the Thai Canal decision on maritime business patterns in Malaysia, Journal of Shipping and Trade, 1:13, 1-16, DOI: 10.1186/s41072-016-0016-0. Al-Jazeera. 22 Nov. (2020). What’s behind the SCS dispute? [video], AlJazeeraEnglish, https://youtu.be/f00V9MQbhg8 Amadeo, K. (2020). Largest Economies in the World: Why China Is the Largest, Even Though Some Say It’s the U.S. The Balance, (10 Dec.), www.thebalance.com, retrieved on 20 January. 2021 Bangkok Post. (2020). Controversial Thai Canal back in sportlight, Bangkok Post (14 Oct.), bangkokpost.com, retrieved on 2 January 2021. Brailey, N. (1999). The Scramble for Concessions in 1880s Siam. Modern Asian Studies, 33(3), 513-549. Cathcart, R. B. (2008). Thai Canal (Thailand) excavation by nuclear-powered dredges. International Journal of Global Environmental, 8, 248–255. DOI:10.1504/ IJGENVI.2008.018639. Chen, C-M., & Kumagai, S. (2016). Economic impacts of the Thai Canal: An application of the automatic calculation of sea distances by a GIS, IDE Discussion Paper, Vol. 568, pp. 1-45. Galloway, L. (2020). Five superpowers ruling the world in 2050, BBC, (23 March) bbc. com, retreived on 25 January 2021.

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Goldman, M. (1972). Franco-British Rivalry over Siam 1896- 1904. Journal of The Philippines Studies, 3, 210-228. Gulf Times. (2015). $28Bn Thai Canal to provide shipping shortcut.” Gulf Times (20 May), gulftimes.com, retrieved on 28 January 2021. Hazlin, H. (2020). Controversial Melaka Port project scrapped by state govt, The Straits Times, (21 Nov.) www.straitstimes.com retrieved on 20 January 2021. Idris, I. (1996). The Maritime Nexus, JATI, 2 (Dis), 64-73. Idris, I. (2005). Pelabuhan Singapura: Kearah Pembinaan Sebuah Pelabuhan Laut Dalam, 1930-1941, JATI, 10 (Dis.), 137-150. Jeevan, J., Salleh, N. H. M., & Othman, M. R. (2018). Thai Canal and Malacca straits: Complementing or competing stratagem for trade development in South East Asia. Journal of Sustainable Development of Transport and Logistics, 3(2), 34-48. Jeshurun, C. (1970). The Anglo-French Declaration of January 1896 and the Independence of Siam. Journal of Siam Society, LVIII (2): 105-126. Lam, P. E. (2018). Thailand’s Thai Canal Proposal and China’s Maritime Silk Road: Between Fantasy and Reality?, Asian Affairs: An American Review, 45, 1–17, DOI: 10.1080/00927678.2017.1410403 Lanteigne, M. (2008). China’s maritime security and the “Malacca Dilemma”. Asian Security, 4(2), 143-161. Ngui , C. Y.K. (2012). Thai Canal (1824-1910): The Elusive Dream, Akademika, 82(1), 71-80. Nguyen, M. C., & Phan, V. H. (2020). Sea navigation-based Thai Canal implication: an analysis of its effect on the Vietnamese maritime industry, Australian Journal of Maritime & Ocean Affairs, 12(2), 83-94, DOI: 10.1080/18366503.2020.1764174. Ronan, W. J. (1936). The Thai Canal: A Suez for Japan? Pacific Affairs, 9(3), 406-415. Seatrade Maritime News. (2015). Thailand, China Sign Agreement to Construct a New Strategic Thai Canal. Seatrade Maritime News, (20 Jan.), www.seatrade-maritime. com, retrieved on 2 January 2021. Seatrade Maritime News. (2020). Malaysia’s state government has reportedly scrapped a MYR43bn ($10.5bn) port project off the coast of Melaka due to delays in reclamation works. Seastrade Maritime News, (23. Nov), www.seatrade-maritime. com, retrieved on 2 January 2021. Sulong, R. S. (2013). The Thai Canal and The Philippinesn Relations. Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, 31(4), 109-125. Thapa, R. B., Kusanagi, M., Kitazumi, A., & Murayama, Y. (2007). Sea navigation, challenges and potentials in South East Asia: an assessment of suitable sites for a shipping canal in the South Kra Isthmus. GeoJournal, 70(2-3), 161-172. The Maritime Executive. (2020). Thailand takes a step back from Kra Canal Proposal, The Maritime Executive, (9 June), www.maritime-executive.com, retrieved on 5 January 2021. Thio, E. (1969). Britain’s Search for Security in North Malaya, 1886-1897, Journal of Southeast Asian History, Vol. 10 (2), 279-303, https://www.jstor.org/stable/20067746

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CHAPTER NINE

PROMOTING BLUE ECONOMY IN MALAYSIA Nazery Khalid “Kalau kail panjang sejengkal Lautan dalam jangan diduga” (Malay proverb)

Introduction If there is a country that can aptly describe itself as a maritime nation, Malaysia fits the bill almost perfectly. Geographically, the landmass of the country - consisting of Peninsular Malaysia and the states of Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo Island - is divided by South China Sea (SCS). By way of her extended Exclusive Economic Zone, (EEZ) Malaysia’s marine space, approximately 334,000 km2, is larger than her land area of approximately 328,0657 km2, with a total coastline of 4,675 km in length (CIA, n.d.) Peninsular Malaysia, where the majority of the population resides, borders the Straits of Malacca (SoM), a Sea Line of Communication (SLOC) of tremendous economic and strategic importance not only to the nation but to the other littoral states and the international community. A quarter of the world’s crude oil transported by tankers and half of its seaborne tonnage pass through the narrow straits daily (Hirst, 2014). This sea lane, the second busiest waterway in the world in terms of annual shipping traffic, links the East and West trade and acts as a pivotal facilitator to Malaysia’s trade. The SCS is also an important trade route and is rich with living and non-living resources. All of Malaysia’s oil and gas, which contributes nearly 20% to its GDP and generates employment to many locals, are found in this sea. Malaysia’s history is significantly shaped by the seas which acted as a conduit to the arrival of people of various origins from across the world and the spread of religions. 133


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Malacca Port in the Straits of Malacca reached its zenith in the 15th century during the Malacca Sultanate as an international entreport facilitating intra-regional and cross continent trades. The Straits was also the stage for the arrival of Portuguese, Dutch and British colonisers, whose rule between 1511 and 1957 brought profound impacts to modern-day Malaysia which are seen and felt to this day. The seas continue to be of tremendous importance to modern-day Malaysia in areas such as trade, security, food source, environment, socio-economic, strategic affairs and international relations. To underscore the importance of the seas to Malaysia, the Malay term “tanah air”, which literally means land and water, is used to describe the country. This just about shows how much the seas are imbedded into the DNA of the nation and its people.

The Sea as a Conduit for Economic Development The sea plays an immensely important role in Malaysia’s economy. It facilitates an estimated 95% of its international trade (by volume) and its ports act as gateways to its trade which is pivotal to its economic wellbeing. The offshore oil and gas industry, in which the national oil company Petronas plays a central role, is a main contributor to the nation’s economy and to the Federal Government’s revenue. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, marine tourism was a fast-growing sector within the tourism industry in this country of beautiful beaches and islands and rich marine ecosystem. The fishery sector provides employment to 175,000 people and contributes 1% to the economy (Mohd Omar, 2017). The marine industry in Malaysia is made of transportation activities directly or indirectly related to the seas. The industry consists of a well-established regulatory framework overseen by the Ministry of Transport and its agencies; infrastructures such as ports and terminals plus supporting ones such as warehouses, free zones and logistics or distribution centres, ships carrying cargos and providing marine services, and enterprises, organisations and human capital with various expertise and skills sets supporting the industry players. This vast industry features many sub-sectors including shipping, port operations, offshore oil and gas exploration and production, Ship Building and Ship Repair (SBSR), maritime equipment manufacturing, marine tourism, fishery, maritime education and training, maritime law enforcement and administration, and various ancillary services supporting seaborne transport and offshore activities. Malaysia’s dynamic marine industry generates local and foreign direct investments, as well as creates and offers employment. It fosters infrastructure, skills development plus technology transfer and research and development. It also has strong backward and forward linkages with many industries such as agriculture, defence and security, ICT, logistics, mining, 134


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manufacturing, services, steel and many others. In short, its importance to Malaysia’s socio-economic wellbeing and even strategic interests cannot be overstated. Malaysia’s credentials amongst the community of maritime nations is rather impressive. It has been elected to the International Council of International Maritime Organization (IMO), the London-based specialised United Nations body on the use of safe and clean oceans since 2006, Malaysia is a signatory to the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) 1982, and almost all the major maritime international maritime conventions. By most major accounts, the country punches above its weight class in key sub-sectors within the global marine industry. Testimony to its prowess as a trading nation on the global stage, its ports handled a total of 26.4 million twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU), the standard unit for containers transported by ships, or 3.2 percent of global total container throughput volume in 2019 (UNCTAD, n.d.). This represents percent of global container throughput in 2019 of 802 million TEU (Statista, n.d.). Malaysia boasts world-class container ports, namely Port Klang and Port of Tanjung Pelepas which are highly connected to the world’s major ports and host many of the world’s top shipping lines. Port Klang was ranked the 12th container port in 2019, handling 13.6 million TEU while Port of Tanjung Pelepas, one of the world’s major transhipment ports, occupied the 18th spot with 9.1 million TEU container ports respectively (Lloyd’s List, 2020). Meanwhile, Bintulu Port is the world’s largest export terminal for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) while Johor Port in Pasir Gudang, Johor is the world’s largest palm oil export terminal. Shipping is a pivotal sub-sector of the marine industry in Malaysia. It provides connectivity linking the country’s producers of raw materials and manufactured goods to their markets, and its consumers to producers. It provides a crucial means in facilitating the country’s domestic and international trade, enabling economic integration with international and global supply chains and economies. The shipping sector is made of shipping lines or companies transporting cargos (in container, bulk and conventional vessels, tankers and barges) and providing services using a range of offshore support vessels and workboats. The biggest Malaysian shipping company owned by Petronas, Malaysia International Shipping Corporation Berhad (MISC), carries oil, gas and chemical cargos in international waters. It is a major player in global energy shipping and the world’s largest owner-operator of Aframax tankers, which are ships typically carrying oil with length overall of around 240 meters and have capacities between 80,000 and 120,000 DWT (deadweight tonnage). They can carry from 500,000 to 800,000 barrels of oil (1 barrel of oil = 011.16 cubic meter). The shipbuilding and ship repair sector is made of around 100 big and small shipyards located throughout the country, with the most numbers, mainly family-owned small yards, in Sibu Sarawak. The shipyards carry out shipbuilding, ship repair and 135


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maintenance, repair and overhaul activities, providing crucial support to offshore activities within the marine industry. Shipbuilding consists of designing, building, constructing, repairing, maintaining, converting and upgrading of ships of all kinds. The major shipyards can build high quality commercial vessels including oceangoing, near-coastal, government, passenger, offshore (for oil and gas exploration and production), tugboats and fishing vessels. Key markets for Malaysian-made vessels include ASEAN (80% of total exports), Americas, Africa and Europe. It is estimated by the Malaysia Industry-Government Group for High Technology that the SBSR industry generates tremendous economic multiplier effects for Malaysia’s economy, providing employment to around 35,000 people, bringing in investment, and spurring infrastructure plus talent and skills development. In 2019, Malaysia contributed 36,450 GRT or 0.03% of world newbuilding order book. It was ranked 26th in list of nations with the largest merchant fleet with total tonnage of 10.4 million DWT of vessels 100 GT & above (UNCTAD, n.d.). The lead agency for the maritime industry is the Ministry of Transport Malaysia, which provides guiding policies. Its agency, the Marine Department is responsible for promoting safe and clean shipping and promoting seafarers welfare. The Malaysian Government provides support in areas such as financing through making funds available to marine industry players via state-owned development banks, providing a conducive legal and institutional framework for the industry’s development, offering incentives to promote the SBSR industry (such as offering tax relief to shipyards to ensure they are competitive against foreign yards and to seafarers working on board Malaysian registered ships). There are several master plans acting as roadmaps to guide Malaysia’s marine industry. The Malaysia Shipbuilding/Ship Repair Master Plan 2020 was launched in 2011 to chart the industry’s growth over ten years. The Government supports the SBSR sector by including it as one of the National Key Economic Areas in the Economic Transformation Program implemented in 2010. A similar plan was also formulated for the shipping sector in the form of the Malaysia Shipping Master Plan 2017-2022. The key objective of the plan is to revitalize the shipping sector towards building a stronger economy. There are also several like policies including the one introduced in early 1990s to promote Port Klang as the National Load Centre and eventually a container hub port in the South East Asia region. The Cabotage Policy, which reserves the carriage of cargos between local ports to locally registered ships, was introduced in 1980 to protect the interest of local shipping companies and promote the development of local shipping tonnage. Both policies have been instrumental in helping Port Klang and MISC to respectively become the world class container port and energy shipping company they are today. 136


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Promoting for Blue Economy The concept of Blue Economy is fast gaining traction amongst the world’s littoral nations. In economic circles, there is also a term called Green Economy which is generally defined as an economy that takes into account sustainable development principles and is pursued through responsible custodianship of the environment. It can be posited then that Blue Economy, which entails pursuing economic opportunities through sustainable means, is part of Green Economy. It essentially entails deriving economic benefits from the seas – including its features and resources – and exploiting them for the socio-economic wellbeing of the nation while adhering to sustainable principles and protecting the marine ecosystem, marine biodiversity and cultural heritage of communities residing along the coastal areas. Based on the oft-quoted definition offered by the World Bank, Blue Economy is the “sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem” (The World Bank, n.d.). Meanwhile, the European Commission, in its ‘2018 Annual Economic Report on Blue Economy’, defines the term as “All economic activities related to oceans, seas and coasts”. The United Nations (UN) notes that pursuing Blue Economy sustainably will assist in achieving Goal 14 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), namely Life Below Water. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, which was adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, for the present and future generations. Core to the Agenda is the 17 SDGs which act as a clarion call for action by all nations to work together on a platform of global partnership to address climate change and take better care of the planet – while in pursuit of society’s interests and economic growth. Meanwhile, The Commonwealth propagates the idea of viewing Blue Economy beyond being solely a mechanism for economic growth as is the case in the ‘business-as-usual’ model. It calls upon nations to consider the effects of their sea-based activities on the future health of marine resources (The Commonwealth, n.d.). Synthesizing the various definitions, it can be summarized that Blue Economy entails promoting economic growth through a mix of traditional and emerging sea-based activities while incorporating social inclusion and sustainable development principles to ensure livelihoods are protected and the integrity of marine environment and resources are preserved. The logic behind pursuing Blue Economy for Malaysia is obvious. As seen from the discussion earlier, it is a country blessed with excellent maritime features and boasts maritime infrastructures and credentials which are the envy of many nations. These, combined with the Government support and a fairly facilitating environment in favour of the development of maritime economic activities, give it a great advantage to become a flourishing Blue Economy nation.

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Amid the drive to elevate the income of Malaysians towards transforming its economy, the race is on to diversify the economy to venture into areas spurred by innovation, high technologies and high skills. Pursuing Blue Economy is therefore an obvious choice to make towards attaining this goal as there are many activities within the vast spectrum of the maritime economy which are aligned with the economic transformation plan. With the natural advantages such as long coast line, seas with plentiful of living and non-living resources and superb location in a populous, economically vibrant area, and an embarrassment of riches of man-made features, Malaysia has what it takes to become a country in which Blue Economy can become a key contributor to its economy. The global contribution of the Ocean Economy, another term used interchangeably with Blue Economy, is estimated to be a whooping USD3.6 trillion a year, creating more than 150 million jobs worldwide (Leiva, M., 2020). These numbers alone provide an indication of the immense economic potential of Blue Economy for maritime nations, especially developing countries looking to escalate their economic growth to elevate the standard of living of their people. As a nation blessed with maritime features and abundant resources, Malaysia is already generating considerable revenue, attracting investments and creating employment through sea-based economic activities. The “Study on Input-Output Perspective of the Maritime Sector” carried out in 1997 estimated that Malaysia’s maritime sector gross output in 2000 was 13% of total gross output while its share in primary inputs and imports based on imports, import duties and commodity taxes values was 17% of national total (MIMA & UPM, 1997). Its marine resources are priceless heritage of the nation. Malaysia also has fantastic diving sites renowned internationally by divers for its stunning biodiversity and beauty. Reef Check, an NGO dedicated to preserving coral reefs in Malaysia, estimated the value of the nation’s coral reefs with a cover of about 4,000 km2 at RM145 billion per year in a study carried out in 2014 (Reef Check, n.d.). The marine natural resources are of tremendous economic and ecological value hence while they should be exploited to generate income and economic returns, they should also be conserved and preserved for future generations. It is an anomaly that despite Malaysia’s maritime credentials, features and riches, the Blue Economy concept has not been looked at by policymakers as a key economic sector in the same way that economic sectors such as energy, electrical and electronics, agriculture, timber, manufacturing and services are given emphasis to. As a nation which depends highly on the seas for its socio-economic wellbeing, it is in Malaysia’s interest to explore seriously the potential of the seas and its features and resources to enlarge the contribution of marine economic activities to its GDP. It is high time that Blue Economy be given the kind of weightage that other major economic sectors get, given its importance and tremendous potential for growth. 138


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Pursuing marine-based economic activities more vigorously and innovatively would also help attain the objective of transforming Malaysia’s economy into a high-income one through knowledge-based and innovation driven activities. By adhering to sustainable principles in enlarging the Blue Economy’s contribution to the nation’s GDP, the target of sustainable development as outlined in the National Policy on the Environment can also be fulfilled. The policy, better known by its Malay acronym DASN (Dasar Alam Sekitar Negara) was established in 2001 as a guide for continuous economic, social and cultural progress and enhancement of the quality of life of Malaysians through environmentally sound and sustainable development. Its principle objective is to attain continuous economic, social and cultural progress and enhancement of the quality of life of Malaysians through environmentally sound and sustainable development. DASN seeks to integrate environmental considerations into development activities and in all related decision-making processes, to foster long-term economic growth and human development, and to protect and enhance the environment. It complements and enhances the environmental dimensions of other national policies, such as those on forestry and industry, and takes cognizance of international conventions on global concerns. In addition to these, pursuing Blue Economy can also help meet the objectives of various other policies in areas such as human capital development, entrepreneur development and making Malaysia globally competitive in the digital economy. Blue Economy can also help increase the income of those involved in maritime economic activities, especially at the subsistence level, to help them escape poverty and the socalled middle-income trap and move up the economic ladder. Exploring the features and riches of the seas requires huge investments in infrastructures and human capital. In this regard, Blue Economy can also generate tremendous multiplier effects by attracting local and foreign investments into various sectors of the ocean economy, spurring human capital development especially in high-skills areas, creating employment, boosting linkages across industries and encouraging inclusive, sustainable development. More economic activities being pursued within the huge spectrum of Blue Economy would mean more jobs created and more revenue generated for the Government. This has become an agenda of high importance amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic outbreak that has resulted in loss of jobs and income to many Malaysians and erosion of revenues for the Government.

Issues and Challenges in Developing Blue Economy Despite being in an advantageous position to optimally harness its marine features, there are several issues and challenges that need to be addressed and overcome if Malaysia truly wants to unlock the value and unleash the full force of its ocean economy’s potential. A solid foundation must first be laid out before the country can 139


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pursue ocean economy seriously and harness the maritime advantages and riches available at its disposal. The following are among the building blocks that need to be put in place to construct a solid, workable platform on which a sustainable Blue Economy can be promoted and developed in Malaysia.

Defining Blue Economy The definition can be formulated based on globally accepted conventions defined by world bodies such as the World Bank and United Nations, and NGOs such as World Wildlife Federation, of what Blue Economy entails but must be suited to Malaysia’s unique features, interests and even limitations. Coming up with a sound definition of what Blue Economy means is the all-important first step towards taking the long journey to optimally leverage on the economic potential of the nation’s seas. The definition must be anchored on the importance of the seas not only as a vector for economic growth but a precious resource that is crucial to the country’s trade, food and energy source, environmental integrity, sovereignty, security, strategic interests, heritage and future wellbeing.

Government Support Strong support from the Government in pursuing Blue Economy is simply nonnegotiable. Without high-level acceptance and adoption of Blue Economy as an economic agenda, it would stand no chance of being pursued seriously, vigorously and sustainably. Regardless of changes in the Government of the Day, only with buyin from the nation’s top leadership can Blue Economy be accepted as a matter of national importance and as a goal of policymaking in areas such as socio-economic, human capital and sustainable development and investment. With Blue Economy visible on the radar of policymakers and firmly entrenched on their list of priority areas, it can be promoted and developed as a mechanism for economic growth and in a sustainable fashion.

National Blue Economy Master Plan There must be a holistic National Blue Economy Master Plan that clearly spells out the vision, objectives, targets and deliverables, key success factors, strategies, action plans and process owners. This master plan, to be developed through extensive and exhaustive consultation with all stakeholders and experts in the field, will act as the roadmap or reference point for the comprehensive, sustainable development of Blue Economy in Malaysia. Through the master plan, the concept of Blue Economy can be integrated into key policies in areas such as economic, environment, social, 140


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human capital and sustainable development. In this way, support can be drawn from all fronts for the development of Blue Economy to push for the development of the maritime sector in a serious and sustainable way as part of the larger national economic development policy.

A Solid Understanding of the Features and Resources of the Seas around Malaysia This is a critical first step before any attempt to harness ocean resources or to generate economic returns from the seas is made. This understanding should focus on developing a strong grasp of the many aspects of the economic and ecological value of marine resources and the management of the marine space. It should include areas such as marine spatial planning, resource evaluation, marine environmental protection, pollution prevention and mitigation, and sustainable fisheries, marine tourism, offshore mining and shipping, among others. Developing this requires the availability of comprehensive data and information that can be used in developing a concrete big picture of the nation’s maritime features and resources, plus the regional and global trends that affect the seas, its resources and marine industries. The data is also essential in forecasting, decision making, resource planning, strategy development and policymaking related to the seas. To this end, the academia and research community and experts in various fields of Blue Economy must be actively engaged and consulted. Their knowledge and experience in the fields are valuable in guiding policymakers, entrepreneurs and companies to pursue sea-based economic activities especially in areas which are considered new or untested. The project proponents must also engage parties with technologies and proven track records, for example in deep-sea exploration which requires a careful approach. Prior to starting any projects in environmentally sensitive areas or involving resources that can potentially cause pollution if not handled carefully, exhaustive studies and economic, environmental and social impact assessment must be carried out to evaluate the potential cost-benefits, drawbacks, risks and even knowledge gaps related to the pursuit.

Collaboration amongst Stakeholders of the Seas They encompass various Government ministries and agencies, industries and economic sub-sectors, experts, NGOs, coastal communities, industry players and other key marine economy stakeholders through various dialogues, partnerships, arrangements and platforms. This may even need to be extended across borders, given the fluid and borderless nature of the seas, involving inter-governmental cooperative mechanisms, joint development authorities and technical experts groups. On the regional front, there are cooperative platforms set up by ASEAN members in areas 141


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such as navigation safety, maritime security (including anti-piracy measures) and oil spill prevention and contingencies, most notably in the SoM. For Blue Economy to be implemented successfully in Malaysia, these domestic and international cooperative mechanisms must be established and pursued vigorously, perhaps on a level not attempted or attained before. This owes to the fact that exploring sea-based economic activities in an organized, sustainable and full-scale fashion cannot be done by a single party and requires full cooperation of multiple stakeholders.

Investments This requires funding from the public and private sectors and attracting local and foreign direct investment to build and upgrade marine transportation or seaborne trade facilities, maritime training and education institutions, research and development centres, assets, systems and legal and regulatory framework related to the maritime sector. This covers marine environmental monitoring, marine pollution control, sustainable fisheries, offshore energy exploration and production, navigation safety, maritime security, port development and shipping regulations, among many others. Adequate capital is also needed to build the skills and know-how needed to plan, administer, regulate, implement, operate, manage and monitor all aspects of the maritime sector to enable economic activities to be carried out efficiently, productively, profitably and sustainably.

Commitment to Adopt Green Practices A commitment by all stakeholders to adopt green practices by reducing emissions, adopt eco-friendly practices and green technologies whenever possible, and incorporate sustainable principles and philosophy in their business strategies and organizational culture. This is in line with the objectives of DASN and also the Green Technology Master Plan Malaysia 2017-2030, which outlines the nation’s strategic roadmap for green technology development to create a low carbon and resource efficient economy, focusing on building, energy, manufacturing, transport, waste and water sectors. It is an offshoot from the 11th Malaysia Plan 2016-2020 which identifies green-based economy as one of the trajectories of growth for Malaysia’s economy in its Transformation National 50 (TN50) plan to make it among the leading nations in economic development, citizen wellbeing and innovation by 2050.

Conclusion It is clear that Malaysia has what it takes to put Blue Economy on the national agenda and become even more successful in harnessing her maritime sector. The ingredients and a conducive environment are already in place for the country to step up another 142


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notch in harnessing her maritime features and resources optimally and sustainably. Her dependence on the seas for trade, food supply, oil and gas, employment, human capital development, investment plus environmental and strategic interests means that the nation will always be seaward looking and maritime oriented. This adds to the prospect of capitalizing on the seas in pursuit of Blue Economy. In optimizing the advantages and resources at our disposal through Blue Economy for the nation’s socio-economic wellbeing and in fulfilling our strategic interest, we are counting on the stakeholders to be mindful of their collective responsibilities as responsible custodians of the earth. They must at all times pay close attention to the need of ensuring that the marine environment is protected and the resources are exploited in a sustainable manner. They should also endeavour to safeguard communities along the coastlines and those who dwell at sea like the Bajau Laut community in Sabah. Their unique lifestyle and cultural heritage must never be sacrificed on the altar of developing Blue Economy and their participation must always be drawn in in pursuing maritime economic activities. In fact, the future architects of the nation’s Blue Economy strategy can draw a lot of valuable lessons from and be guided by the wisdom of coastal and sea-based communities and their simple yet sustainable lifestyles and subsistence approach towards exploiting sea resources. Decisions must be made based on solid data and expert advice to satisfy the need of the majority of the stakeholders and with the nation’s interest in mind, not on mere hunch or to just meet the need of a small group of proponents. They must be guided by the unshakeable quest to harmonise economic development goals with responsible stewardship and management of the environment, and the diversity and vitality of the marine ecosystem. There must be serious, continuous effort to not only preserve but improve the biodiversity and quality of the marine environment. Last but not least, there must be efforts and mechanisms to actively engage the private sector, the academia and research community, NGOS and the international community in pushing forward the Blue Economy agenda. This gargantuan effort cannot be left to the Government alone to make.

Reference CIA World Factbook. ‘Malaysia’. Available at https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/ countries/malaysia/ retrieved on 1 February 2021. European Commission. (2018). ‘2018 Annual Economic Report on Blue Economy’. Available at https://ec.europa.eu/maritimeaffairs/sites/maritimeaffairs/files/2018annual-economic-report-on-blue-economy_en.pdf retrieved on 2 February 2021. KeTTHA. (2017) Green Technology Master Plan Malaysia 2017-2030 (GTMP). Availableat https: //www.pmo.gov.my/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Green-TechnologyMaster-Plan-Malaysia-2017-2030.pdf 143


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Hisrt, T. (2014). ‘The world’s most important trade route?’. World Economic Forum. Available at https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2014/05/world-most-importanttrade-route/ (accessed on 1 February 2021). Leiva, M. (2020). ‘What is the blue Economy, and is it Green?’. Investment Mo0nitor Online. Available at https://investmentmonitor.ai/global/what-is-the-blueeconomy on 7 February 2021. Lloyd’s List. (2020) ‘One Hundred Ports 2020’. Available at https://lloydslist. maritimeintelligence.informa.com/one-hundred-container-ports-2020 retrieved on 5 February 2021. MIMA, & UPM. (1997). ‘Study on input-output perspective of the maritime sector’. Available at www.mima.gov.my Mohd Omar, A.F. (2017). ‘Fisheries Country Profile – Malaysia’. Available at http://www. seafdec.org/fisheries-country-profile-malaysia/ retrieved on 2 February 2021. Reef Check. Coral reefs are ecologically important and economically valuable marine ecosystems. Available at https://www.reefcheck.org.my/rcm-newsletters (accessed on 5 February 2021). Statista. ‘Container throughput worldwide from 2012 to 2019’.. Available at https://www. statista.com/statistics/913398/container-throughput-worldwide/#:~:text=In%20 2019%2C%20global%20container%20throughput,compared%20to%20the%20 previous%20year. retrieved on 2 February 2021. The Commonwealth. ‘Blue Economy’. Available at https://thecommonwealth.org/ blue-economy retrieved on 8 February 2021. The Paris Agreement. Available at https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-parisagreement/the-paris-agreement The World Bank. ‘What if the Blue Economy?’ Available at https://www.worldbank.org/ en/news/infographic/2017/06/06/blue-economy retrieved on 4 February 2021 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. ‘Maritime profile : Malaysia’. Available at https://unctadstat.unctad.org/countryprofile/maritimeprofile/engb/458/index.html retrieved on 2 February 2021. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. ‘Maritime profile : Malaysia’. UNCTAD Statistics. Available at https://unctadstat.unctad.org/countryprofile/ maritimeprofile/en-gb/458/index.html retrieved on 2 February 2021. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Available at https:// unfccc.int/

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CHAPTER TEN

REINFORCING THE MALAYSIAN MARITIME GOVERNANCE THROUGH MARITIME COMMUNITY NETWORK INITIATIVE Nurul Haqimin Mohd Salleh Mohamad Rosni Othman Jagan Jeevan Izyan Munirah Mohd Zaideen

Introduction Malaysia is irrefutably a maritime nation where her area of marine waters is twice larger than the land, with approximately 614,000 km2 marine space as compared to 329,847 km2 land area. On the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, the Straits of Malacca (SoM) is an important strait where more than 80,000 merchant ships ply through the strait a year, on average 222 merchant ships cross the strait daily, making it the second busiest strait in the world after the Dover Strait. The maritime sector has become one of the national key industries, which contributes about 40% to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (Hamzah, 2019). Malaysia has more than 30 ports covering major ports, secondary ports as well as fisheries, military and passenger ports. Other major marine or maritime-based economic activities are coastal and deep-sea fisheries, oil and gas, marine tourism, shipbuilding and repair, port services and others. Alas, Malaysia has yet to have a national policy governing all these resources management and the maritime sector in Malaysia (Hamzah, 2019). This could be perhaps due to the reason that, unlike Indonesia, Japan, Canada and South Korea, the maritime sector has yet to be seen as an integral part of our national territory i.e. an extension of the landmass.

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Reinforcing The Malaysian Maritime Governance Through Maritime Community Network Initiative Maritime governance has been debated at global and domestic levels over past decades. As part of the broader ocean governance, it refers to the overarching structures and relationships that direct, control and influence the shipping and ports sector (Roe, 2013). Van Leeuwen (2015) defines “maritime governance” as follows, “The sharing of policy-making competencies in a system of negotiation between nested governmental institutions at several levels from the international, supranational, national, regional, and local on the one hand, and state actors, market parties and civil society organisations on the other hand to govern the activity of shipping and its consequences. In Malaysia, poor governance of the maritime sector has been persisting until recently, when the Malaysia Shipping Master Plan 2017 - 2022 highlighted the needs to establish a proper mechanism to monitor the shipping sector for better future. The master plan provides that a proper governance framework comprising of implementation monitoring bodies is key in successful maritime sector. Policy directions, monitoring and reviews shall be undertaken by the National Shipping Council chaired by the Minister of Transport, with the Director-General of the Marine Department Malaysia, the Malaysia Shipowners’ Association, Ikhtisas Kelautan Malaysia (Association of Malaysia’s Maritime Professionals), industry members, and federal and state government representatives as council members. Maritime education also plays an integral part in strengthening the maritime governance through capacity building. Highly capable human capital suitable with the needs of the maritime industry should be taken seriously by academic institutions. Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT), with its niche in ocean science and aquatic resources, is recognised by the Ministry of Transport Malaysia (MOT) in Maritime Education Training (MET). UMT has a holistic maritime-related expertise in Maritime Management, Maritime Logistics, Maritime Technology, Nautical Science, Maritime Transport, Maritime Operations, and Maritime Policies and Laws. Producing highly capable and qualified human capital that meets the industries’ needs requires collaborations between university and industry. At UMT, the Malaysian Maritime Logistics and Transport Center (MaLTraC) is a collaborative effort with the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), which serves as a professional development centre for key logistics and maritime transport innovations in Malaysia. It is however a necessity to have a platform with a role of disseminating maritimerelated knowledge to the community, and the industry. This calls for the maritime community network initiative, as proposed here, to bridge between the academic and the industry. The set-up of the initiative is through teaching port, which may serve as a channel to involve the community, and the industry, in research and knowledge sharing that will interactively benefit and add value to the curriculum. 146


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Blue Economy as a Fundamental Consideration in Maritime Governance The nexus between humans and oceans has been a fundamental reason for human civilization. The significant level of reliance on humans on the ocean ecosystem has created immense pressure on the marine environment. It is worsening by the skyrocketing demand from the ever growing human population, trade revolutions, industrial transformation, and substantial innovation to utilise the existing marine resources. This has sparked an immediate resolution to protect and preserve the marine resources and conserve a healthy ecosystem. This is crucial to uphold sustainable marine resources for future generations and therefore, the concept of ‘Blue Economy’ has been projected. The notion of Blue or Ocean Economy originates from the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development held in n Rio de Janeiro in 2012, better known as Rio+20 (UNCSD, 2012). Blue Economy is defined by UNCSD as “improved human wellbeing and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities, endorsing low carbon, resource efficiency, and social inclusion” Basically, this definition emphasises human wellbeing from the perspective of social, environmental, and resource efficiency. The term “Blue Economy” has been given a reinforced definition as “A sustainable ocean economy emerges when economic activity is in balance with the long term capacity of ocean ecosystems to support this activity and remain resilient and healthy” (Goddard, 2015). Growth, opportunity and a sustainable Ocean Economy has become the main pillar of this definition. Both definitions give equal priority to continued sustainability for humans and the environment from an economic perspective. Maritime governance and the implementation of maritime policies are based and derived from institutions that reflect the industry and its policy needs in the early 20th Century when globalisation was intensively propagated (Roe, 2015). The link between institutions and governance has been well-documented for the past years. Emphasis was placed upon the relationship between the transactors in governments and the institutions that underline them, such as the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), World Trade Organization (WTO), the European Union Commission and ASEAN (Roe, 2013). This relationship is important in realising an effective concept of Blue Economy.

Interconnection between Blue Economy and Maritime Governance The Blue Economy concept is the emergence of the idea from the broader green movements and in a growing awareness of the threats imposed on ocean ecosystems made by human activities such as overfishing, pollution, habitat destruction, and the impact of climate change. It is increasingly gaining importance as governments 147


Reinforcing The Malaysian Maritime Governance Through Maritime Community Network Initiative adopt and implement a more sustainable balance between economic growth and maintaining ocean health (Kaur, 2019). For the past years, the economic value of the oceans and the maritime industry is strongly gaining attention (Ehlers, 2016). The ocean economy is projected to grow rapidly this century as the global population reaches 9.6 billion by 2050, and countries continue to look to the sea for the next economic frontier (Patil et al. 2016). Interconnection between Blue Economy and maritime governance, or the broader ocean governace, can be seen from several Blue Economy industries as follows:a.

Seaports and Shipping: More than 95% of intercontinental trade rely on maritime transportation, and there are round 55,000 commercial vessels ply the oceans, with a transport volume of 10 billion tons (Ehlers, 2016). The main environmental impacts associated with maritime transport include marine and atmospheric pollution, marine litter, underwater noise, and the introduction and spread of invasive species (World Bank Group, 2017). The shipping industry and its operating environment are mostly dynamic and the problems addressed by policies must be designed accordingly (Roe, 2013). According to the World Bank Group (2017), new international regulations require the shipping industry to invest significantly in environmental technologies, covering issues such as emissions, waste, and ballast water treatment. Some of the investments are not only beneficial for the environment, they may also lead to longer-term cost savings. Since ship-owners are key stakeholders in maritime policy-making, they should form the centre of maritime governance (Roe, 2013).

b.

Fisheries and Aquaculture: The fisheries sector is most important in ensuring food security as well as an economic source, and hence, its sustainable utilisation and protection is irrefutably important (Kaur, 2019). The role of fisheries is particularly crucial in many of the world’s poorest communities, where fish are critical source of protein, while the fisheries sector provides social safety net (World Bank Group, 2017). Ehlers (2016), further proposed that having the potential to farm aquaculture may help coastal communities to diversify and alleviate fishing pressure.

c.

Offshore Hydrocarbons and Seabed Minerals: Extraction of non-living resources include oil and gas as well as alluvial mining (Smith-Godfrey, 2016), with the total hydrocarbons extracted from offshores are expected to grow at about 3.5% per year up to 2030 (Patil et al. 2016). According to the World Bank Group (2017), Small Island Developing States have become less reliant on fossil fuels through aids by development partners, with associated policies in place, by transtioning to seabed mining for minerals. The driving factors include the advent of heavy industries, and increasing demand for minerals and energy (Smith-Godfrey, 2016). As mentioned by OECD (2016), the interest in seabed minerals is predicted to rise due to depleting land-based minerals despite it remains unclear whether exploitation of deep-sea mining will start soon.

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d.

Renewable Ocean Energy: In EU, the installed capacity in Europe is projected to produce approximately 14 % of the total electricity consumption by 2030 (Ehlers, 2016). The driving factors behind renewable ocean energy include the demand for energy and lower carbon footprint, increase in international energy regulation, freshwater demand, population patterns, geographical impacts on water stocks, increased water regulation, and increased water quality demand (Smith-Godfrey, 2016).

e.

Marine Biotechnology: There are growing commercial interests in marine genetic resources, with the speed of patent applications rapidly increasing exceeding 12% a year, with over 5,000 genes patented by 2010 (World Bank Group, 2017).

f.

Marine Tourism: Over the years, the economy has shifted from one dominated by agriculture to one focused on the tourism industry (Patil et al. 2016). As populations are aging and incomes rising in many countries, combined with relatively low transport costs, coastal and ocean locations will become even more attractive tourist destinations (OECD 2016).

In a nutshell, Blue Economy is a fundamental requirement for the growth of maritime and marine-related industries. In order to grow on Blue Economy, the ocean governance framework, including maritime governance, must be in place. There are many challenges which involve almost all sectors in the economy from private/ industrial to research and development to Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to the government (Wenhai et al. 2019; Roy, 2019).

The Link between Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Maritime Governance Shipping is a critical component for future sustainable economic growth. Indeed, Malaysia’s shipping sector is vital in supporting world trade and facilitating the global economy. As Member State to the UN, Malaysia is actively working towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity (Perdana et al., 2020; Stephens and Couzens, 2016; UN, 2015). The Agenda agreed by the UN Member States in 2015, comprises 17 SDGs (Figure 1) and 169 targets, encompassing economic, social and environmental dimensions in a comprehensive global vision (United Nations, 2017). The UN recognises that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the utmost global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. Thus, the implementation of Agenda 2030 requires a more holistic, coherent and integrated approach at the national, regional and global levels (United Nations, 2020).

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Figure 1: UN Sustainable Development Goals

Driven by the global nature of shipping, maritime governance is characterized by a long history of intergovernmental decision making through the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as the main authority (Van Leeuwen, 2015). IMO creates a regulatory framework for the shipping industry and through IMO, its Member States, civil society and the shipping industry are working together to ensure a continued and strengthened contribution towards the 2030 Agenda. From a maritime governance perspective, SDG 14 (Life below Water) is central although it also links to all other SDGs, like SDG 4 (Quality Education) and SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities). SDG 14 calls the global community to strengthen the global governance of the oceans. Bringing ocean governance to the forefront of the global interchange is a dedicated goal to conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources (Wang et al., 2020). The oceans are the frontier for many conservation and development activities (Bennett, 2018), hence bringing together ocean stakeholders on a new road map for better-quality ocean governance may benefit people and marine ecosystems. Maritime governance can be hooked by achieving Target 14.2 of SDG 14, to sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration to achieve healthy and productive oceans. Alongside, Malaysia should also integrate it into the 12th Malaysia Plan to bring into line the execution of the strategies and initiatives to holistically support conservation and sustainable use of oceans and marine resources. Undeniably, in the maritime domains, education and training are vital extending to safety and security of life at sea as well as the protection of the marine environment. SDG 4 targets quality education allied to the current discourse on education policy, 150


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which is strongly oriented towards various benchmarks, indicators and targets (Boeren, 2019). In general, SDG 4, which contains 10 specific targets, addresses the needs of children, youth and adults. For maritime training and education, the idea of “lifelong learning for all” is a key element of SDG 4 (Elfert, 2019). Capacity-building needs to be tactical with regard to maritime governance and institutional framework. The efficiency of global trade depends on the professionalism and competence of the capabilities and qualified skills of maritime communities. Therefore, educational and training institutions, relevant stakeholders and the government must work together to increase excellence in maritime education and training. Reinforcement of maritime governance is important for promoting sustainable use of marine natural and cultural heritage. To be specific, the enhancement of maritime safety and security will help protect the global supply chain. The networks between ships, port cities and the communities should be safe, resilient and sustainable and this may contribute to sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11) (Corbett and Mellouli, 2017).

Maritime Community Network Initiative – A Mechanism to Reinforce the Malaysian Maritime Governance The performance of the transport and maritime services industry involving the ports and logistics sector plays an important role in contributing towards the country’s economic growth. Consumers’ choice to use port services and maritime logistics services will be an important factor in enhancing the competitiveness of this sector in responding to possible changes future based on the context of sustainable maritime sector. In the late 1950s, the container revolution began a new paradigm shift in the worldwide maritime industry. This new paradigm was a major reason for port systems to provide their physical capacity, availability of space, multi-capitalism, connectivity of complete logistics services across regions. However, in early 2011, the introduction of the Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0) which began the digitalization era changed the port system and the logistics sector to prepare for a faster and more efficient pattern of service delivery in to face the upcoming dynamic maritime trade. A comprehensive maritime logistics services chain with technological support and automation of equipment, processes and systems will determine the performance of the maritime transport and service sector (see Figure 2).

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Figure 2: Maritime Logistics Chain

The country’s transport assets including airports and seaports plays important roles in turning Malaysia into one of the global transportation hubs. Recently, the MoT has launched the National Transport Policy 2019-2030, which outlines five thrusts namely:• • • • •

Strengthen governance towards a conducive environment for the transport sector. Optimize, build and maintain transportation infrastructure, services and networks to maximize efficiency. Strengthen the safety, integration, connectivity and accessibility aspects of smooth travel. Advance towards a green transport ecosystem. Expand its global footprint and promoting the internationalization of transportation services.

These thrust can only be materialised through smart partnerships between all maritime stakeholders including MET. To ensure this, UMT as one the Malaysian METs should play its roles in providing sufficient talent and research. The three main pillars of Sustainable Development namely the Planet (natural environment), the Profit (economic integrity) and the People (community health) are the main considerations in formulating research thrusts, professional training, knowledge transfer and workbased learning under this maritime community network initiative.

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Figure 3: Maritime Community Network Initiative

In order to realise this initiative, cooperation between academics, ports, port workers and the local community is imperative. Through this network, knowledge gathered from research conducted can be transferred to the maritime community. Since this initiative has yet to be developed in Malaysia, defining maritime community network is still intriguing. Until now, there have been several terms namely ‘network maritime community’, ‘maritime communities’, ‘maritime and logistics network community’, ‘maritime network’, ‘maritime communities’ and ‘maritime community systems economics’ are being used in literatures. These terms have been used in many ways that suit to the founders’ objectives and depend on their respective stakeholders. However, these terms have yet to be properly defined. Some literatures, for example, Penobscot Marine Museum (2012) described the maritime communities focus on how maritime areas are settled, what people look for when they settle, and how their settlement fits into a network of communication and transportation. While they chose occupations to refer to maritime communities, to include those serving shorebased and sea-based industries, we investigate the social, domestic, and economic patterns. As a result, defining the specific term for the proposed initiative is essential. In this paper, the “maritime community network” is defined as the smart partnership between academic institution and industries particularly seaports and shipping sectors for the purpose of symbiosis relationship in conducting knowledge transfer, industrial-based teaching and learning, professional training and research related to the maritime sector. Thus, Figure 3 illustrates the specific networking concept between UMT and selected maritime industries.

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Reinforcing The Malaysian Maritime Governance Through Maritime Community Network Initiative As shown in Figure 3 above, UMT is at the focal point of the network connecting seaports with existing collaborations. The Malaysian Maritime Logistics and Transport Center (MaLTraC), and UMT Maritime Community Lab act as the driving force behind this maritime community network. A Teaching Port has been designated at the nearest seaport, of Kemaman Port, which will serve as an extension of a UMT entity in the industry The Teaching Port functions as a port research centre apart from providing TVET-based professional trainings. A teaching port based on Blue Economy could enhance the work-based learning, research and knowledge transfer. Stakeholders in the transport and maritime services sector can benefit by improving operational efficiency, improving data collection and analysis, empowering customer experience, cutting operational costs and reducing CO2 emissions from ports to cities as prescribed by the SDGs. Figure 4 below illustrates the concept and approach of Teaching Port covering SDGS, Blue Economy and the 3 Pillars of Sustainable Development. Four pillars have been introduced in Teaching Port, which consists of (i) Port Operations; (ii) Energy usage; (iii) Environment; and (iv) Management & Organization, which leads sustainable development strategies in the context of the 2030 Agenda. The four pillars focuses on the following SDGs:• • •

SDG 4 - By ensuring quality, inclusive and equitable education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all. SDG 13 - By taking action on climate change and its impact on the environment. SDG 14 - By conserving and preserving coastal and marine resources for sustainable development.

Figure 4: Teaching Port Concept

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These SDGs will be the guiding principles of the teaching port in harnessing the Blue Economy in the transport and maritime services sector. It is projected that there will be quintuple positive effects of this maritime community network initiative, which are as follows: • • • • •

Empowerment of the Blue Economy and SDGs in ports and other maritime sectors. Support on the National Transport Policy 2019-2030 through related knowledge transfer and research activities in port and maritime sectors. Strengthened cooperation and networking. Enhanced capacity building, economic empowerment and environmental conservation, which may indirectly increase port income. Teaching Port as a platform bridging the maritime community.

Opportunities and Challenges through Maritime Community Initiative Network Since port performance contributes to port choice, the purpose of this initiative is to develop and demonstrate a port performance measurement methodology towards the zero-carbon status as a green port. This methodology will be based on the perspective of port’s hinterland performance and weighting of attributes of port choice, to be further developed into a strategy for future development. Currently, the advanced technological development plays an important role in the development industry, moving towards IR 4.0. The industrial revolution started with IR1.0 towards the end of the 18th Century, which focused on mechanical facilities using water and steam power. It was continued with IR2.0 at the beginning from the 20th Century, which focused electrical energy. IR3.0 started in 1970, and lasted until before the turn of the century, focused on the application of electronics and information technology to automation. Presently, IR4.0 focuses on Cyber-Physical Production Systems (CPPSs) that merged both the real and virtual worlds. The challenges of maritime industry, especially in the seaports are inefficient transportation systems, lack of effective container management, high competitions, inadequate infrastructures, capacity bottlenecks and accessibility problems (e.g.: due to traffic congestion). However, the attractiveness and competitiveness of the seaports is enhanced through the use of the Internet of Things (IOT). As an information management tools using digital transformation, IOT helps compensate the constraint of a seaport due on traffic congestion or time delay etc. A review of domestic laws and policies should also be carried out to include trade facilitation, regulatory environment, digital connectivity, SME development and 155


Reinforcing The Malaysian Maritime Governance Through Maritime Community Network Initiative capacity building. Malaysia’s bilateral relations including engagements in Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), regional partnerships specifically the country’s role in ASEAN, and its role in the IMO. Malaysia’s ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) would send a positive message about her commitment to open and fair trade, as can be seen from Figure 5 below. The maritime stakeholders including the policy makers should help the maritime industry to take a step back and look at the big picture to inform future investment portfolios. The opportunity to develop long-range technology, including science and technology plan should be welcomed, and the governance framework for sustainable management of the ocean should be prioritised. Facilitating sustainable ocean economic development requires a strategy based on sound information flow, and cooperation between the maritime industry communities, as well as the strength of the maritime sector.

Figure 5: Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

Conclusion Since is worth mentioning that the smart partnership between maritime stakeholders are inevitable in enhancing maritime governance in Malaysia, thus highlighting the necessity of the maritime community network initiative as a platform to bridge the maritime academic institution with the industries, particularly the seaports and shipping sectors. Under this smart partnership platform, a symbiosis relationship will be created through knowledge transfer, industrial-based teaching and learning, professional trainings, and research and development.

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Since the maritime industry is recognized as having significant roles in Blue Economy, what is left is the political will to change and encourage for the development of a more competitive maritime cluster. In order to become a developed maritime nation, sustainable ocean economic development and knowledge-based economy must be prioritised through an efficient maritime and the broader ocean governance framework. Malaysia’s sustainable maritime industry is essential to national prosperity. Therefore, in positioning Malaysia to become a true maritime nation, the national ocean governance framework should be reinforced through a national ocean policy, a dedicated maritime affairs minister and adoption of a co-management principle, which in this case is through the maritime community network.

References Bennett, N.J. (2018). Navigating a just and inclusive path towards sustainable oceans. Mar. Policy, 97, 139–146. Boeren, E. (2019). Understanding Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 on “quality education” from micro, meso and macro perspectives. Int. Rev. Educ. 65, 277–294. Bremere, I., M. Kennedy, A. Stikker, and J. Schippers. (2001). How Water Scarcity Will Affect the Growth in the Desalination Market in the Coming 25 Years. Desalination 138: 715. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jan_Schippers/ Retrieved on: 9th January 2021. Cisneros-Montemayor, A. M., Moreno-Báez, M., Voyer, M., Allison, E. H., Cheung, W. W., Hessing-Lewis, M., & Ota, Y. (2019). Social equity and benefits as the nexus of a transformative Blue Economy: A sectoral review of implications. Marine Policy, 109, 103702. Corbett, J., Mellouli, S. (2017). Winning the SDG battle in cities: How an integrated information ecosystem can contribute to the achievement of the 2030 sustainable development goals. Inf. Syst. J. 27, 427–461. Ehlers, P. (2016). Blue growth and ocean governance—how to balance the use and the protection of the seas. WMU Journal of Maritime Affairs, 15(2), 187-203. Elfert, M. (2019). Lifelong learning in Sustainable Development Goal 4: What does it mean for UNESCO’s rights-based approach to adult learning and education? Int. Rev. Educ. 65, 537–556. Goddard, C. (2015). The Blue Economy: Growth, opportunity and a sustainable oceaneconomy, s.l.: Economist Intelligence Unit. sustainable-ocean-economy Available from: http://www.greengrowthknowledge.org/resource/blueeconomygrowthopportunity-and-. Retrieved on 9th January 2021. Hamzah, B.A. (2019). Maritime sector in need to reform. New Straits Times. Available from: https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2019/12/549605/ maritime-sector-need-reform#:~:text=THE%20maritime%20sector%20of%20 Malaysia,maritime%2Drelated%20industries%20and%20tourism. Retrieved on 5th January 2021. 157


Reinforcing The Malaysian Maritime Governance Through Maritime Community Network Initiative Kaur, C. (2019). Towards a Sustainable Blue Economy Initiative: Discussing Actions for Cooperative Ocean Governance in the Region. 2. 15-17. Malaysia Shipping Master Plan 2017-2022. National Transport Policy 2019-2030. Moita, S. and Bintaha, M. (2014) Maritime Community Systems Economics and Changes Around the Area Industry. IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences. 19(7), 31-36. Penobscot Marine Museum (2012) Maritime Communities: Introduction. Available from: https: //www.penobscotmarinemuseum.org/pbho-1/maritime-communities. Retrieved on 5th January 2021. OECD. (2016). The OceanEconomy in 2030. Paris: OECD. Patil, P. G., Virdin, J., Diez, S. M., Roberts, J., & Singh, A. (2016). Toward a blue economy: a promise for sustainable growth in the Caribbean. World Bank. Perdana, K., Gadzali, S.S., Puspawijaya, R.L. (2020). The Sustainable Development Agenda, in: The Palgrave Handbook of Corporate Social Responsibility. 1–22. Roe, M. (2013). Maritime Governance and Policy-Making: The Need for Process Rather than Form. The Asian Journal of Shipping and Logistics. 29(2), 167-186. Roe, M. (2015). Maritime Governance: Speed, Flow, Form Process. Plymouth Springer. Roy, A. (2019). Blue Economy in the Indian Ocean: Governance Perspectives for Sustainable Development in the Region. Occasional Paper, January. Retrieved on 9th January 2021. Smith-Godfrey, S. (2016). Defining the blue economy. Maritime affairs: Journal of the national maritime foundation of India, 12(1), 58-64. Stephens, T., Couzens, E. (2016). Editorial. Asia Pacific J. Environ. Law. https://doi. org/10.4337/apjel.2016.01.00 United Nations. (2015). Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform [WWW Document]. United Nations. Available from: https://sustainabledevelopment-un-org.acces. bibl.ulaval.ca/post2015/transformingourworld/publication. United Nations. (2017). The Sustainable Development Goals Report. United Nations Publ. 1–56. Available from: https://doi.org/10.18356/3405d09f-en. United Nations. (2020). Social Development for Sustainable Development [WWW Document]. Sustain. Dev. Goals. URL https://www.un.org/development/desa/ dspd/2030agenda-sdgs.html. United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD). (2012). Blue Economy Concept Paper, s.l.: United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. Available from: http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/ th ditcted2014d5_en.pdf. Date Accessed 5 January 2021. United Nations General Assembly. (1987). Report of the world commission on environment and development: Our common future. Oslo, Norway: United Nations General Assembly, Development and International Co-operation: Environment. Van Leeuwen, J. (2015). The regionalization of maritime governance: Towards a polycentric governance system for sustainable shipping in the European Union. Ocean & Coastal Management, 117, 23-31. 158


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Wang, X., Yuen, K.F., Wong, Y.D., & Li, K.X. (2020). How can the maritime industry meet Sustainable Development Goals? An analysis of sustainability reports from the social entrepreneurship perspective. Transp. Res. Part D Transp. Environ. Wenhai, L., Cusack, C., Baker, M., Tao, W., Mingbao, C., Paige, K., & Yufeng, Y. (2019). Successful blue economy examples with an emphasis on international perspectives. Frontiers in Marine Science, 6, 261. World Bank Group. (2017). United Nations - The Potential of The Blue Economy Increasing Long-Term Benefits of the Sustainable Use of Marine Resources for Small Island Developing States and Coastal Least Developed Countries.

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CHAPTER ELEVEN

THE ROLES OF OCEAN GOVERNANCE AND BLUE ECONOMY IN DRIVING THE MARITIME NATION AGENDA Wan Izatul Asma Wan Talaat

Introduction As noted by the 7th Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on March 27 during LIMA’19 National Maritime Conference organised by the Royal Malaysian Navy, Malaysia is blessed with all the attributes of a maritime nation. Strategically located at the focal point on the maritime trade map, endowed with beautiful coastlines and islands as well as bountiful marine natural resources, and equipped with vast sea areas, Malaysia’s socio-economic well-being and security are critically depending on the maritime industry. Thus, charting the passage for Malaysia, which is surrounded by seas and has virtually 2 times bigger maritime space than her terrestrial space, as a maritime nation is of utmost importance. Our glory as a maritime nation started off as early as in the 3rd Century through the Langkasuka and Kedah Tua Empires, which served as the hubs in the Spice Route. Malay maritime trade started in the 3rd century alongside with, and in close association with, Malay navigation (Yapar, 2019). While Malay seafarers roamed the sea then, the ports in Lembah Bujang and Sungai Mas were frequented by Arab, Indian and European traders to barter trade as well as a hub to repair ships, replenish voyage supplies and as transit to cross Segenting Kra to the eastern part of the Malay Peninsula. As noted by Yapar (2019), trade or commerce was the main motivation for the Malays to navigate across the globe as far away as China, India, the Islamic Caliphate states and Madagascar.

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The Roles Of Ocean Governance And Blue Economy In Driving The Maritime Nation Agenda The glory was continued by the Malaccan Sultanate where Malacca as its capital grew into one of the most important entreports or transhipment ports of its time. According to Brittanica (2008) “the port became a major stopping place for traders to replenish their food supplies and obtain fresh water from the hill springs”. Through its popularity as a bustling international trading port, Malacca also emerged as a centre for Islamic learning and dissemination, while Bahasa Melayu became the lingua franca in Southeast Asia (SEA). A systematic trade administration was established by the Malacca Sultanate where a special task force to monitor the trading activity was set up headed by Syahbandar or Port Master. The Syahbandar is responsible for ensuring that traders who stopped by the Port of Melaka enjoy various facilities such as warehouses, trade places and ship repairs. The facilities, which were provided with an orderly trade tax system, have increased the popularity of Melaka as a regional and international trade centre linking the West with the East (UKEssays, 2018), arousing the interest of European countries to dominate the trade in Melaka (Hooker, 2003). In Terengganu, traditional boat makers are still being very much sought after, for the skills inherited from their forefathers who built big vessels plying the waters of the South China Sea (SCS) to trade in salt with Senggora tiles roof in up-north Siam. In a phenomenal work by Yu Huan entitled “Weilue”, which was later on translated by Hill (2004) as “The Peoples of the West”, the Malays during this early era were praised for their sophisticated navigational skills and great achievements, most particularly in their craftsmanship in ship building. He went on to say that, “Some of these ships were very large for their day and are said to have carried up to a thousand passengers and cargoes of over a thousand tonnes.” Wang (1968), in studying the works of a 3rd Century Chinese historian, Wan Zhen, earlier on had also praised the Malays as great shipbuilders, who built large vessels known as “Kunlun-po” (Malay ship), measuring 200 feet-long, 20 feet-high above water, with four sails, with a carrying capacity of 900 tonnes of cargos, and 600-700 people. Wang further quoted Wan Zhen as saying that the Kunlun (malays) were great ship builders, sailors, and traders. Our past glory as a maritime nation must therefore be revived. Accepting the fact that overlapping jurisdictions and conflicts between the sectors will never resolve if we manage our seas in fragments, Tun Mahathir clearly stated the need for an overarching policy, encompassing all maritime aspects from security to safety to economy, and to the environment. Efficient ocean governance should be the equilibrium in ensuring our seas are managed wisely. Under the notions of Blue Economy and Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA), the management of the seas must be based on balancing the need to continue using the sea for economic gains without sacrificing the needs to maintain security, safety and the environment (Talaat, 2019).

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Governing the National Waters Ocean governance is pertinent in all maritime states including Malaysia. There is no exact interpretation of ocean governance, but according to Michael Ameri from the UN Department of Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea (DOALOS), it basically constitutes several elements that can be broadly grouped into three categories namely:• • •

Legal Framework, which consists of the Hard (law) and Soft (policy) part; Institutional Framework; Levels of Implementation, whether according to scales i.e. global (multinational)/ regional/national/local, or according to sectors i.e. sectoral or integrated, and ecosystem-based.

Scales

Frameworks

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Fisheries Shipping Oil & Gas Science

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Figure 1: The 3 elements of Ocean Governance (sourced from DOALOS, 2018. Retrieved from https://unctad.org/system/files/non-official-document)

Urgent calls to intensify ocean governance in national jurisdictions as well as in regions especially where small island developing States are located and on the high seas have been reiterated in multiple international forums (Vince, 2014). Ocean governance is especially crucial for a federated maritime nation like Malaysia where there are segregated physical boundaries and jurisdictions between the federal authority and the respective state authorities as provided under the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution. The United Nation Convention of Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982 is the international agreement resulted from the 3rd United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III), which took place from 1973 through 1982. UNCLOS, dubbed 163


The Roles Of Ocean Governance And Blue Economy In Driving The Maritime Nation Agenda as the Constitution of the Sea, serves as an umbrella legislation, under which all ocean activities are regulated. UNCLOS defines the rights and responsibilities of nations in their use of the world’s oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources. Coming into force in 1994, UNCLOS introduced a number of provisions and amongst the most significant issues covered is the protection of the marine environment. Figure 2 below describes the maritime zones as established under UNCLOS.

Figure 2: The Maritime Zones as provided under UNCLOS (sourced from DOALOS, 2018. Retrieved from https://unctad.org/system/files/non-official-document)

Article 3 of UNCLOS clearly states that a coastal State may claim up to 12 nm of territorial sea from her baseline, normally the low water mark, and has absolute sovereignty over its territorial sea area, which consists of both the seabed and the marine waters within that specified zone. In many member states, this provision has been given effect in the form of domestic legislations and in Malaysia, this was materialised in the Territorial Sea Act, 2012. For Territorial Waters, including internal waters that cover all water and waterways on the landward side of the baseline, the rights to set laws, regulate use and use of any resources is exclusively vested with the coastal State. The coastal State has absolute sovereignty over its territorial sea area which consists of both the seabed and the marine waters within that specified zone. Beyond this 12 nm limit, a coastal State 164


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could no longer exert sovereignty but it could however, exercise sovereign rights up to 200 nm (approximately 370 kilometers) of ‘Exclusive Economic Zone’ (EEZ), otherwise known as the fishing zone. However, the EEZ boundary involves only the water column without including the seabed area, which is described as the ‘Continental Shelf’ where the UNCLOS allows a coastal State to generally claim up to 200 nm of Continental Shelf measured from its baseline. By virtue of paragraph 5 and 6 of Article 76, on submarine ridges, the outer limit of the Continental Shelf could extend beyond 200 nm but shall not exceed 350 nm. In certain circumstances, the boundary line demarcating the EEZ and Continental Shelf could be different between two neighbouring coastal states. Hence, a coastal state may possess sovereign rights to extract minerals from the seabed (Continental Shelf) but cannot exercise its rights to exploit fisheries resources in the body of marine waters (EEZ) over the seabed of the same area, as the sovereign rights to fish in these marine waters may belong to a different state. As for the element of institutional framework under governance, there are multiple institutions involved in managing the oceans, depending on the scales (global, regional, national or local). Figure 3 below illustrates the UN bodies and organizations involved in governing the oceans, which basically covers all the national waters as well as beyond national jurisdiction.

Figure 3: The UN bodies and organizations involved in governing the oceans (sourced from DOALOS, 2018. Retrieved from https://unctad.org/system/files/non-official-document)

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The Roles Of Ocean Governance And Blue Economy In Driving The Maritime Nation Agenda The Gap in Governance and the Need for a National Ocean Policy The current national governance framework in managing ocean-related activities, nonetheless, do not establish the required level of integration, nor do they meet today’s challenges and opportunities. There is also absence of sufficient data for scientific determination of whether certain practices and industries at sea are sustainable or under-developed. Furthermore, the current level of oceanographic research and oceans observation may not be sufficient for determination of undesirable trends in environmental health or threats to marine resource-based industries, and to the people at large. This is due to the fact that research and studies remain largely uncoordinated and do not enjoy the guidance of a national strategy. The need for an efficient ocean governance framework needs to be established starting with an ocean policy as declared by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed as the Prime Minister of Malaysia in conjunction with LIMA’19. A comprehensive ocean policy that covers all aspects of maritime or marine affairs - security, economic well-being and environmental protection – should be formulated as soon as possible to preserve Malaysia’s sovereignty and sovereign rights as a maritime nation. Collaboration and consolidation of necessary work processes between the maritime-related agencies must be made to overcome wastage of government resources, and these warrants for a national operative ocean governance framework. Likewise, through ocean governance, the gap between science and policy making can be bridged and it is time for our country to adopt scientific data, which has long been accumulated through years of research conducted by scientists, for the benefit of the country.

Harnessing our Blue Economy Blue Economy generally refers to the exploitation and preservation of the marine environment, and according to the World Bank definition, it refers specifically to the sustainable use of ocean resources for the purpose of economic development, increased livelihoods and employment in line with the conservation of the ocean ecosystem. Under the Blue Economy concept, since all these maritime-related sectors are important to the country’s economic development, exploitation of these marine resources must be carried out and managed sustainably. In short, under the notion of Blue Economy, exploitation of marine natural resources for economic development should not be greedily implemented and must be guided by the principle of sustainable development - development that meets current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Therefore, in the effort to exploit and optimize the use of the country’s ocean and marine resources, preservation of the marine environment must be given serious consideration.

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The global Blue Economy has an asset base of over USD24 trillion, and it is said to generate at least USD2.5 trillion each year from the combination of fishing and aquaculture, shipping, tourism, and other activities (African News, 2018). Coastal tourism alone is one of the fastest-growing marine-based economic activities, estimated at USD8 billion to coral reef nations alone including Malaysia. Water bodies such as the oceans, seas, rivers, lakes, marshes, and bays collectively hosts about 2.2 million plants species, diverse wildlife and other life-forms that represents over 50% of life on earth. The importance of oceans for sustainable development has been reaffirmed repetitively in the outcome document of Agenda 21, the Johannesburg Implementation Plan 2002, Rio+20 Conference 2012, United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015 (the Paris Convention), and the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015 in New York. As a maritime nation, Malaysia’s dependence on the oceans is in almost all economic sectors, especially food, trade, transportation, energy and tourism. Fishery resources have been among the main contributors to the country’s economy, where fishing activities provide approximately RM8 billion a year with catches reaching 1.4 million metric tons. This lucrative return was, as reported by the Department of Fisheries, regardless of the loss of RM6 billion a year to illegal fishing (better known as Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing Fishing - IUU Fishing) on the east coast of the Peninsular alone (Bernama, 2019). The strategic position of our country which is located in the middle of the main passage of ships, linking the West and the East, with vast oceans rich in natural resources also offers various strategic values from environmental and socio-economic aspects. Malaysia is at the heart of the maritime trade map, which opens up opportunities for international trade where 90% of them use sea routes. As the second busiest strait in the world after the Dover Strait, the Straits of Malacca plays an important role in the port and shipping industry and has been able to position Malaysia as a major international trade hub. Beautiful beaches and islands also bring millions of tourists from all over the world. Other natural resources such as oil and gas as seabed well as minerals are also potential Blue Economy. However, the exploitative and deteriorating trends of marine and coastal ecosystems have already shown that the efforts are insufficient and much more needs to be done. Guided by the Sustainable Development principles subscribed by Malaysia, economic growth must never encourage unscrupulous exploitation of the country’s marine natural resources. Exploitation and optimising the use of our seas and marine resources should never be carried out at the expense of our environment. Unfortunately, apart from having to balance economic development and conservation of our marine environment, our marine ecosystem and biodiversity are also being threatened by multiple stressors like climate change and global warming, apart from food, water and energy security issues. 167


The Roles Of Ocean Governance And Blue Economy In Driving The Maritime Nation Agenda In the attempt to harness the Blue Economy from our marine resources, there are several hurdles to overcome, which requires deeper studies. In balancing between achieving economic growth and maintaining ocean health, the Blue Economy warrants for proper planning and management of the maritime space through marine spatial planning. Major prioritised sectors like fisheries, aquaculture, ports and shipping, oil and mineral exploration and exploitation, as well as ocean energy development must be planned and managed efficiently. Central issues like pollution control, marine ecosystem health and sustainable fisheries should always be the guiding equilibrium to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under Global Agenda 2030, particularly Goal 14 on Life below Water. For instance, in fisheries, incidental unselective capture or bycatch contributes to devastating ecological impact such as decline in global capture fisheries and death of other marine species with no commercial value (Lewison et al, 2004). There are 9.1 million tonnes of bycatch species collected which 0.8 million tonnes of it are from gillnet fisheries (FAO, 2020). Data on bycatch related with modern fishing gears in deep waters is quite established, but not for small-scale fisheries or artisanal fisheries in shallower depths (Selgrath et al., 2018). Based on the Australian Blue Paper (2015), the notion of Blue Economy was designed according to the following six factors: (i) Renew Ecosystem; (ii) Provide Prosperity for Everyone; (iii) Ensure Recoverable Resources and Waste; (iv) Create Locally New Business Areas; (v) Ensuring Sustainable Growth and Productivity; and (vi) Build Economic, Environmental and Social Capital. By allowing environment to be categorized as capital, or asset, the efforts to conserve the environment may be understood in monetary terms, which may be able draw more attention, as well as appreciation, to the value of the natural ecosystem services.

“Monetising” the Ocean Resources “Monetising” the ocean or marine resources, and their accruing economic activities, are important in Blue Economy. Basically, the Blue Economy paradigm creates a sustainable framework to address access to marine resources, and equality in both development and benefit sharing, as well as to provide coverage for human development reinvestment (Istanbulu et. al, 2017). The economic benefits from marine resources widely cover a diversity of economic activities including marine fisheries, recreational fishing, offshore aquaculture, tourism and recreation, coastal rehabilitation and natural resourced conservation. In general, the economic benefits arising from the marine resources are also known as ‘ecosystem services’ concept which can be valued in monetary terms. The benefits accruing from marine ecosystem services can be a broad range of connections between the environment and human well-being, which are defined and further categorised by the UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) as follows:168


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• • • •

Provisioning services such as food and building materials. Regulating services such as carbon sequestration and protection from erosion and flooding. Cultural services like recreation, cultural identity, and aesthetic appreciation. Supporting services like nutrient cycling and photosynthesis.

The UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, which was launched by the United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, in 2001 and completed in March 2005, is a global assessment and international work plan designed to provide decision makers and the public with scientific information about the consequences of changes in the ecosystems on human well-being. Thus, understanding and promoting the value of ecosystems is fundamental in safeguarding the ocean). The oceans provide the world with a wealth of goods and services conservatively valued at USD2.5 trillion, which are benefits in the forms of food for millions of people, regulating the climate, coastal protection from storms, among others (WWF, 2021). However, these benefits are under threat, mostly as a result of ecosystem degradation induced by human activities. Economic valuation of ecosystem services provides information to help decision-makers weigh up what will be lost or gained by making a decision (MACBIO, 2020). In lay person language, the economic values on the marine ecosystem services basically tell the gains, or losses, that can be acquired depending on our actions. The typology of values accumulatively is known as a total economic value (TEV), which are categorized as use and non-use values, and sub-categorized as direct, indirect and non-use values (Bullock, 2017; Admiraal et. al., 2014). Based on the TEV typology of benefits, a basic distinction being drawn between direct use, indirect use and passive use values. For instance, the direct use values affected by habitat development would include the benefits derived from ‘extractive’ uses by the fisheries activities. The indirect use values cover a range of fishing activities, including increased fish production, coastal and shoreline protection, and improvements in water quality. Meanwhile, ‘passive’ use values might arise where the fishermen derive satisfaction from knowing, for example in conserving a unique habitat intact for future generations. Although it is admitted that economic valuation is not the only way to communicate the importance of ecosystem services, its advantage is that the values of ecosystem services are measured in a common unit, which is money that can be directly compared with the values of other goods and services in the economy (MACBIO, 2020). It was further proposed that monetising the marine resources can be applied in decision-making, where these information on the economic value of marine ecosystem services can be used:• • •

To raise awareness of the actual value of the marine environment. To reveal the costs and benefits distributions of the different resource uses. To help design the most effective tools for marine environmental management. 169


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• • • •

To help design appropriate fees for the use of marine ecosystem services, for instance for conservation fees to be paid to marine parks authority or local authority. To calculate potential returns on investment (ROI) or projects that impact the marine environment. To compare the costs and benefits the marine and coastal environment’s different uses. To calculate the values for marine ecosystem services for input into natural capital accounting, for instance the National Ocean Account. To help determine compensation for damages to the marine environment, which may also be used to quantify the amount of fines to be imposed on violators.

This “cycle” of harnessing Blue Economy must always be tailored to the UN Global Agenda 2030 on the SDGs. The SDGs may also facilitate in reviewing the 2010 Draft NOP. The UN Ocean Science Decade for Sustainable Development from 2021 to 2030, is in line with the target year of the SDGs. This decade will see the strengthening of international cooperation to strengthen scientific research and technological innovation linking ocean science with the needs of the world community. The report “A Sustainable Ocean Economy in 2030: Opportunities and Challenges”, was produced by the World Ocean Initiative and contributed by 38 Blue Economy experts. The report was produced as an impetus for maritime nations to turn this decade into a decade of recovery and restoration of the oceans, to bring back and restore the value of the oceans and marine resources for the benefit of all, Efforts to save the oceans from various threats cannot be borne by any single government even with strong financial resources. Scientific expertise built through large investments over the years should be put to good use. In conjunction with this UN Decade of Ocean Science, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) as the only UN organization leading the scientific community of the oceans has chosen to solve the problems of the world’s oceans in a focused and integrated manner through the concept of “One Planet, One Ocean” (Talaat, 2020). Based on the interconnected dynamics of the oceans and the importance of the oceans in the life of the world, the move to save the oceans together is essential to save the earth and every living thing on it.

How Marine Spatial Planning Can Be Capitalised in Harnessing Blue Economy According to the IOC-UNESCO, Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is a public process of analysing and allocating the spatial and temporal distribution of human activities in marine areas to achieve ecological, economic, and social objectives that usually have been specified through a political process. The IOC-UNESCO promotes an approach to the Blue Economy based on the integration of economic, environmental and social 170


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concerns. Linked to its work on MSP, the IOC promote the establishment of MSP plans and create an environment conducive to transnational cooperation through the development of international guidance for cross-border and transboundary (IOCUNESCO, 2020). The MSP Global Initiative aims at improving planning of sustainable economic activities at sea. With anthropogenic pressures generally increasing, managing each of these activities in silo is therefore insufficient to conserve marine ecosystems as a whole (Talaat and Kaur, 2019). The main reason for the continuous deterioration of the marine ecosystems and environment is the current piecemeal governance strategy, as management has largely been carried out sectorially (Halpern et al., 2008), and the potential cumulative impacts are often not dealt with comprehensively. The interlinkages between ocean governance and MSP was raised by Underdal (1980) and was further supported by Hu (2012), who proposed that the solution to the crisis that has been echoed for the last three decades is based on integrated and ecosystem-based approaches to ocean governance. This brings MSP into attention, as potentially the best solution to sustainably manage a marine and coastal space, where allocation of human activities in specific marine areas can be made according to objectives (e.g. either for the development, or preservation of an area) or specific uses. An all-encompassing planning and management framework is imperative to ensure that impacts from coastal and marine activities would accrue socio-economic and environmental benefits, without which these activities can adversely cause undesirable environmental and social impacts. As noted earlier by Ehler & Douvere (2009), we can only plan and manage human activities in coastal and marine areas, but not the marine ecosystems or components of the ecosystems. The complication in governing her waters is magnified for Malaysia as a federation, particularly when it comes to regulating anthropogenic activities and multiple uses in a certain marine and coastal space (Talaat and Kaur, 2019). As an ecosystem-based approach to sustainable development, MSP can be invoked to better manage her marine and coastal areas and their environment. MSP in itself is not a plan and does not an end in itself, but is rather a management tool that involves many parties, from decision-makers to multiple users of the sea and coastal areas (Appiot, 2014). It is a planning framework that focuses on spatial planning requirements to sustain and enhance the goods and services from the marine and coastal environments (spatially) over time (temporally). According to Joseph Appiot from the Secretariat to the Convention of Biological Diversity, MSP is not a substitute for integrated marine and coastal area management (IMCAM), but it builds on approaches and the policies that support integrated management. Figure 4 below describes the Step-by-Step Approach for MSP developed by IOC-UNESCO to guide and facilitate the MSP process. 171


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Figure 4: IOC-UNESCO’s 10-Step Approach for MSP (sourced from http://msp.ioc-unesco.org/)

Generally, before undergoing the 10-Step Approach above, there are three main elements of MSP that must first be considered (Ehler & Douvere, 2009; Talaat and Kaur, 2019). Firstly, it would involve an interlinked system of plans, policies and regulations. According to Appiot (2014), in visioning the MSP Process, we must first establish the understanding of “where we are”, and to that the following actions must be carried out:• • • •

Examine power relationships and governance process. Identify the strengths and weaknesses in past and current eras of governance. Tracing how human activities and environmental conditions have changed. Document how the governance system has responded, or not responded, to key changes.

The second element comprises of the components of environmental management systems, which include setting of objectives, initial assessment, implementation, monitoring, audit and review. Appiot once again noted that, to do this we have to consider “where we want to go”. To do this, the following actions must be taken:• • • •

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Identify present and future competing interests, unlimited to just changing uses, but dealing with changing natural drivers as well. Identify the issues to be addressed and desired outcomes/vision. Select and involve key partners for MSP implementation. Understand capacity needs throughout planning and implementationSignificant resources often allocated on the planning phase; resources left for implementation are sometimes insufficient.


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The third element includes some of the many tools that are already in use for landuse planning. In a MSP process, the necessary consideration that must be paid is that they need to work across sectors (since it normally involves multiple users) and give a spatial or geographic context in which to make decisions about the use of resources, development, conservation and the management of activities in the marine and coastal environment. MSP is an integral part of ocean governance as an ecosystem-based approach to ocean health and sustainability. In the United States, MSP is part of the National Ocean Policy. It was enacted and subsequently took effect through a Presidential Executive Order. Similarly, MSP in Belgium takes effect in the Belgian part of the North Sea, and it was enacted through a Royal Decree. In these two countries, the approach has been top-down. However, to make MSP process work, stakeholders’ engagement must start from the first step of the planning process (Ehler & Douvere, 2009). Appiot (2014) further laid down on how the stakeholders should be engaged as follows:1. 2.

3.

By understanding the stakeholders’ perceptions, roles and needs, which can be done by using stakeholder baselines and stakeholder mapping; By organizing effective stakeholder input in order to provide clarity and transparency in decision-making, and to create realistic perceptions among stakeholders of their roles and influence in the planning and decision-making process; and By establishing effective stakeholder communication, which requires customization of language towards specific audiences and purposes, as well as as the ability to effectively communicate benefits of MSP.

The Way Forward The need for an ocean governance regime for Malaysia has been recognised by the Government through Tun Mahathir’s speech at LIMA’19, which has shown priority to enhance integrity, and minimize unscrupulous spending via leakages and wastage necessitates prudent spending, especially on new assets and capabilities. Taking into account the opportunities and challenges for Malaysia as a maritime country, there has been a need to review the approach taken in managing the country’s maritime space and marine resources. Currently, there are no less than 15 Acts and Orders, which are placed under more than 10 Ministries and 31 agencies to manage maritime-related affairs. Therefore, the governance of the oceans in Malaysia may not be as efficient as expected with the existence of duplication of jurisdictions between various agencies in managing maritime affairs. Without having to look far, the diversity of laws administered by these various agencies can lead to inefficient use of resources whether in terms of finance, 173


The Roles Of Ocean Governance And Blue Economy In Driving The Maritime Nation Agenda equipment and even human beings. Overlapping of jurisdiction can also lead to less efficient enforcement. Therefore, with the various pressures on maritime security, it is time for all maritime-related agencies to work together by taking an integrated approach in coordinating work processes to strengthen maritime enforcement. Nonetheless, taking into consideration of the maritime threats faced by the country, strategic and efficient planning and management must be given utmost priority in order to chart our passage as a maritime nation. To do this, three aspects were indeed highlighted by the Tun Mahathir in his Keynote Address, which is necessary to have an effective ocean governance for the nation, namely; The need for a national ocean policy to provide the guiding principles in managing our waters and resources; There must be an entity to coordinate the maritime affairs of the nation; and Adoption of Co-Management Principle by Engaging Multiple Stakeholders to Create Civil Society.

Revisiting the Draft National Ocean Policy 2010 By proclaiming the notion of Malaysia a “Maritime Nation Agenda”, Malaysia should first and foremost have a national ocean policy. Since the Draft NOP was meticulously prepared encompassing all the necessary strategies, urgent revisit is necessary especially with the advent of Blue Economy that drives socio-economic development globally. The 2010 Draft National Ocean Policy (2010 Draft NOP) , which was produced by the National Oceanography Directorate of the Ministry of Science and Technology, was produced with the following twelve (12) strategies to facilitate its implementation:• • • • • • • • • • • •

Marine Science and Technology Strategy Marine Industry Development Strategy Renewable Ocean Energy Strategy Marine Climate Change and Ocean Acidification Management Strategy Sustainable Marine Resources Management Strategies Marine Education Development Strategy National ICZM Strategy National Ocean Data Management Strategy National Maritime Enforcement Strategy Maritime Culture and Heritage Strategy Sustainable Islands Strategy Coastal and Marine Tourism Strategy

The main overarching question highlighting the importance of revising the 2010 Draft NOP is “how comprehensive is the draft to chart Malaysia as a maritime nation?” The 12 strategies in the 2010 Draft NOP, some of which have been implemented, should therefore be revised and updated to be in line with the development at the global arena, and to meet today’s challenges and opportunities. Based on the above 174


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discussion, the notions of Blue Economy and MSP must take the centre stage in drafting the new national ocean policy, because ocean health and sustainability are pertinent in ensuring sustainable ocean economy, which is one of the driving targets of the UN Decade of Ocean Science.

Establishment of a Coordinating Maritime Affairs Entity The major gap in governance calls for a centralised entity to coordinate all maritime affairs. By driving integration of all maritime-related agencies, factoring in all the stakeholders and pooling together our national resources, this coordinating entity would be able to facilitate efficient management of our seas. Efficient ocean governance can ensure that the use of national resources, both financially, equipment and even human, can be optimized for maximum results. Going back to the concept of Blue Economy and MDA, marine management in Malaysia must be guided to balance sustainable sea use to develop the national economy without sacrificing the need to maintain maritime security and preserve the ocean environment. Therefore, through ocean governance, MDA between maritime related agencies can be enhanced by avoiding bureaucracy in the sharing of Intelligent, Surveillance and Reconnaissance data. In view of the various enforcement agencies protecting our maritime security, the establishment of a national coordinating entity is deemed necessary to accelerate the emergence of “a true maritime nation”. However, it may not be possible to converge all maritime affairs, or consolidate some overlapping departments, into a single department or ministry. Besides, the government’s current practice of prudent and wise-spending may not allow for setting up a new department in charge of all maritime affairs. Thus, it would be most apt to have the coordinating entity in the form of a ministerial position at the Prime Minister’s Department. The position would be best served if it is to be held by a high standing administrator with vast experience in diplomatic relations or maritime affairs, which can be emulated from our closest neighbor, Indonesia.

Adoption of Co-Management Principle to Create Civil Society To facilitate management of resources and ocean stewardship, it is also essential to incorporate and involve other stakeholders including the local communities, the private sectors and other actors. Community participation within a system of comanagement requires that they take on the responsibility along with the government to create a civil society. Coined upon on the notion of community–based management under Principle 22 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development in 1992, the principle of co-management maintains that the roles and participation of local 175


The Roles Of Ocean Governance And Blue Economy In Driving The Maritime Nation Agenda communities and other stakeholders should be encouraged to achieve sustainable development. In implementing MSP, stakeholders at all level must be engaged from beginning. The local communities’ traditional knowledge and practices should never be sidelined in decision-making process. Their years of living in and off the marine and coastal environment should be factored in and inform the policies and decisions made. Likewise, for Malaysia to truly become a maritime nation, the global partnership as sought by SDG 17 (Partnership for the Goals), should also be strengthened by bringing together national governments, the international community, civil society, the private sector and other actors.

Conclusion The UN Decade of Ocean Science should be the catalyst for mobilizing the scientific community to work together with policy makers, businesses and even civil society to save the oceans, while optimising the marine resources and space for sustainable ocean economy. With scientific knowledge that climate change, unsustainable natural resource extraction, land pollution and habitat degradation are threatening ocean productivity and health, expertise across a range of marine sciences can help formulate effective policies and action plans to address these threats. The scientific community also plays a very important role in helping the government meet the target of SDG14 (Life below Water) through strategic cooperation with various parties. By using integrated scientific knowledge and through an efficient ocean governance framework, maritime nations including Malaysia will be able and capable to save the oceans. As has been numerously called for in international forums, integrated and ecosystem-based approaches to ocean governance is the best solution to safeguard the sustainability of the oceans and their natural resources and MSP is, as proven worldwide, the management tool that bridges the science and policy. The need for an efficient ocean governance framework needs to be established starting with a national ocean policy. A comprehensive ocean policy that covers all aspects of maritime - security, economic well-being and environmental protection – must be formulated immediately to preserve Malaysia’s sovereignty and sovereign rights as a maritime nation. Through ocean governance, the gap that exists between science and policy making can be bridged. It is time to utilise the accumulated scientific data over the years for the benefit of the country. In this regard, a central entity at the national level should also be established to coordinate all maritime affairs between the various existing maritime-related agencies to save on unnecessary bureaucracy and redundancies. While strategic collaboration and diplomacy with other littoral countries should be strengthened, effective management of our seas requires stakeholders’ engagement and consultation via participatory approach to encourage and instill collaborative management of the maritime space. 176


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In conclusion, efficient ocean governance should be established to achieve the aspirations of Malaysia’s Maritime Nation Agenda. In charting the passage for Malaysia to become a true maritime nation, the role of Ocean Governance should be uphold via a national ocean policy, a coordinating maritime affairs minister and adoption of comanagement principle. All these would necessitate active participation from various maritime communities in assistant the government capitalise on the Blue Economy, while ensuring sovereignty and rights sovereign state are safeguarded.

References Admiraal, J. & Wossink, A., de Groot, W. & de Snoo, G.R. (2014). More than total economic value: How to combine economic valuation of biodiversity with ecological resilience. Ecological Economics. 89. 115–122. 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2013.02.009. African News. (2018) Importance of a Sustainable Blue Economy: Statistics and Facts, 26 November 2018. Retrieved from https://www. africanews.com/2018/11/26/ importance-of-a-sustainable-blue-economy-statistics-and-facts Appiot, J. (Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity). (2014) Elements of the Marine Spatial Planning Process. CBD Expert Workshop on Marine Spatial Planning, 9-11 September 2014, Montreal, Canada. Australian Blue Paper No 1 (2015). The Blue Economy, 10 Years- 100 Innovations 100 Million Jobs. Prepared by Huxley, A. M., Blue Economy Institute. BERNAMA. (2019) DOF: Malaysia Loses RM6 Billion Each Year to Illegal Fishing. 4 September 2019. Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. (2008) “Melaka”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 22 Jul. 2008, https://www.britannica.com/place/Melaka-Malaysia. Accessed on 23 February 2021. Bullock, C. H. (2017) Nature’s Values: From Intrinsic to Instrumental A review of values and valuation methodologies in the context of ecosystem services and natural capital. Ireland National Economic and Social Council Research Series Paper No. 10. Ehler, C., & Douvere, F. (2009). Marine Spatial Planning: a step-by-step approach toward ecosystem-based management. Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and Man and the Biosphere Programme. IOC Manual and Guides No. 53, ICAM Dossier No. 6. Paris: UNESCO. Foley, M., Armsby, M.H., Prahler, E.E., Caldwell, M.R., Erickson A.L., Kittinger J.N., Crowder, L.B. & Levin, P.S. (2013). ‘Improving Ocean Management Through the Use of Ecological Principles and Integrated Ecosystem Assessments’, BioScience, 63, (8), 619–31 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). (2020). The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2020. Retrieved from http://www.fao.org/stateof-fisheries-aquaculture on 31 December 2020)

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The Roles Of Ocean Governance And Blue Economy In Driving The Maritime Nation Agenda Halpern, B. S., McLeod, K. L., Rosenberg, A. A. & Crowder, L. B. (2008), ‘Managing for cumulative impacts in ecosystem-based management through ocean zoning’, Ocean and Coastal Management, 51, 203–211. Hill, J.E. (2004). The Peoples of the West (from the Weilue by Yu Huan ). Draft English translation pn A Third Century Chinese Account Composed between 239 and 265 CE. Quoted in zhuan 30 of the Sanguozhi- Published in 429 CE). Retrieved from https://depts.washington.edu/silkroad/texts/weilue/weilue.html on 31 December 2020). Hooker, V. M. (2003). A Short History of Malaysia: Linking East and West. NSW: Allen & Unwin. Huan, Y. (2004). The Peoples of the West (J. E. Hill, Trans.). Retrieved january30, 2021, from https://depts.washington.edu/silkroad/ texts/weilue/weilue.html Hu, N. (2012) Integrated Oceans Policymaking: An Ongoing Process or a Forgotten Concept?, Coastal Management, 40, (2), 107–118. IOC-UNESCO. Blue Economy. (Retrieved from https://ioc.unesco.org/topics/blueeconomy on 31 December 2020) Istanbulu, D.S., Mugan, E.S. & Kulakoglu, D.N. (2017). The Blue Economy Approach: An Assessment in the Context of Coastal and Marine Tourism. Social Sciences Study Journal, 3 (11), 1749-1754. Lewison, R. L., Crowder, L. B., Read, A. J., & Freeman, S. A. (2004). Understanding impacts of fisheries bycatch on marine megafauna. Trends in ecology & evolution, 19(11), 598-604. MACBIO - Marine and Coastal Biodiversity Management in Pacific Island Countries. Economic Valuation of Marine Ecosystem Services. Retrieved from http://macbiopacific.info/marine-ecosystem-service-valuation on 30 January 2020) Mallinson, D. J., Culver, S. J., Corbett, D. R., Parham, P. R., Shazili, N. A. M., & Yaacob, R. (2014). Holocene coastal response to monsoons and relative sea-level changes in northeast peninsular Malaysia. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 91, 194-205. New Straits Times. (2019) “PM: Malaysian Maritime Enforcement a Fragmented Affair; Needs More Coordination”, 27 March 2019. Selgrath, J. C., Gergel, S. E., & Vincent, A. C. (2018). Shifting gears: Diversification, intensification, and effort increases in small-scale fisheries (1950-2010). PlsS one, 13(3), e0190232. Talaat, W.I.A.W. (2019) Charting Passage Forward towards a Maritime Nation. New Straits Times 3 Sep 2019. Talaat, W.I.A.W. & Kaur, C. R. (2019). A Brief on the Legal and Management of Marine Spatial Planning in Ocean Governance. MIMA Bulletin, 26 (2), 13-16. The Star, We Need Ocean Governance Regime, 28 March 2019. UKEssays. (2018). History of the Malacca Sultanate. Retrieved from https://www. ukessays.com/essays/history/history-of-the-malacca-sultanate-history-essay. php?vref=1 Underdal, A. (1980). Integrated Marine Policy: What? Why? How?, Marine Policy, 4 (3) 159–69. 178


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United Nations. (2005). United Nations Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005. (Retrieved from https://www.millenniumassessment.org/ on 20 December 2020) Vince, J. (2014). Oceans governance and marine spatial planning in Australia, Australian Journal of Maritime & Ocean Affairs, 6:1, 5-17, DOI: 10.1080/18366503.2014.88813. Wang, G. (1968). Nanhai Trade: The early history of Chinese trade in the South China Sea. Singapore: Times Academic Press. World Wildlife Foundation. (2021). Recognising the Value of Marine Ecosystem Services. ttps://wwf.panda.org (Retrieved on 31 January 2021). Yaapar. M.S. (2019) Malay Navigation and Maritime Trade: A Journey through Anthropology and History. IIUM Journal of Religion and Civilisational Studies (IJECS), 2 (1), 53-72.

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CONCLUSION Captain Ivan Mario Andrew RMN Wan Izatul Asma Wan Talaat “There are lots to be done, more hurdles to overcome for Malaysia to become a Maritime Nation. Just like Rome was not built in one day, we cannot expect our vision to materialize overnight. However, our vision to become a Maritime Nation is progressively becoming a reality, provided we are willing to join hands and march forward together. For Malaysia, this forum could be a launching pad, or rather a launching port - charting its way as a Maritime Nation. I would like to commend the Royal Malaysian Navy for organizing this National Maritime Conference 2019, which would assist the government in identifying critical issues vying for our attention. I look forward to hearing the outcome of this conference with the hope that it will assist the government in informing better policies to realise Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda.” Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (7th Malaysian Prime Minister) National Maritime Conference 2019 (NMC2019) 27 March 2019

Malaysia is, without doubt, a coastal state under the law and a maritime nation in geography and identity. In charting the passage as a true maritime nation, there are indeed multiple factors to be considered. The chapters in this book have brilliantly deliberated on these factors, trying to encapsulate them into workable ideas and solutions. Undoubtedly, the maritime sector is a crucial contributor to the country’s socioeconomic and security well-being. As Malaysia aspires to become a fully developed nation, the maritime sector’s contribution towards the growth and dynamism of the Malaysian economy will become more significant. Nonetheless, despite the significance of these sectors to our economic growth, exploitation of the resources must be carried out and managed sustainably. Optimising our country’s wealth through maritime-based economic activities is interlinked with our ability to alleviate maritime security issues. Despite being bestowed with bountiful marine natural 181


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resources, enhancing revenue generation may not be possible if maritime security issues are not promptly and strategically addressed. Chapter One marched ahead to argue that in pursuing the maritime nation agenda, economic development and modernisation contribute to greater peace and lay the foundation for more peaceful relations. It was argued that Malaysia would need to use all its efforts strategically and balance its relations pragmatically. However, territorial disputes and looming flashpoints envisage its strategic environment and national interest. Moreover, being at the heart of the SEA region, Malaysia has to counteract these internal and external strategic and environmental adversaries to secure its moral and legal inheritance. Hence, Malaysia has to resolve her territorial sovereignty and disputes in the South China Sea (SCS) and appropriate jurisdiction over the waters and seabed within her Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to suit her evolving national interests and to remain as a secure, sovereign and prosperous nation, without affecting the relationship between ASEAN nations. Chapter Two provided an overview of the geographical factors that underline Malaysia’s status as a maritime nation. It was deliberated that it is essential to enlighten in-depth geographical factors that underline Malaysia’s status as a maritime nation. The “Tanah Air” outlook has accurately presented the posture of the geographical parameters of Malaysia. In addition, this chapter also pondered on the conundrums of the semi-enclosed sea that engender complexity of Malaysia’s maritime boundaries delimitation with all neighbouring and claimant states. Nonetheless, the geoeconomic importance of Malaysia’s maritime domains was also critically analysed. Consequently, three overriding exigencies for implementing a comprehensive maritime nation strategy were set forth as the key takeaways. The author concluded that Malaysia must strategically manage her maritime endowments to elevate her maritime-based socio-economic interests while preserving her ecosystem and biodiversity for future generations. Alas, he noted that it would be challenging to sustain the ‘maritime nation with continental roots’ vision until Malaysia’s strategic culture reorients itself to the importance of her maritime domains. Chapter Three dwelled on Malaysia’s submissions on the outer limits of its Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm in 2009 and 2019 to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), which UNCLOS mandates to make recommendations to coastal States (on the outer limits beyond 200 nm). The recommendations are based on data and information contained in submissions made by coastal States to the CLCS under the provisions of Article 76 of UNCLOS and the scientific and technical guidelines of the CLCS. The author concluded by saying that establishing the outer limits of the Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm is necessary for Malaysia to exercise her rights over the seabed and subsoil of the Continental Shelf for exploration and exploitation of natural resources. This is especially pertinent as an exploration of energy and mineral resources may continue to go further into deeper waters and 182


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onto the outer continental margins, where significant future resources may lie in areas of the Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm. Chapter Four also dwelled on Malaysia’s Continental Shelf claims, established based on the 1958 Geneva Convention, bilateral treaties and customary international law. Malaysia has done her best in registering her interest and claims by submitting to the CLCS her extended Continental Shelf claim beyond 200 nm, including the latest Unilateral Submission on the same matter. By doing this, the author concluded that Malaysia had explored all avenues within Article 76 of the UNCLOS process and procedures, proving her respect for the international law process under the Convention. The author also indicated that Malaysia might also consider the option of presenting her claims under the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), International Court of Justice (ICJ) and Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) to delimit the Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm as reflected in the latest decisions of Bangladesh, India and Nicaragua. The related case examples were laid down as worthy options for Malaysia to consider as an avenue in dealing with Malaysia’s deferred Joint Submission on the Extended Continental Shelf with Viet Nam. Chapter Five found that besides the twin goals of harnessing economic elements and providing security, the success of Malaysia’s Maritime Nation Agenda will have to consider the socio-cultural factors to cement the idea into the minds of the population. For most of its existence since independence, Malaysia’s national security has been focused on mitigating threats on land. However, in recent years, with the advent of globalisation and the rekindling of Malaysia’s aspiration to become a maritime nation, more attention has been paid to threats emanating from the sea. There is an increasing awareness about the maritime dimension of Malaysia’s national security among policymakers and those tasked to secure peace and security in the country. Issues related to the maritime security range from incursions into her Territorial Waters, transnational crimes, piracy, sea robbery threat to its maritime infrastructures and others. The author concluded by stating that since a maritime nation worthy of its name must reflect the extent to which all the elements of that nation, namely the physical, ideational, and security factors. This is especially so in the current context of a competitive geostrategic environment. In order to effectively link the geographic, economic, security and socio-cultural elements together, it remains a big challenge for Malaysia to become a true maritime nation. The arguments of Chapter Six were based on three main features that have continuously appeared whenever there were issues relating to Malaysia’s maritime security aspect. It was concluded that due to the difficulty to quantify the full extent of the consequences of numerous foreign activities in the Malaysian waters that have an indirect effect on economic and national security, the RMN should collaborate with other security agencies to safeguard Malaysian Territorial Waters. It was divulged that Malaysia had strengthened her maritime capabilities to safeguard national 183


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interests within the EEZ and the country has strategic maritime interests throughout the region. Policies that jeopardise or weaken the economy were viewed as a betrayal of national interests, necessitating harsh countermeasures. Since from a national defence standpoint, the SCS is becoming increasingly significant for the country due to abundant natural resources; foreign encroachment is likely to conduct illegal activities within Malaysia’s EEZ, which may have detrimental effects on our national maritime security. Chapter Seven found that the first characteristic of Malaysia’s maritime security is the intricacies of its geography, which is the natural constant in Malaysia’s maritime security environment. The second trait is its heterogeneous threats, consisting of the capricious and wide-ranging traditional and non-traditional threats that pose emergent risks towards Malaysia’s national interests. The third and the last facet is the strategic enablers’ deficiencies in a broad maritime objective, doctrine and organization. The author argued that there are patterns and continuities in all these features that could be mainly sorted out with one factor, i.e., a comprehensive national maritime security policy. He concluded by stating that there is an impending need for Malaysia to have a holistic maritime strategy to safeguard her national sovereignty and maritime interests. The country is in dire need of integrated maritime security management guided by a comprehensive national policy. Chapter Eight found that the impact of the Thai Canal on geopolitics such as diplomatic relations, sovereignty, security, and bilateral and multilateral relations in trades have influenced the government decision-making since. If Bangkok agrees to build this mega project shortly, this proposed artificial canal is the game-changer, mapping and remapping the geopolitics of Malaysia. The author argued that the canal would become the testimony of how Malaysia behaves in aligning and realigning her allies. Likewise, the proposed canal will also validate that the extent of predictions deliberated for decades by politicians, analysts and pundits regarding Beijing’s motivations on politics and economics are accurate. He concluded that despite Beijing’s argument that China’s prosperity will bring stability to the regional order, the democrats and liberalists remain sceptical. Chapter Nine argued in favour of Malaysia to vigorously pursue developing her Blue Economy and harness more significant and sustainable economic returns from its maritime features, resources and infrastructures. It identified several activities related to the maritime economy which have the potential to be areas of growth opportunity for the country, enhance the efficiency and productivity of existing sectors in the maritime industry and bolster the earnings of Malaysians. The author concluded that Malaysia has what it takes to put Blue Economic on its national agenda. Malaysia can also become even more successful than it already is by harnessing its maritime sector - given its natural maritime features and already impressive maritime facilities and organizational or regulatory landscape – and further build on its success in this area. 184


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Chapter Ten highlights the necessity of establishing the maritime community network between academics and industry as a fundamental element for capacity building; University Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) is proposed to be a maritime education and training centre. Within this initiative, a teaching port based in a commercial port was proposed as a centre of maritime knowledge transfer and research. The authors proposed that researchers in maritime-related fields should be mobilised to optimise the ocean economy to develop maritime-related communities. They concluded that stakeholders such as ports and local communities would have the optimised impact encompassing human resource development, sustainable environment, and rapid port economic development through this effort. Chapter Eleven concluded that an efficient ocean governance framework needs to be established, starting with a national ocean policy. A comprehensive ocean policy that covers all aspects of maritime - security, economic well-being and environmental protection – must be formulated immediately to preserve Malaysia’s sovereignty and sovereign rights as a maritime nation. Through ocean governance, the gap between science and policymaking can be bridged by utilising the scientific data accumulated over the years for the country’s benefit. In this regard, a central entity at the national level should also be established to coordinate all maritime affairs between the various existing maritime-related agencies to save on unnecessary bureaucracy and redundancies. While strategic collaboration and diplomacy with other littoral countries should be strengthened, effective management of our seas requires stakeholders’ engagement and consultation via a participatory approach to encourage and instill collaborative management of the maritime space. In charting the passage for Malaysia to become a Maritime Nation, the role of Ocean Governance should be upheld via a national ocean policy, a coordinating maritime affairs minister, and the adoption of co-management principles. All these would necessitate active participation from various maritime communities in assisting the Malaysian government to capitalise on the Blue Economy while ensuring sovereignty and sovereign rights are safeguarded. Despite enormous proportions from our national annual budget to empower the management and enforcement in our waters, illegal maritime-related activities remain a significant challenge. Thus, the importance of Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) to effectively understand anything associated with the maritime domains, which cover all maritime areas and adjacent areas, things including people and maritime activities, should not be discounted. Since MDA could impact the security, safety, economy, or environment, a well-coordinated effort cutting across all the government sectors must be engineered to overcome these challenges. Enforcement activities can only be practical when there are sound Intelligence Surveillance and Recognition (ISR) capabilities, which are owned by several agencies in charge of national security. These wide-ranged ISR capabilities should be shared through organised coordination to strengthen enforcement at sea further. It is high 185


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time for all maritime-related agencies to collaborate and consolidate necessary work processes, which can be achieved via understanding, trust and open communication. Overlapping jurisdictions must be immediately addressed to overcome waste of government resources, and a coordinated and integrated approach should be employed to strengthen maritime enforcement. The role of Ocean Governance should never be forsaken in charting Malaysia’s passage as a maritime nation. There should be an over-arching national ocean policy, encompassing all maritime aspects – from security to safety to economy and the environment. To continue managing our seas in fragments will never resolve the overlapping and conflicts between the sectors. This must be followed with a solid institutional framework. A centralised body to coordinate all maritime affairs is essential to drive the integration of all maritime-related agencies. All stakeholders must be factored in through co-management principle and by pooling together our national resources (monetary, equipment and human), our seas will be better and efficiently managed. Under ocean governance, the MDA between maritime-related agencies will increase by doing away with unnecessary bureaucracy by sharing ISR capabilities. This would chart the passage for Malaysia towards becoming a true maritime nation.

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INDEX A Arbitration Article 38 Article 76

Article 77 Article 83 ASEAN

18, 34, 65, 66, 67, 70, 72, 183 70 2, 3, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 54, 56, 58, 59, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 165, 182, 183 48, 59, 67, 70 68, 69, 70 2, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 18, 20, 21, 22, 76, 80, 83, 84, 93, 94, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 136, 141, 147, 156, 182, 196

B Blue Economy

Brunei

2, 4, 5, 133, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 147, 148, 149, 154, 155, 157, 161, 162, 166, 167, 168, 170, 174, 175, 177, 184, 185 12, 26, 34, 35, 81, 111, 126

C CBM China

Coastal State

Colonialism

20 4, 25, 26, 25, 36, 66, 67, 81, 84, 85, 93, 94, 97, 104, 108, 109, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 161, 184 2, 3, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 54, 56, 58, 59, 65, 66, 67, 68, 70, 71, 81, 91, 92, 93, 97, 164, 165, 181, 182 76, 77, 81, 123

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Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS)

Continental margin

Continental Shelf

3, 33, 45, 46, 49, 52, 54, 56, 57, 58, 59, 65, 66, 67, 68, 70, 71, 72, 182, 183, 193, 2, 45, 46, 47, 48, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 56, 57, 58, 60, 68, 69, 70, 183 2, 3, 26, 30, 33, 34, 37, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 56, 58, 59, 60, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 111, 165, 182, 183, 193

D DASN Defence spending Defence strategy Defence white paper Delimitation Delineation

139, 142 15, 19, 20 8, 12, 15, 82, 91 8, 15, 16, 19, 82, 113, 195 8, 16, 30, 31, 36, 42, 64, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 111, 182, 193 10, 33, 45, 47, 49, 50, 68, 70, 110

E ESSCOM Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)

Extended Continental Shelf

17, 87 3, 4, 9, 10, 17, 18, 19, 22, 26, 30, 45, 46, 68, 71, 76, 81, 82, 91, 92, 94, 96, 97, 98, 99, 107, 111, 133, 165, 182, 184, 3, 34, 37, 45, 48, 56, 58, 59, 63, 65, 66, 69, 71, 183,

F Federal constitution FELDA

163 78

G Geo-economics

188

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Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

Geopolitics Green Technology

4, 94, 119, 122, 123, 124, 128, 130, 184 142

I India Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0) Indonesia

International Court of Justice (ICJ) International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) Institutional framework Intelligence Surveillance and Recognition (ISR)

67, 70, 71, 122, 124, 125, 161 151 26, 30, 31, 38, 67, 75, 76, 77, 79, 81, 84, 85, 86, 92, 97, 107, 111, 112, 124, 125, 126, 129, 145, 175 30, 31, 34, 65, 67, 69, 70, 71, 183 14, 65, 67, 71, 183 136, 151, 163, 165, 186 185, 186

K KESBAN

79

L Lahad Datu Legal Implication

8, 12, 14, 87, 88, 109, 14, 18

M Malaysia

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 40, 41, 42, 43, 46, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 64, 65, 66, 67, 71, 72, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 90, 91, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 103, 104, 105, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 141, 142, 146,

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Malaysia’s maritime domains MALSINDO Marine Police Maritime boundaries Maritime community network Maritime delimitation Maritime domain

Maritime domain awareness Maritime economy Maritime features Maritime governance Maritime nation

Maritime nation agenda Maritime policy Maritime safety Maritime security

190

148, 150, 152, 157, 161, 163, 166, 171, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 181, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 2, 37, 41, 182 85, 86, 87 83, 96 11, 26, 30, 31, 64, 82, 86, 182, 196 5, 145, 146, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 157, 185, 8, 16, 30 2, 9, 25, 29, 37, 38, 41, 42, 43, 104, 105, 106, 113, 150, 182, 5, 162, 185 4, 80, 138, 184, 198 4, 28, 93, 137, 138, 141, 143, 184 5, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 156 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 16, 20, 25, 26, 41, 42, 43, 59, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 88, 91, 93, 98, 99, 103, 104,133, 135, 138, 157, 161, 162, 163, 166, 167, 170, 174, 175, 176, 177, 181, 182, 183, 185, 186, 5, 161, 174, 177, 181, 182, 183 4, 80, 104, 105, 199 41, 92, 151 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 19, 41, 42, 75, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 99, 103, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112,


Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

Maritime threats Master plan MMEA Myanmar

113, 142, 174, 175, 181, 182, 183, 184 80, 83, 85, 87, 92, 95, 99, 174 5, 136, 140, 142, 146 81, 83, 87, 96, 98, 105, 112 67, 68, 69, 70, 125

N National ocean policy Note verbale

92, 157, 166, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 186, 186 34, 36, 66, 67

O Ocean governance

Ocean policy Outer limits of the Continental Shelf

5, 149, 150, 157, 161, 162, 163, 166, 171, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 185, 186 166, 176, 185 2, 45, 46, 47, 48, 51, 52, 54, 56, 59, 60, 65, 68, 69, 70, 182,

P Philipine Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) Piracy

Presiden

34, 65, 183 6, 8, 9, 13, 19, 21, 40, 75, 80, 81, 84, 86, 87, 96, 98, 99, 108, 114, 116, 142, 183 48, 76, 79, 173, 195

R Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN)

Rule of Procedure (RoP)

1, 7, 43, 81, 82, 83, 85, 91, 96, 98, 103, 105, 107, 112, 181, 183, 194, 195, 197 66, 67, 71

S Singapore

7, 8, 9, 11, 21, 26, 31, 39, 75, 76, 77, 81, 84, 85, 86, 94, 103, 120, 123, 124, 125, 127,

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Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

SLOC South China Sea (SCS)

Southeast Asia Sovereignty

Sovereignty and Prosperity Straits of Malacca (SoM) Strategic Outlook Super powers Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Sustainable ocean economy

128, 129, 12, 20, 21, 25, 77, 94, 98, 133 3, 4, 8, 10, 12, 17, 18, 20, 21, 25, 28, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 46, 56, 57, 58, 59, 65, 66, 76, 80, 81, 84, 85, 91, 92, 93, 94, 97, 99, 104, 107, 108, 109, 123, 124, 126, 127, 128, 133, 162, 182, 184 2, 7, 25, 75, 103, 107, 162, 196 2, 3, 7, 8, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20, 21, 22, 28, 29, 31, 34, 36, 65, 66, 68, 77, 81, 82, 87, 92, 93, 94, 96, 97, 99, 110, 119, 120, 124, 126, 140, 164, 165, 166, 176, 177, 182, 184, 185, 2, 7, 8, 15, 16, 22 4, 7, 25, 38, 46, 75, 121, 133, 134, 145, 167, 196 8 12, 97 137, 149, 168 147, 170, 175, 176

T TAC 1976 Teaching Port Territorial claims Territorial integrity Territorial sea

Territorial Waters Terrorism

192

9 146, 154, 155, 185 10, 20, 76, 98, 109, 127 8, 10, 15, 16, 18, 20, 25, 77 3, 12, 14, 18, 26, 29, 45, 46, 47, 54, 56, 64, 91, 92, 97, 98, 107, 110, 111, 164 3, 16, 20, 26, 45, 46, 81, 84, 86, 87, 92, 94, 97, 164, 183 6, 8, 9, 13, 19, 80, 86, 96


Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

Thai Canal

Thailand

TN50 Trinidad and Tobago Tribunal

4, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 184, 4, 26, 32, 33, 38, 84, 103, 119, 120, 121, 122, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128 142 67, 70 12, 14, 65, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 183

U United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)

2, 3, 9, 12, 14, 17, 18, 29, 33, 36, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 56, 58, 59, 63, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 91, 92, 93, 96, 97, 107, 111, 112, 135, 163, 164, 165, 182, 183

V Viet Nam

3, 12, 32, 33, 34, 36, 39, 58, 65, 66, 67, 72, 81, 84, 97, 122, 126, 27, 183

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Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

BIOGRAPHY Captain Ivan Mario Andrew RMN was commissioned as an Executive Officer in January 1988. He was promoted to Captain RMN on 31 May 2018. During his 33 years of service, he has commanded numerous ships, namely KD SRI SARAWAK (Patrol Craft) (2002-2004), KD LAKSAMANA TAN PUSMAH (Corvette) (2010-2012) and KD MAHAWANGSA (Multi-Purpose Command Support Ship) (2017-2019). Besides command duties, he has also served as the Directing Staff in Malaysian Armed Forces Staff College (2007 – 2010) and the Director of Defence Operations Centre, MAF HQ (2019-2021). Presently he is the Director General of RMN Sea Power Centre (PUSMAS TLDM). He graduated from Malaysian Armed Forces Staff College in 2004, holds a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration (Hons) from UNITAR in 2010 and MSc in Engineering Business Management from University of Warwick, UK in 2013.

Professor Dr Wan Izatul Asma Wan Talaat is a Law Professor at Universiti Malaysia Terengganu and a qualified advocate & solicitor. She currently heads the Centre for Ocean Governance at the Institute of Oceanography and Environment (INOS-COG) while serving as a Visiting Fellow at the RMN Sea Power Centre. Her current and past research projects are mainly in environmental governance. Her latest lead projects are mainly on implementing Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning for the coastal stretch of Terengganu, and on the proposed national legislation on seabed mining. She was appointed to the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law, sub-specialising in Ocean, Coastal, and Coral Reefs Specialist Group, since 2014. Nationally, she serves as resource person to various ministries in environmental and natural resources laws and policies. She currently heads the National Technical Working Committee on seabed mining legal framework and serves on the Committee on Law, Ethics, Discipline and Enforcement of the Malaysian Board of Geologist.

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Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

First Admiral Dr Najhan Md Said is currently the Deputy Director General of the National Hydrographic Centre, RMN. He has an excellent tour of duties on board various RMN ships and different essential positions in operational and strategic roles, mainly in the Operation and Planning Directorate, Navy Headquarters, and the National Security Council, Prime Minister’s Department. He obtained his Ph.D in Hydrographic Surveying from UTM in 2018 and holds double masters, Master of Science in Hydrographic Surveying from UTM in 2004 and Master in Maritime Studies from University of Wollongong, Australia in 2009. He actively involves with various national level inter-agencies activities and international engagements, mainly in the technical aspect of the law of the sea, maritime boundary delimitation affairs and hydrography field research related programmes. He is presently appointed to the Sub-Committee on Undersea Feature Names (SCUFN), a technical expert group established under the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO.

Dr Mazlan Madon is a geologist and advisor to the Malaysian Continental Shelf Project, under the National Security Council (Majlis Keselamatan Negara), Prime Minister’s Office. He holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons.) in Geology, University of Southampton, UK, Master of Science in Geology (Sedimentology) from University of Malaya, and Ph.D in Tectonics and Basin Analysis, from University of Oxford. He worked as a petroleum geologist in PETRONAS for 33 years until his retirement in 2017. He is a member of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) since 2012 and is serving the UN body in his second term (2017-2022). He is a Fellow of the Academy of Sciences Malaysia and was President of the Geological Society of Malaysia from 2014 to 2017.

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Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

Jalila Abdul Jalil is a Senior Officer attached to the Director of Research Office, Maritime Institute of Malaysia (MIMA). She has served as a Senior Researcher with Centre of Straits of Malacca and had previously served with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia. She graduated with an LL.B (Hons) from the University of Glamorgan, Wales, United Kingdom and is an alumni of the Rhodes Oceans Scholar in Law of the Sea, Rhodes Academy of Oceans Law and Policy. She is also a Member of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, Inns of Court, London. Her research interests include law of the sea, maritime boundaries issues, dispute settlement and legal matters pertaining to International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Conventions.

Professor Ruhanas Harun is Professor at the Department of Strategic Studies, National Defence University of Malaysia. She researches, lectures and publishes on the themes of foreign policy, national security and international politics. She is Senior Fellow at the Malaysian Institute of Defence and Security (MIDAS), and lectures at the Malaysian Armed Forces Centre for Defence Studies (PUSPAHANAS) in defence and foreign policy. She received a BA (Hons) from University of Malaya, an MA from Sorbonne University, Paris and post graduate diploma in Political Studies from the Institute of Political Studies, Paris. She has taught extensively in Malaysia and abroad. Apart from making a mark as an expert on Malaysia’s national security, she has also distinguished herself as Malaysia’s leading expert on Indo-China, specifically on Vietnam. Besides teaching and research, she has translated books and articles from French into Malay. Her current research interests include Malaysia’s national security, Malaysia-Indonesia relations and Southeast Asian regional diplomacy.

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Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

Cdr Muhamad Zafran Whab RMN is currently a Doctor of Management candidate at University of Malaya. He joined the RMN on 25 May 2000 in the executive branch. He had undergone training at Malaysian Armed Forces Academic, Kuala Lumpur. He has a specialization in Principle Warfare Officer. He holds Master in Management from UNITAR, Bachelor Degree in Nautical Science from UTM, and Executive Diploma in Strategic Study from UPNM. During his 21 years’ service, Commander Zafran RMN had attended various courses in conjunction with career courses and has vast experience on board ships and shore establishment

Captain Mohd Yusri Yusoff RMN is currently the Chief of Staff in the RMN Submarine Command. He was the former Director of International Relations and Exercise in the RMN HQ. He had won several RMN Maritime Essay Competitions and was an active member in formulating the Malaysia’s inaugural Defence White Paper 2020. His highest academic achievements include Best Student of Malaysian Armed Forces Defence College (MAFDC), MAFDC’s Best Thesis Award 2017 and had achieved CGPA 4.0 for his Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s M.Soc Sc (Defence Study). He also holds a Master Degree with Distinction in Business and Administration from UNITAR.

Dr Nazli Aziz is a senior lecturer of politics and policy studies at Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT). He is currently the Coordinator of Centre for Ocean Governance, Institute of Oceanography and Environment (INOS-COG). He holds a Ph.D from He has been involved in a number of research/consultation projects as principal investigator and co-researcher on parliamentary and political affairs as well as on ocean governance, community development and coastal socio-economic planning. His research/consultation projects engage with a range of government agencies, policy consultancies and non-profit organisations (NGOs).

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Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

Nazery Khalid is currently the Head, Group Corporate Communications at Boustead Heavy Industries Corporation Berhad. He holds an MBA from International Islamic University, Malaysia and a BA in Business Administration from Ottawa University, Kansas, USA. He came to prominence in this field at Maritime Institute of Malaysia (MIMA), where he served as Senior Fellow and Head of Centre of Maritime Economics and Industries from 2004 to 2014. He represented Malaysia at International Maritime Organization (IMO) and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) meetings and ASEAN Maritime Transport Working Group (MTWG) meetings. He held the post of Honorary Secretary, Association of Marine Industries of Malaysia (AMIM) from 2015 to 2018.

Ts Dr Nurul Haqimin Mohd Salleh, CMILT is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Maritime Studies at Universiti Malaysia Terengganu. He holds Diploma in Business Management from University Putra Malaysia (2006), Bachelor of Management (Maritime) from UMT (2008), MBA in Shipping Management from UNISEL (2010) and Ph.D. in Maritime Operation from Liverpool John Moores University, UK (2015). His research interests are basically in maritime operation, ranging from uncertainty treatment to risk and reliability management that focuses on maritime sector.

Assoc Prof Ts Dr Mohamad Rosni Othman, FCILT is currently the Dean at the Faculty of Maritime Studies at Universiti Malaysia Terengganu. He obtained his Diploma and Degree from University Putra Malaysia, Master in the Maritime Management from UMT and Ph.D in the Maritime Management and Policy at the Newcastle University, UK. He is a member of the Nautical Institute, UK and International Association of Maritime Economy (IAME) and the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), UK. His research interest is focused on the monitoring performance and developing the innovation policy for the maritime clusters, logistics and transport industry.

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Malaysia a Maritime Nation Agenda: Charting the Passage

Dr Jagan Jeevan, CMILT is a senior lecturer from Universiti Malaysia Terengganu. Currently, he is the Head of Maritime Management programme at the Faculty of Maritime Studies. He received his MSc in Maritime Management from UMT in 2006, Ph.D. in Maritime Logistics and Management from the National Centre of Port and Shipping, Australian Maritime College, University of Tasmania. He is a Charter Member of Institute of Logistics and Transport Malaysia (CILTM). His research interest mainly focuses on port development, port competitiveness, port performance and development strategy for intermodal terminals.

Dr Izyan Munirah Mohd Zaideen, CMILT is a senior lecturer from Universiti Malaysia Terengganu. Currently, she is the Programme Coordinator of Maritime Management in the Faculty of Maritime Studies. She received her bachelor’s degree in Biochemical Engineering from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in 2009, Master of Science in Chemistry and Ph.D. in Maritime Studies from UMT. She is a Charter Member of the Institute of Logistics and Transport Malaysia (CILTM). Her research interest mainly focuses on maritime policy and management. Her current research interest consists of marine pollution from ship-based sources and the assessment of climate change impacts on marine ecosystems.

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Malaysia is indeed blessed with all the attributes of a maritime nation. Our strategic location positions us at the focal point on the map of maritime trade... ...We have beautiful coastlines and islands and they bring millions of tourists to our shores. Our seas is home to bountiful natural resources that provide livelihood to fishermen while big players in the fishing and aquaculture industries have been making handsome economic gains. Our ocean is also host to thriving oil and gas explorations and industries. And there are still numerous natural resources, seabed minerals which have yet to be explored. They too promise our nation wealthy returns. Tun M, NMC 2019

ISBN 978-967-26093-0-8 PUSAT STRATEGI MARITIM DAN SEJARAH (PUSMAS) TLDM Jalan Sultan Yahya Petra, 54100 Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA.

Tel: 03-2202 7260

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