MIMA to the fore
Despite Malaysia being surrounded by the sea, not many Malaysians fully comprehend its important role in our lives. Endowed with a vast maritime area which offers a diverse range of living and non-living resources, the surrounding waters carry tremendous environmental, socio- economic and strategic value to the nation.
From an economic standpoint, the importance of the sea to Malaysia cannot be overemphasised. The sea provides employment and a valuable source of protein to many Malaysians. Almost all of our oil and gas riches, a key contributor to the economy, are found offshore. In addition, the bulk of Malaysia's international trade - the lifeline of the country's economy - is transported by ships. Malaysia's marine and coastal tourism industry is also becoming a major revenue earner.
Safeguarding Malaysia's maritime borders against maritime threats, curbing illicit trade such as in drug and human trafficking, and preventing the entry of illegal immigrants into our waters constitute vital ingredients in the promotion of the nation's security. Being in the neighbourhood of the South China Sea, Sulu Sea, Sulawesi Sea and the Straits of Malacca community of nations, Malaysia is party to jurisdictional and territorial-water claim issues, and is not immune to trans-boundary threats such as piracy and pollution. Then there are emerging issues such as climate change that require the utmost attention of coastal states.
These multiple challenges underscore the mighty task faced by Malaysia as a maritime nation. In addressing them and at the same time harnessing the riches and features of our sea, Malaysia must come up with astute and nuanced polices and strategies. In doing so, the Government will, as it has for the past 19 years, count upon MIMA to put on its thinking cap and deliver quality research products and advice to support policymaking.
MIMA will be guided by its ambition to become a centre of excellence in all that it does. We are committed to deliver excellence in providing policy options to the Government towards safeguarding Malaysia's maritime interests and in helping the nation to become a globally competitive maritime nation.
VICE ADMIRAL TAN SRI DATO' SERI AHMAD RAMLI BIN HAJI MOHD NOR (Ret.)