Malaysia and Indonesia have agreed to establish a special mechanism to discuss and finalise the demarcation of maritime boundaries in the Sulawesi Sea, in an effort to avoid any tension that could arise between the two countries.
Malaysian Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin said the decision was made during a meeting between Indonesian President Joko Widodo
and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Bernama News said.
Zainuddin explained that once the mechanism is set up, both countries will appoint special consultants to hold exploratory talks to discuss the issue.
On the encroachment of fishermen in the overlapping waters, Zainuddin said Malaysia and Indonesia had agreed that they would not be arrested but would only be chased out of the encroached area.
On the issue of a Malaysian fishing vessel which was sunk by the Indonesian authorities, Hamzah Zainuddin pointed out that based on the report from the Malaysian Fisheries Department and the Malaysian Maritime
Enforcement Agency, the vessel was fishing in Indonesian waters
"If they enter Malaysian or Indonesian waters, the fishermen are subject to the laws of the local authorities," he clarified.
The deputy minister remarked that this was in line with the Memorandum of Understanding in Respect of the Common Guidelines Concerning Treatment of Fishermen by Maritime Law Enforcement Agencies, which had been signed by both countries in 2012.