Indonesia facilitates return of its 71 fishermen from Malaysia

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Indonesian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur have cooperated to facilitate the return of 71 Indonesian fishermen from Malaysia, according to a press statement from the ministry received on Monday.

“One of the diplomatic efforts to protect Indonesian citizens has paid off. Last Saturday, on Feb 24, the Directorate of Protection of Indonesian Citizens and Legal Entities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs along with the Embassy in Kuala Lumpur had facilitated the return of 71 fishermen from Malaysia,” the press statement revealed.

Most of the 71 Indonesian fishermen had been detained by the Malaysian authorities since 2017.

The traditional fishermen from Indonesia were arrested when their boats entered the territory around the waters of Penang, Malaysia, with allegations of immigration violations by trespassing into Malaysias maritime territory without permission and complete documents.

Efforts to secure their release had been made by the Government of Indonesia until the 12th Annual Meeting of RI-Malaysia on November 22, 2017, in Kuching, Malaysia.

At the meeting, the Indonesian president and Malaysian prime minister agreed to accelerate the release of the fishermen and crew members, who were arrested for violating maritime sovereignty.

After undergoing the trial process and completion of the sentence, the 71 fishermen were repatriated to Indonesia by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Kuala Lumpur to their native region in North Sumatra.

The fishermen were handed over by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the BP3TKI Medan office at the Kualanamu Airport, Medan, and they were assisted to return to their respective regions.

Of the 71 fishermen, 23 were the residents of Medan and Belawan, 15 were natives of Tanjungbalai, 10 belonged to Asahan District, and four were from Batubara District. Furthermore, one was from the Serdang Bedagai District, and 18 people belonged to Deliserdang.

Cases involving Indonesian fishermen, arrested for alleged breaches of territorial boundaries, were not solely handled this time by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Indonesian representatives.

This is a reminder of the need to conduct more intensive promotion and disseminate information on safety measures to be undertaken while conducting activities in the waters, especially for traditional fishermen.

Source: ANTARA News