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National Workshop on Maritime Single Point of Contact (MSPOC)

Wisma Putra, Putrajaya
6 June 2018

MIMA provided the government with policy proposals on the setting up of a one-stop centre for maritime information fusion. This is required to ensure information-led operations result in the successful conviction of maritime transnational organised crimes (MTOC). The proposed one-stop-centre will provide a land-sea nexus allowing land and sea agencies to work in concert in mapping out the logistics chain of crime. The centre will also connect with similar set-ups in ASEAN towards developing a regional security complex.

This proposal was presented at the ASEAN-EU High Level Dialogue on Maritime Security in 2013 and subsequently discussed at the 1st ASEAN Regional Workshop on Single Point of Contact (SPOC) in Cebu in 2015. The next workshop is to be held in Malaysia in August 2018.

The Department of Maritime Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), in collaboration with the National Security Council (NSC) and MIMA conducted the 1st preliminary workshop on SPOC on 6 June 2018.  It was attended by representative from the United States Mission to ASEAN, and officials from the US embassy and the Australian High Commission in Malaysia.

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During the workshop (photo by MOFA)

The discussion was chaired by Dr. Azfar Mohamad Mustafar, Director General Maritime Affairs, MOFA. Speakers at the first session were Dr. Christopher Merritt, Maritime Domain Awareness Technical Advisor of US Mission to ASEAN, Captain Sherman Lacey, United States Coast Guard of US Pacific Command (USPACOM), Inspector Niall Kerr, First Secretary of the Australian Border Force, and Captain Martin A. Sebastian RMN (R) from MIMA.

Captain Martin presented the original idea behind SPOC as the information fusion centre at the operational level. He noted that although the Malaysia Coast Guard (MCG) is well placed to handle operational issues it requires another centre to support them in sense-making and information for calibrated operations. The Maritime Enforcement Coordinating Centre (MECC) which is the inter-agency land-sea-based set up was proposed as the SPOC. However, as the MECC is now organic to MCG, Capt Martin proposed that it be an independent entity reporting to the highest level of government.

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Interagency meeting

 

The USA and Australia elaborated on their own such organizations to provide alternative views on addressing MTOC.

The second session of the workshop involved an interagency meeting among Malaysian entities. It discussed the concept of the SPOC as synthesized at the national level and the gaps and issues that could challenge its effective implementation. There was unanimous agreement on the proposals on the MECC. It was agreed that another session will be held to decide on Malaysia’s position during the next ARF SPOC Workshop.

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