Asean committed to combating cross-border crime: Zahid

MANILA: The 11th Asean Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime (AMMTC) and Related Meetings which ended here Thursday achieved encouraging success on the efforts and actions to tackle cross-border crime, said Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

The Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister said the biennial meeting proved to be the "best platform" for the Asean member states to speak up and provide proactive proposals in championing the common regional and international interests.

"We achieved several major decisions in terms of not only sharing intelligence information but also taking drastic action on the prevention and combating of the crime and the enforcement measures through cooperation among the Asean countries which are committed to addressing cross-border crime," he said to Malaysian journalists after the conclusion of the 11th AMMTC which convened from Tuesday to Thursday.

Ahmad Zahid said all the Asean member states agreed to hold the meeting annually to show their commitment that cross-border crime should be addressed immediately and not allowed to fester until it weakened the region.

"Asean member states are committed to combating cross-border crime and militants immediately because we realise that the matter can have a profound effect on the people and the region," he said.

Ahmad Zahid said Asean also understood that cross-border crime was no longer in the conventional form, that it was rapidly changing, with the tools of crime being the use of technology and information.

One of the effects of cross-border crime was the stress on the people's financial system, which led to other crimes such as money laundering and cyber crime, he said.

He also said that two of Asean's dialogue partners, Japan and China, which attended the meetings, expressed their desire and commitment to help Asean overcome issues related to cross-border crime.

Meanwhile, three leaders, from Vietnam, Japan and Singapore, called on Ahmad Zahid on the sidelines of the AMMTC.

At the meeting with Vietnam Deputy Minister of Public Security Senior Lt Gen Le Quy Vuong, Ahmad Zahid raised the issue of a rise in the cases of poaching by Vietnamese fishermen in Malaysian waters and proposed that Vietnam sign the International Transfer of Prisoners Treaty as Malaysian prisons held about 700 Vietnamese nationals.

At the meeting with the Minister of State for Disaster Management of Japan, Hachiro Okonogi, Ahmad Zahid said the Government of Japan stated its desire to learn the best practices of Malaysia's security control during the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games 2017 in preparation for Japan's hosting of the Olympic Games in 2020.

At the meeting with Minister in the Prime Minister's Office of Singapore, Josephine Teo, Ahmad Zahid discussed security issues at the the bilateral and regional levels. — Bernama