The Straits of Malacca stretches between Peninsular Malaysia and the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The littoral states of the Straits of Malacca are Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. The Strait, situated between the coastline of Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore to the east and the Indonesian island of Sumatra to the west, extends 500 miles from its widest point (350 km between Northern Sumatra and Thailand) to its narrowest (less than 3 km wide between southern Sumatra and Singapore). The Straits of Malacca is an important shipping lane in the world. Every year, more than 60,000 ships pass through the Straits of Malacca carrying various cargoes, from crude oil to finished products from all over the world.This number is nearly three times the number of ships that navigate through the Panama Canal and more than double the number that uses the Suez Canal. The Straits of Malacca, which connects the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean, is one of the busiest ocean highways in the world. About 30 per cent of the world’s traded goods and 80 percent of Japan’s oil needs are transported through this busy waterway.Since the Straits of Malacca is vital to the world community, its safe keeping, especially in terms of the security of its sea-lane of commerce, must be ensured in order that the Strait will continuously facilitate world trade. Any disruption or blockage of the Straits of Malacca, either by terrorist groups or by nation states, could prompt many parties to intervene and undermine the sovereignty of the littoral states over it. One of the issues in the Straits of Malacca today is the threat of maritime security from piracy and possible terrorism, or the nexus between these two activities. Because of this, there has recently been increasing fear over the safety of navigation in the Straits of Malacca. This fear arises from the high incidence of piracy and armed attacks against ships in the Strait and assessments that terrorist groups might have, or could quickly acquire, the capabilities to attack ships. Piracy has been a considerable problem in the Strait in recent years; rising from 11 attacks in 2002 to 24 and 25 attacks in 2003 and in 2004 respectively.In 2005, from the month of January till September there are 10 attacks by the pirates against the merchant ships and fishing boats. With these recent incidents as a reminder, the United States (US) as a international stakeholders has been expressing her concern for the safety of the strait and proposed to conduct patrols by US marines in the Straits of Malacca. This was announced by Admiral Thomas Fargo, head of US Forces in the Asia Pacific in 2004. US troops, it was proposed could assist in patrolling the strait to deter piracy and terrorists who might target shipping in the Straits of Malacca. Littoral states like Malaysia and Indonesia feel that there is no necessity for the presence of extra-regional forces for the purpose of securing the Strait and that such presence will impinge on their sovereignty. The proposals from other states to provide security in the Straits of Malacca is seen as undermining their capability and integrity in ensuring the safe passage of the users’ merchant ships. The need for cooperation in maritime security among the littoral states and the stakeholders are a high priority. Intelligence is a process in which information collected / generated, to be analyzed prior intelligence before product provided to customers. In general, military intelligence is information needed in preparation planning and implementation of the plans, policies, programs and defence policy (military). Intelligence provided as necessary knowledge for national defence and in particular military operations whether in peace time or during war, defence also depends on the ability to monitor and curb the intelligence operations by enemies or potential enemies, known as the counter intelligence. Intelligence is one the key components for defence policy. Taking into account to identify the intention a states that may threaten in certain circumstances policy makers require intelligence, so that they are not shocked by the incident and will feel really confident when choosing options to make a decisions.
The Straits of Malacca is a vital component of the international Sea Lines of Communications (SLOCs). It has always featured in the military strategic thinking, international law and economic planning. This is inevitable as vital SLOCs of the sea through which much of the international shipping traffics are it commercial or military. From an economic and strategic perspective, the Straits of Malacca is one of the most important shipping lanes in the world. Half of all oil shipments carried by sea are through the Straits of Malacca. In 2003, an estimated 11 million barrels a day was carried through this sea-lane. This volume expected to expand as oil consumption rises in China. As the Straits of Malacca is only one and a half nautical miles wide at its narrowest point, Phillips Channel in the Singapore Strait, it forms one of the world’s significant traffic bottlenecks. All these factors have caused the area to become a target for piracy and are perceived to be a target for terrorism. The issue of security in the Straits of Malacca has drawn considerable interest from the major powers whose economic survival depend heavily on the usage of the Straits of Malacca. There has been impression that the littoral states do not have the essential capacities in safeguarding the Straits of Malacca from piracy and ensuring navigation safety. These concerns by the major users of the Straits of Malacca led to a proposal by Japan who offered her maritime assets to help patrol the Straits of Malacca,while in 2002 India offered to provide its Coast Guard ships to patrol and provide escorts for high value American and allied shipping using the Strait. The Strait has seen tension between the littoral states and the United States over the statement made by Admiral Thomas Fargo that the US military was planning to deploy Marines and Special Forces troops in high-speed boats in the Malacca Strait to combat proliferation of terrorism, piracy and human trafficking in the area. The US proposal to intervene in the security of the Straits of Malacca through its Regional Maritime Security Initiative (RMSI) has invited debate among the littoral states. The reason for the proposal was the US concerns for possible threats from terrorists to international shipping in the Strait, especially concerning the movement of cargoes relating to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) through the Strait. The littoral states’ response to this dilemma led to a debate among the countries that have interest in the Strait. Indonesia and Malaysia argued that the responsibility to ensure the security and safety of the Strait that lies in their territorial waters should be fully under their jurisdiction. Any intervention by the other interested parties would be seen as only undermining their capability and integrity in ensuring the safe passage of ships in the Strait. According to former Foreign Minister, Datuk Syed Hamid Albar, Malaysia feels that there is no need for the presence of extra-regional forces, such as the US, for the purpose of securing and safeguarding the strategic waterways and that such presence will impinge on the sovereignty of the country. At present, there have only a few security alliances between the littoral states seeking collective security arrangements. While these littoral states are seeking to modernize and to increase their maritime capabilities, their programs are aimed more at protecting offshore claims than promoting security in the Straits of Malacca. At lower levels of the security spectrum, none has the capability to survey the whole Strait with sufficient frequency to be sure it knows what is happening there. Each would need the support and cooperation of other states to affect these tasks.Security in the Straits of Malacca is dependent upon the relationships between littoral states and the stakeholders. The littoral states have jurisdiction over the Straits of Malacca within the charter of the United Nation Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Nevertheless, the major powers will intervene, despite the sovereignty of the littoral states, if the security in the Straits of Malacca is at stake. Many political leaders and the people of this country still think that military intelligence is not so important in the role of national security and national defence policy especially in this case on safeguarding the Straits of Malacca. The problems arise because of the nature where the political leaders and citizens assume that the internal threat is out of the military tasks. A few of them also consider the problem of homeland security is the responsibility of public authorities, particularly the police and the military is to safeguard the country from the external threat. The “philosophy” of “never mind, have not happened yet” is still deepens among Malaysians, but it also effects the political leaders in government and defence policy makers. This paper will focus and highlight the reasons and explain the importance of evaluation for military intelligence to the needs of intelligence cooperation and intelligence exchange among ASEAN members in safeguarding the Straits of Malacca. This paper also will focus on further comments on aspects of importance, challenges, weaknesses, effectiveness and appropriateness of military intelligence and intelligence exchange between the littoral states so that they can contribute to the security of Straits of Malacca. Although this paper will identify the importance of military intelligence cooperation and intelligence exchange among ASEAN members but it will indirectly affect the security of the straits.
This paper analyses the problems associated with the maritime security of the Straits of Malacca and military intelligence cooperation’s. In achieving the aim, the following research objectives have been identified and these objectives will be used as guidance during the research process:
The Straits of Malacca is a strategic waterway. Together with the Singapore Strait, it spans from Indian Ocean to the South China Sea and serve as the main primary Sea Lines of Communications. There is no doubt to the importance of the Straits in terms of international economic, security and the environment. Last 5 years, security in the Straits of Malacca has drawn interest from the major powers whose economic survival depends heavily on the usage of the strait. There have been impressions that the littoral states do not have the essential capacities to safeguard the strait from maritime threats. The security problems in the Straits of Malacca need holistic approach by the littoral states. It is impossible for the individual states to deal with the problems alone. In this paper I will discuss the commitment of the ASEAN member particularly the military intelligence cooperation that driven the successful of joint military security operations among littoral states and the stakeholders to enhance stability in managing the security threats in the Straits of Malacca. All efforts will have to be coordinated, to effectively deal with maritime security threats. This paper may also be used as a guideline to further strengthen the military intelligence cooperation amongst the stakeholders in a more positive manner that will benefit stakeholders who are concerned with security in the Straits of Malacca. Among the stakeholders are the littoral states, international users, International Maritime Bureau (IMB) and the shipping community.
Many articles have been written about maritime cooperation and the integrated maritime regime in this region. Most articles, journals and books acknowledge maritime cooperation between states, but not in terms of the region as a whole. However, there are a number of books and articles that deal with the theoretical aspects of security law, problems and challenges to maritime issues that clearly deal with the possible consequences. In supporting this study, some literature on security, law of the sea and ocean management will be reviewed. Most of the literature will provide the framework for understanding the subject matter. Barry Buzan in his book People, States and Fears (2nd Edition): An Agenda for international Security Studies in the Post Cold War Era expounds extensively on regional security. The author states that security is a relational phenomenon, in security terms-region means that a district and significant subsystem of security relation exists among a set of states whose fate is that they have been locked into geographical proximity with each other. In defining regional security, Buzan states the principle element that must be added to power relations is the pattern of amity and enmity among state. Amity means relationships ranging from genuine friendship to expectation of protection or support; whereas enmity means relationships set by suspicions and fears. Buzan further argues that the term security complex, which he defines as a group of states whose primary security concerns link them together sufficiently such that their national security cannot be realistically considered apart from one another. In theory, according to Buzan, a high level of trust and friendship can also serve as a binding force to tackle any security issues as it does among the ASEAN countries. Piracy has developed to become a regional security concern for the littoral states as well as for states having a strong economic interest in the region of Southeast Asia. Thus far, only interstates bilateral security arrangements have been established to combat this menace, and no in-depth study is being made to synergies security efforts using mechanism of ASEAN or other relevant organisation like the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). ARF was established in 1994 to foster constructive dialogue and consultation on political and security issues of common interest and concern. There is possibility that this regional organisation act can concertedly to address the problem, adopting the concept of amity. The book entitled Act of Piracy in the Malacca and Singapore Strait study by Robert C. Beckman, Carl Grundy-Warr, and Vivian L. Forbes discusses the background of piracy in Straits of Malacca and Singapore. They discuss the definition of piracy under the United Nations Convention Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the definition given by the International Maritime Bureau. Most authors have a preference for definitions by the IMB in describing the issues of piracy. The controversy over the definition has resulted in disagreement between the littoral states, as this tends to portray the areas in the Strait that are under their sovereignty as piracy-infested areas and thus undermining the efforts and capabilities of the littoral states. Mark J. Valencia concludes that security issues such as national sovereignty, smuggling of arms, piracy and maritime terrorism in the Straits of Malacca, as well as environmental and marine resources issues must be understood before an effective and mutually acceptable cooperative response can be agreed and implemented. He further discusses the politics of security threats in the Strait whereby the littorals states and the maritime powers have different perceptions and priorities. Moreover, they differ in their preferred responses or approaches to mitigating these security threats. The US concern over terrorism in the Straits of Malacca was articulated through a proposed Regional Maritime Security Initiative (RMSI) for South East Asia focusing on the Malacca Strait. But the proposal was opposed by Malaysia and Indonesia stating that the Five Powers Defence Arrangement was a proper means by which to deal with piracy and terrorism, all the while reiterating that each country would deal with the problem in its waters. Basically, Indonesia, Malaysia and others remain concerned that a US presence in the Malacca Strait would attract terrorist attacks and bolster the ideological appeal of extremist elements. Hesi Carmel in his book Intelligence for Peace discusses the intelligence has an important role to play, not only in times of war and confrontation, but also in times of conciliation and political processes. The book sheds light on a major issue which concerns governments, policy makers, intelligence organizations and the public. It is of interest to all those concerned with modern intelligence activities and the changing international environment. Michael Herman on his book Intelligence Power in Peace and War discusses that intelligence services form an important but controversial part of the modern state. Drawing mainly on British and American examples, this book provides an analytic framework for understanding the intelligence community and assessing its value. Michael Herman describes the various components of intelligence; discusses what intelligence is for; considers issues of accuracy, evaluation and efficiency; and makes recommendations for the future of intelligence in the post-cold war world. Intelligence and Human Right in Era of Global Terrorism edited by Steve Tsang addresses not only the question of how intelligence organizations can improve their efficacy in pre-empting terrorist outrages, but also the wider issue of removing the forces that sustain global terrorism as a scourge of the 21st century. The general public in the target countries and recruiting grounds must also be persuaded that the terrorists are not engaged in a holy war. Ultimately, the brand of global terrorism promoted by Osama bin Laden and his associates is meant to satisfy their own vanity and aspirations toward semi-divine status; the organization they have formed for this purpose is merely a global syndicate that commits serious crimes of a particularly heinous nature. Intelligence services of various countries need to find convincing evidence to prove this point. But it is up to governments, civil society, and the media in different parts of the world to work together if the evidence unearthed by national intelligence services is to be accepted by the general public. Unless the emotional or quasi-religious appeal of the global terrorists can be removed, the simple arrest of bin laden and his close associates–or even the destruction of Al Qaeda asan organization-will not is sufficient to prevent others from rising to replace them.
The limitation of this study is the difficulties in getting primary data through elite interviewing. The use of secondary data from material and references from library was the likely main source in continuing the study. For the purpose of conformation of data, multiple sources were used and problems were overcome by triangulation. The other limitation was the limited time to conduct a thorough study due to other commitment in the course.
For this study, the research methodology used is basically a qualitative approach. The researcher only used secondary data, which has a rich intellectual content, obtained from books, articles, newspapers, periodicals, journals and speeches, which in turn will be thoroughly examined. Elaboration of some of these works was done to provide greater understanding of the subject. This secondary data gathering was done at various libraries i.e. the Ministry of Defence Library, where the centre of military studies and war references are available, the National Library that provides a lot of books peculiar to the study and UM Library, which has the largest number of references material pertaining to social science studies. I also used the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) library contains numerous reports and references of strategic outlook perception of the Malaysian government. The Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations (IDFR) library keeps large amounts of references and policy papers pertaining to Malaysia’s stand on diplomacy and foreign relations. Apart from the above, other sources were used to supplement the information required to substantiate views related to this paper. In addition to secondary data collection, Internet was used via web sites, databases and through documentation where possible. This has also helped me in terms of cheaper and it saved valuable time.
This paper is intended to provide information and exploration of security issues in the Straits of Malacca and the need for cooperation among the stakeholders in order to solve the security problem. Chapter I – Introduction: This chapter provides the background of the topic and its significance, problem statement, the objective of the study, literature review and the research methodology of the paper. Chapter II – The Straits of Malacca – An Important Maritime Waterway:This chapter discusses the strategic importance of the Straits of Malacca to international users and littoral states, covering the safety of navigation and sea-lanes of communications. Chapter III – ASEAN Military Intelligence: This chapter discusses the existence military intelligence organization among ASEAN members. Chapter IV – Security Threat in Straits of Malacca: This chapter discusses the security threats in the Straits of Malacca, which focus on political, economic and environmental security. Chapter V – Military Intelligence Cooperation:This chapter discusses military intelligence cooperation and intelligence exchange amongst the littoral states and stakeholders. It discusses current cooperation and implementation between the littoral states and the stakeholders in dealing with security in the Straits of Malacca that been driven by military intelligence initiative. Chapter VI – Conclusion: Apart from concluding this paper, this chapter put forward recommendation and solution to the security problems and to strengthen intelligence cooperation’s in the future.
This chapter is to discuss the importance of the Straits of Malacca as a maritime waterway for littoral states and international users. The Straits of Malacca is a very strategic waterway together with the Singapore Straits it spans from the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea and serves as the primary Sea Line of Communication (SLOC) for ships from Europe and the Middle East to Northeast Asia and the Asia Pacific region. There is no doubt as to the importance of the Straits in terms of international economics, security and environment. This chapter also discusses how important the Straits of Malacca is in shaping the economy, security and environment of the international stakeholder and littoral states like Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.
In maritime and economic terms, a shipping route should be the shortest distance and therefore capable of economical and timely delivery of cargo. Those plying the ocean seek to minimise their operational costs by utilising the shortest possible route to reduce the time of delivery. Hence, the major shipping routes have become permanent and have established connections between nations. Majority of Asia Pacific countries for their export-oriented economic structures undoubtedly rely on the Straits of Malacca as maritime means of transportation. The availability of a safe and uninterrupted flow of shipping for the survival and prosperity of the countries is crucial and desirable. Straits of Malacca as a SLOCs, therefore serve as the important element in the economy of so many countries.
The Straits of Malacca’s bodies of water are in South-Eastern Asia, separating the Malay Peninsula in the Northeast from the island of Sumatera in the Southwest and connecting the Andaman Sea, a part of the Indian Ocean in the North with the South China Sea in the South. The shipping route is very close to the Malaysian coast from One Fathom Bank to the entrance of the Singapore Strait. By using the Straits of Malacca instead of Indonesia’s Lombok Straits, super large tankers ferrying crude oil from the Middle East to the Far East can save up to 1600 kilometers or roughly three days sailing time. Since the days of the Malacca Empire, the route through the Straits of Malacca has been much sought after, as this was the shortest trade route from the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea, thus making it one of the most important shipping lanes in the world.The Straits of Malacca, which is approximately 500 nautical miles in length, is the longest strait in the world. However, the Straits of Malacca is a narrow thoroughfare with the narrowest part being almost 1.5 nautical miles wide.The depth of water within the straits is irregular due to many areas of sand waves. However, a safe navigational route is well available with an approximate depth of 25 meters. Hence, the maximum draught recommended by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for passing ships is 19.8 meters. The natural topography of the Strait creates a narrow shipping route that serves as one of many strategically maritime chokepoints, thus further creating a natural high risk area for collision of shipping. The Sea Lines of Communications (SLOCs) in the Straits of Malacca provide the medium for its transportation. Hence, keeping these vital SLOCs open and safe is crucial in ensuring the continuation of trade and open access to markets. Looking from the larger perspective and in the more globalised world today, the freedom and safety of these SLOCs are also of concern by several stakeholders. For example, about 30 percent of the world’s trade and 80 percent of Japan’s oil passes through the Straits of Malacca. The threat to the security of SLOCs can perceivably be categorised as those emanating from state actors, the unintended consequences of maritime disasters and non-state actors. While it is acknowledged that threats from state actors do exist, continued diplomatic effort has managed to reduce its severity and has made it a lesser concern. To manage the accidental penalty of maritime disasters, littoral states has invested significantly and cooperated with other stakeholders in ensuring the avoidance of such occurrences and to have in place effective measures in case such an incident does occur. This is especially so considering the very congested and narrow waterways of the Straits of Malacca. The threat posed by non-state actors has always been a major concern to littoral state as it will invariably impact on national interest and these threats include sea robbery, illegal migration and smuggling.
The safety of navigation is one of the challenges facing the Strait management. Although the safety of navigation is threatened mainly by navigational hazards and accidents, security threats could threaten the safety of navigation as well. Despite being installed with modern navigational aids, the Strait is still considered an accident-prone waterway. There were eleven collisions and one fire incident in the Straits from 2001-2003. Causes of accidents ranged from the poor standard of shipboard equipment to human error in navigating the ships, reasons which are beyond the control of the territorial states. Apart from direct loss to lives and properties, the accidents frequently threaten the Straits eco-system, particularly with cargo and oil spills over major fishing grounds and tourist beaches. The Straits of Malacca is the shortest and most preferred route for the transportation of oil using tankers less than 250,000 DWT (dead weight tonnage) and other goods plying between the Persian Gulf and East Asian countries. There is evidence that the Straits of Malacca is widely used by as many as 300 ships in both directions daily, although it is not the only SLOC in the region, and the number is increasing.To provide for an uninterrupted and safe navigation within the Straits, a Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) has been established off One Fathom Bank and in the Northern approach to the Singapore Straits. Shipmasters are bound to follow the specific routes and general direction of the flow of the Straits to avoid any eventuality of collision and grounding.
In contemporary times, the Straits of Malacca still has a significant bearing on the international economy. The exploitation of the Straits for shipping continues to increase as globalisation expands. Growing economic activities around the world result in a bigger demand for transportation and maritime transportation continues to monopolies the bulk of the world’s economy. As trade between East and West of the Straits increases, so does the usage of the Straits of Malacca. It is therefore essential to ensure the security and freedom of SLOCs within the region. The reasons are as follows: a.Energy Source. For Asian countries oil is the main source of energy. 60 per cent of Asian oil consumed in 2003 was imported from the Middle East. The maritime energy trade in the region has resulted in increased numbers of tankers and Liquid Natural Gas (LNG), Liquid Purified Gas (LPG) carriers plying regional shipping routes. Nearly two-thirds of crude oil imports of the Northeast Asian countries from the Middle East passes the Straits of Malacca daily, which represents 23 per cent of the global total or approximately 4 billion barrels.LNG shipments through the Straits of Malacca and South China Sea constitute two-third of the world’s overall LNG trade. The supply of energy and its unimpeded transportation become major security concerns in the region. b.Regional Trade. Maritime transportation is the most essential mode of efficient and economical transport of cargo within the Asian Pacific countries. The Asia Pacific region contributed one-third of the world’s maritime trade commodities volume, in excess of 1.5 billion tons. The usage of the SLOCs by the regional countries within the East Asia region in 1994 saw USD949.5 billion worth of international trade, with important players like Japan and China monopolizing the trade constituting 39 per cent, or US 260.4 billion, and 27 per cent, or USD 65.6 billion, respectively from their total trade. c.Regional Shipping Fleet. Nearly half of the largest container-shipping lanes and 18 of the world’s top container ports in the world are based in Asia. The rapid growth of Asia Pacific economies has made the Straits the center of international navigation. The Northeast Asian countries (South Korea, China, Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong) own 30.05 per cent of the total world shipping tonnage or equivalent to 201,645 DWT. The Straits of Malacca handles more liquid bulk tonnage (crude oil and liquid gas), leaving dry bulk tonnage (mostly coal and iron ore) in second place. d.Commodities. The general flow of commodities through the Straits mainly involve energy sources from the Middle East, such as crude oil and natural gas, and in the other direction grain, coal and iron ore from East and Southeast Asia, to the Middle East and Europe. Hence, the general pattern of shipping sees the transporting of higher tonnage of lower value commodities to industrial countries which in return will export these back in the form of lower tonnage high-value manufactured goods. The dry bulk trade imported by Asia through the Straits of Malacca in 1997 reached 56 per cent of the world total.
Malaysia’s economy relies on the straits for maritime transportation. Malaysia’s foreign trade is dependent on maritime transport facilities. More than 80 percent of Malaysia’s trade passes through the straits. Malaysia’s leading container port such as Port Klang lies adjacent to the Straits. This port acts as the designated hub to rapidly growing industrial areas centred in Kuala Lumpur. It is the principal container terminal where two-third of the country’s container shipment takes place and it is also the location of the country’s leading oil refinery. Other major ports such as Penang also handle container cargo from the high technology manufacturing base surrounding it. Obviously, the Malaysian states bordering the Straits of Malacca dominate the nation’s economy. Despite the land area of these states accounting for only 50 per cent of Malaysia, almost 65 per cent of the population reside in them and contribute almost 70 per cent of the national output. In terms of average per capita incomes, the West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia is well above the per capita income of the East Coast states as well as Sabah and Sarawak. The concentration of economic activities along the western corridor adjacent to the Straits clearly indicates the great importance of the Straits of Malacca, especially in the production of manufactured and industrial goods. Malaysia derived a significant measure of its catalyst for economic development and international competitiveness from maritime transportation. Port Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) is situated at the South Western tip of Peninsular Malaysia and adjacent to the Straits of Malacca. Its strategic location provides minimum diversion time from the Straits, which is the convergence of the main international shipping lanes. PTP is currently listed as the 20th busiest port in the world in term of volume handled by the end of 2010. The port has been further strengthened by the decision of major shipping masters such as Denmark’s Maersk Sealane, Taiwan’s Evergreen Marine and Germany’s Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW) which realigned their shipping strategy by shifting from Singapore’s port to PTP as their Southeast Asia stopover, attracted by cheaper port charges and excellent facilities. It has recorded tremendous growth from its beginning in 2000 to being named ‘Container Terminal of the Year’ at the 2004 Asia Logistic Award organized by Lloyd’s FTB Asia.Hence, PTP can be seen as a significant driver in Malaysia’s economy. With the location of three of Malaysia’s major ports in the Straits, the dependency of Malaysia’s economy on the Straits is certainly apparent.
The Straits of Malacca is increasingly important to Indonesian trade and economy. In term of non-oil major exports, Indonesian exports to the USA and Singapore recorded in 2003 amounted to nearly USD1, 186 billions, which were mostly carried by sea through the Straits of Malacca with petroleum exports to Singapore being even more significant. Such a situation also applied to Indonesian import of petroleum as well as non-oil imports, which come from Singapore and other countries such as the USA and Saudi Arabia. As the Straits of Malacca is important to Indonesia for shipping and trade, it is also important in terms of fishery. The western part of the Indonesian archipelago in the Java Sea and Malacca Straits is relatively rich and a highly populated region with dense fishing communities, thus creating high local demand. These areas produce about two-thirds of the total Indonesian fish catch and attract large amounts of fishing efforts, particularly in the areas relatively close to shore. In terms of international sea passengers, largely short distance travelers, the Straits of Malacca holds an important role for most travelers from Sumatera (including Batam, Bintan and Tanjung Balai Karimun) to Singapore or Malaysia. Travelers are usually Indonesian workers or Singaporean weekend tourists going to Batam or Bintan. In 1996, there were 3.8 million international passengers (arrivals and departures) and in 1998 this number increased to 4.8 million passengers.
The Straits of Malacca is the lifeline of the Singapore economy. Singapore is heavily dependent on shipping and ranks 11th among the most important maritime countries in the world.The economic development of Singapore has been and will continue to be dependent on its maritime trade. The Straits of Singapore makes the country’s port one of the busiest in the world in terms of tonnage. It serves 500 shipping companies and 30,000 vessels annually. In 1999, it handled 188,695,000 tons of general cargo, 137,349,000 tons of bulk cargo, and 15,945,000 twenty-foot TEUs of container throughput. The value of Singapore’s total trade is more than her GDP and a large proportion of this trade is carried by sea. In addition to this, it operates oil refineries which are being supplied by Japanese tankers.Singapore is a major shipping hub and the world’s second largest container terminal after Hong Kong. Around 90 per cent of cargo is transshipped mainly through the Malacca Straits to/from the west.
The strategic importance of the Straits of Malacca lies in its being the shortest, cheapest and most convenient sea-link between the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf. The importance of the Straits to the international community has undoubtedly raised concerns for its security. The navigational safety through the Straits is vital in ensuring that global trade and commerce is not interrupted, thus jeopardizing the economic interest of the stakeholders and littoral states in particular. The usage of the Straits to cater for the increase of trade between East and West is significantly driven by the growth of economic activities around the world that use maritime transportation. From Malaysia’s perspective, the maritime related industries that include offshore exploitation of resources, sea-based tourism related industries, together with her manufacturing sector, contribute significantly to the wellbeing of Malaysia’s economy. Hence, keeping this vital SLOC open and safe is crucial in ensuring the continuation of Malaysia’s trade and open access to markets. As the concentration of its main ports, commercial cities and the most densely populated areas are located along the Straits, the importance of securing the SLOCs to ensure that it remains safe and open is indeed, for Malaysia, a high priority. The three littoral states depend on the Straits of Malacca as an economic lifeline. Most of their trade is transported through this Strait. With the growing significant of the Straits of Malacca, it would be necessary to safeguard one of the most important sea-lanes in the world.
The phrase ‘Military Intelligence’ conveys a sense of mystery and intrigue. This chapter will discuss about the function of ASEAN military intelligence organization and try to highlight the cooperation that has been engage by military intelligence organization among ASEAN country for the past, present and for the future especially relating with the combating non-traditional security threat along this region. Military intelligence is the user of most types of intelligence, but must rely upon others to provide much of it. The rate of change of both warfare and the mean of gathering intelligence has been increasing ever more rapidly since the 19 century, until today the sheer enormity of the processing task, even with the assistance of modern data-processing equipment, requires the maintenance of a very large peacetime intelligence organization. In this chapter also, I will focusing and discussing three tasks relating to the nature and implications of bilateral defence and security cooperation within ASEAN. The first is to provide an overview of the military intelligence organization in various ASEAN countries. The second is to provide the nature and patterns of existing military intelligence bilateral. The third is to analyzing the evolution of ASEAN state’s attitudes towards intelligence cooperation, intelligence exchange and efforts to strengthen the regional security in the future.
All ASEAN members have their own military intelligence organization that solely responsible to provide strategic and tactical intelligence that required at the national level by strategic planners, government policy makers and high level military commander which normally include all categories of intelligence bearing on national strategy such as political, economic, technical, scientific, military, geographic and sociological.The military intelligence main function to collects, evaluates information from a wide variety of sources and interprets it to provide both facts and forecasts for its customers. Defence Intelligence Staff Division Malaysia (DISD) was established in 1981 to man the military intelligence in three various level of intelligence including the strategic level, operational level and tactical level.DISDas a intelligence agency was establishedtomeetthe intelligence needsand capabilitiesofthe threatenvironment and also had been recognizing by other security agency internal and external especially in strengthening the relationship and cooperationbetweenallintelligenceagencies, nationallyand regionally, especiallyin terms ofsharingintelligenceinformation. Starting from it establishment especially after the arms lay down of the communist threat in Malaysia, DISD had emerged to became the most prominent military intelligence organization that taken the first step to have cooperation with other military intelligence organization in Southeast Asia region. Jabatanarah Perisikan dan Keselamatan Brunei was the smallest military intelligence organization in number that established to meet the intelligence requirement of the Brunei Armed Forces in term of providing the intelligence in various disciplines of intelligence. The function of this military intelligence organization is similar to any other military intelligence establishment which is to support the military operations and policy makers. Although the Jabatanarah Perisikan dan Keselamatan organization is not huge like another military intelligence organization in this region, it always taken initiative to get involve with other counterpart in this region to buildup the trust among each other and frequently exchanging information with others organization. Badan Agensi Intelijen Strategik Indonesia is a military intelligence organization that been established to support the Republic Indonesia Armed Forces in term of intelligence especially in countering the security threat towards the sovereignty of the country. This organization had taken seriously involve in combating the non-traditional threat especially the terrorism threat in Republic Indonesia soil and successfully in achieving the glory when they crack down the Jemaah Islamiah terrorist activity. Badan Agensi Intelijen Strategik Indonesia also taken a serious path with other ASEAN military intelligence organization in strengthen the cooperation especially in combating non-traditional threat in this region which can be proven with their remarkable participating and advocate lot of military intelligence meeting series. Similarly like military intelligence organization in Brunei, Defence Intelligence Department of Laos is the smaller organization in term of personnel and their responsible to disseminate the intelligence requirement toward the Laos Armed Forces especially in term of protecting their sovereignty from any types of threat toward the nation.Although this country is more likely practiced the socialist government in nature but their military intelligence organization has proven that they can cooperate with any military intelligence organization in this region regardless their differences. In term of cooperation, Defence Intelligence Department of Laos has always participated and involve in meeting especially in regard of security in this region. J2 – Philippines Armed Forces is the military intelligence organization that had been established to confront the insurgency in Philippines soil and counter any external threat especially in providing the intelligence to Philippines Armed Forces. The successful of intelligence collection and dissemination in past year had contained the movements of insurgent activity in northern and southern part of Philippines. Beside the remarkable intelligence operations that this organization has achieve in the past, J2 also involving in the various aspect of military intelligence cooperation with other military intelligence organization in the ASEAN region especially in taking part in given briefing about the internal security threat and non-traditional security threat that they facing. Military Intelligence Organization (MIO) Singapore is the most sophisticated and advance military intelligence organization in this region. With the latest intelligence gathering assets and equipment that they have, it surely fulfill to meet the requirement of the Singapore Armed Forces in order to get the real strategic, operational and tactical intelligence toward protection Singapore sovereignty against any internal and external threat. In term of cooperation, MIO has given their technology advance platform to be use by other military intelligence organization in ASEAN in combating non-traditional threat and always taken part with any conferences regard the security threat in this region. Joint Intelligence Royal Thailand Supreme Command is the main military intelligence organization in Royal Thailand Armed Forces which the prominent function is to provide the intelligence to RTAF in counter the internal and external threat that may perceive. This organization is responsible to disseminate the intelligence to Royal Thailand Armed Forces in various intelligence disciplines.General Department Defence Intelligence of Vietnam although is far behind in term of technology enhancement likewise MIO Singapore but they has proven their capabilities in providing intelligence seen the Vietnam War until present. General Department Defence Intelligence strongly depend in human intelligence capabilities to collect information and disseminate intelligence that needed by the Vietnam Armed Forces to combat the traditional threat and non-traditional threat. In term of cooperation they also took part with other ASEAN military intelligence organization in security conference and discussion especially in promoting the security in the region. The last and not least, Military Affairs Security of Myanmar is the military intelligence organization that responsible in providing intelligence toward the Myanmar Armed Forces or Tatmadaw. Although Myanmar had been openly criticized by western country especially the human right issues but it doesn’t stop the military intelligence cooperation between Military Affairs Security of Myanmar with other ASEAN military intelligence organization especially in sharing the information and exchanging intelligence. Apart from differences of the ASEAN military intelligence organization establishment in term of size, capabilities and strength but it not a big issues that can prevent from the military intelligence cooperation had taken place in combating security challenges in this region. Their differences have made them stronger to be part of ASEAN military intelligence community. Although there have been differences on political agenda, ASEAN military intelligence organization still can manage to persuade their respective policy makers and government to involve in such meeting and cooperation that can benefits toward individual national interest.A A
Military Intelligence relations among the member countries of the ASEAN have seldom been free from contentious bilateral problems. Yet, one of the most important features of the intra-ASEAN strategic environment in recent years has been a rapid expansion of bilateral defence and security ties between ASEAN members. Evolving from simple intelligence exchanges on border insurgencies, such ties have now come to feature, among other things, joint operations against insurgents on common borders, regular contacts and intelligence exchanges between high-level military and security officials, joint contingency planning for mutual assistance against external threats, exchanges of senior level officers for training, provision of field training facilities, joint maritime surveillance and patrols, cooperative arms transfers, and a range of military exercises to develop common operating procedures and simulate joint action against common threats. Indeed, such bilateral security and defence ties have evolved to a point where they now affect the fundamental objectives and role of ASEAN as a regional group. One of the more crucial forms of security cooperation among the ASEAN states is intelligence-sharing and exchange. These exchanges take place at a bilateral level and involve both military as well as national intelligence agencies. The intelligence branches of ASEAN armed forces often communicate and cooperate with each other directly, or as part of combined national delegations including members from the national intelligence bodies. Furthermore, intelligence sharing covers both tactical matters (such as cooperation against border insurgencies) and strategic and policy issues including overall threat assessments. Within ASEAN a number of bilateral intelligence-sharing arrangements emerged during the late 1960s and 1970s as a result of the worsening situation in Indochina and the rising threat of communist subversion. While the origins of these meetings remain obscure, the practice has continued, with ASEAN countries taking turns in hosting these meetings and coordinating the agenda. Delegations to these meeting are drawn from the military and the national intelligence agencies of the member states. The meetings are informal, and topics for discussion range from sharing of information and experience relating to insurgencies to developments in the wider region, including non-traditional threat and external threats to regional security. Malaysia – Brunei Military Intelligence Bilateral Exchange had been acknowledging for long period of time. To note there had been 14 times of military intelligence bilateral seminar had been conducted annually and both nations have taking turn to host this type of occasions. In 12th Malaysia-Brunei Intelligence Bilateral Seminar held from 6 to 8 May 2008 in Banda Seri Begawan, Brunei specific paper work on security in Straits of Malacca had been discuss between both delegation in promoting security and combating non-traditional threat along Straits of Malacca.Malaysia – Indonesia Military Intelligence Bilateral that had been conducted by intelligence agencies of both countries annually and had been conducted more than 10 times especially in conjunction of intelligence sharing and intelligence cooperation against the non-traditional threat. The cooperation between military intelligence organization for both country including Tim Perancang Intelijen or Intelligence Working Team that is to manage the intelligence cooperation and intelligence sharing by both nation especially in combating the non-traditional threat in both nations border i.e. in land, air border and water especially security Straits of Malacca. The members of this working team comprises of intelligence personnel from army, navy, air force, Royal Malaysian Police and Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency. Malaysia – Laos Military Intelligence Bilateral also have been conducted annually by both nation for the past 10 years and had been remarkable as a fruitless intelligence cooperation that discussing the non-traditional threat that been occurs surrounding this region. Like other military intelligence cooperation that been establish by DISD in the ASEAN region, it also ties up with Malaysia – Philippines Military Intelligence Bilateral which is the most often held which conducted annually by both intelligence agency. Main issues had been discussing in this intelligence conferences pertaining the non-traditional threat surrounding this region. Malaysia – Singapore Military Intelligence Bilateral is always been regard the most important one especially in exchanging and sharing intelligence on the security and threat along Straits of Malacca. Both military intelligence agencies had conducted seven times intelligence bilateral exchange to date. Exchanging and sharing intelligence among both parties had been fruitless since both nations a taken responsibility action and agreed in safeguarding Straits of Malacca and combating non-traditional security threat in this region. Malaysia – Thailand Military Intelligence Bilateral Seminar had been 29 times conducted between both states that consistently discuss about non-traditional threat and exchange intelligence and sharing information among both parties. Thailand had show interested to take part in managing the security enforcement along the Straits of Malacca with littoral states. Intelligence Working Group was established by both party to manage the intelligence exchange and intelligence sharing in combating the non-traditional threat in both nations border i.e. in land, air border and security along Straits of Malacca. Malaysia – Vietnam Military Intelligence Bilateral had also been conducted several times particularly in promoting understanding and trusts by both organization and continues exchanging and sharing intelligence among both parties in combating non-traditional security threat in this region. Malaysia – Myanmar Military Intelligence Bilateral had conducted several times between each other in conjunction to sharing and exchanging intelligence particularly in combating non-traditional security threat in this region beside the main purpose to build trusts and confidence building measure by both nations. Series of bilateral meeting that had been conducted between military intelligence particularly DISD Malaysia with neighboring counterpart has been recognize by ASEAN member in successfully promoting security in this region. Although the meetings are informal, and topics for discussion range from sharing of information and experience relating to non-traditional threat, but it seem acceptable by various military intelligence organization in ASEAN region in build up trust among each other and put aside the differences if any in order to strengthen the security in this region.
Intelligence sharing is the one of known form of bilateral security cooperation among the ASEAN states and it provides a precedent for multilateral meetings of ASEAN defence officials as well as the gradual extension of bilateral security ties into trilateral and multilateral arrangements. Apart from bilateral cooperation that had been mention above, military intelligence in ASEAN members also had taken evolution to conducting a multilateral meeting in order to express, exchange and sharing intelligence in a broader scope. ASEAN Military Intelligence Informal Meeting (AMIIM) is a forum for the senior military intelligence chiefs from the ASEAN members to network, build relationship and strengthen trust as a basis for furthering security cooperation in the intelligence arena. AMIIM objectives is to provide a networking opportunity for military intelligence chiefs and to provide a forum for discussing common intelligence challenges and opportunities in dealing with transnational security issues such as non-traditional threat in this region. AMIIM had started in 2001 and till this year there already eight AMIIM had been conducted and been hosted by seven states. Among ASEAN states that had been hosted these meetings including Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. ASEAN-Pacific Intelligence Chiefs Conference (APICC)is also a forum for the senior military intelligence chiefs from across the Asia-Pacific to network, build relationship and strengthen trust as a basis for furthering security cooperation in the intelligence arena. Multinational security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region is critical to addressing transnational security challenges such as transnational terrorism, maritime threats and natural disasters. Intent of this intelligence initiative is to open another important avenue for implementing such cooperation. The first APICC was held in Kuala Lumpur from 4 Sep to 7 Sep 2007 co-hosted by Defence Intelligence Staff Division, Malaysia and Director for Intelligence United States Pacific Command (USPACOM). 2nd APICC co-hosted by Director for Intelligence USPACOM and Military Intelligence Organization, Singapore from 17 Feb to 20 Feb 2009 and the 3rd APICC was held at Grand Hyatt Seoul co-hosted by Director for Intelligence USPACOM and Defense Intelligence Agency, Republic of Korea in 8 Jun to 11 Jun 2010. Objectives of this conference is; to provide a networking opportunity for military intelligence chiefs in Asia-Pacific region; to provide a professional development opportunity through guest speaker presentation; and to provide a forum for discussing common intelligence challenges and opportunities in dealing with transnational security issues. For the 3rd APICC there about 24 nation states had been take part in this conference which involves 9 ASEAN states exclude Myanmar because of the US involvement in this occasion. The involvement of the Asia-Pacific and ASEAN states in this forum as follow:
AMIIM and APICC truly prove the outstanding multilateral cooperation among ASEAN members with the rest of the world in strengthen their cooperation in combating non-traditional security threat and build up trust among each other especially pertaining the security aspect in this region.
Cooperation between and among ASEAN militaries has been robust and active, and continues to expand to foster regional peace and security. The principal mode of security cooperation within ASEAN has been in the form of bilateral security cooperation. Bilateral interactions are pursued under the ambit of existing legal frameworks of engagement, such as the Memorandum of Agreement/Understanding (MOU/MoA) on Defense Cooperation between two ASEAN countries. This covers collaborative activities, such as intelligence exchanges, reciprocal visits of defense and military officials, exchanges of military education and training, technology and expertise. Meanwhile, the only trilateral security arrangement among ASEAN militaries is the coordinated maritime and aerial patrols among Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore to combat piracy in the Straits of Malacca. On the other hand, multilateral security cooperation are usually held in the form of regular annual meetings, conferences and dialogues among chiefs of defense forces, major service commanders as well as military intelligence and operations chiefs, which are usually under the purview of the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting (ADMM) – the highest ministerial defense and security consultative mechanism in the ASEAN.A A Overall, these bilateral, trilateral and multilateral undertakings promote closer ties between and among ASEAN militaries, build trust and confidence, enhance mutual understanding on common security concerns; bolster capacity-building as well as military transparency; improve consultation and cooperation on regional defense and security matters; and, contribute to the realization of the ASEAN’s goal of establishing a politico-security community by 2015. Moreover, these activities have helped strengthen and uphold the values of the existing regional cooperation agreements, mechanisms and tools designed to ensure peace and security and peacefully solve disputes, especially the ASEAN Treaty for Amity and Cooperation (TAC), the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ), the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DoC), and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).
The security threats in the Straits of Malacca include non-traditional threats such as smuggling of arms to separatist movements, threats to environment and fisheries, threats to fishermen by pirates, threats by pirates to foreign and local shipping and threats posed by trafficking in weapons of mass destruction. Naturally the littoral states and foreign powers using the Straits of Malacca have different perceptions and priorities regarding these non-traditional security threats, depending on their national interests. Moreover, they differ in their preferred response or approaches to mitigating these threats. This chapter will explore the different perspectives regarding security threats and responses thereto among the various Straits of Malacca stakeholders.
The littoral states have a different perception towards the threats in the Straits of Malacca. This is mainly due to the interest of the states. Indonesia and Malaysia consider the Straits of Malacca, apart from being the main waterway for trade, as also of importance for tourism and the fishing industries. Unlike Singapore, the Straits of Malacca is the lifeline of her prosperity. Malaysia considers threats to its national sovereignty as the highest priority, followed by threats to the environment and fisheries by oil spills and threats to its fishermen mainly by Indonesian pirates.Indonesia’s view is somewhat similar in that threats to its national sovereignty are dominant, followed by arms smuggling by Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM).]A Singapore, which has a very modest maritime space and which is heavily dependent on unimpeded commercial shipping traffic through the Straits of Malacca, views piracy and terrorism as major threats to its national security. Some of the arguments with regard to the threat perception by the littoral states as follow: a.Indonesia The Straits of Malacca is a vital sea-lane for Indonesia and it becomes her responsibility to protect her national interest in its jurisdiction area. There are three main problems in the Straits of Malacca which become the main concern to Indonesia which is safety of navigation, maritime security and pollution prevention of the sea. b.Singapore The Straits of Malacca are the lifelines of the Singapore economy. There are three main problems in the Straits of Malacca which become the main concern to Singapore which is terrorism, piracy and the threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). As a maritime nation and the world’s busiest trans-shipment port, maritime security is naturally a vital component of Singapore’s national security efforts. c.Malaysia The security threats to national sovereignty are given the highest priority from the Malaysian perspective. There are four main problems in the Straits of Malacca which become the main concern to Malaysia which is including illegal immigration, maritime pollution, illegal fishing and safety of navigation.
The Straits of Malacca today is a critical Sea Lines Of Communication (SLOC) in the world. The nature of this SLOC comfortably creates a safe haven for the opportunists who utilize the close proximity of the Straits of Malacca to the land and the natural chokepoints, to launch acts of sea robberies and high jacking of ships. Safety and security of navigation is indeed the biggest challenge to merchant ships which ply the Straits of Malacca. Many issues currently threaten the safety and security of navigation in the Straits of Malacca, the crucial one among them being the piratical activities of armed robbery at sea. The most threatening scenario would be the mining of the Straits of Malacca which would definitely force a closure of the Straits of Malacca resulting in the total collapse of the economies of the littoral states.
Piracy in the Straits of Malacca has been around for centuries and the trend is very much linked to the economic development of the areas where they operate. For instance, the targets for pirates in the 14th and 15th centuries were trading vessels. The drastic measures taken by the Ruler of Malacca brought a heavy impact on trade in the Malacca port. The measure taken then saw the employment of indigenous ‘Orang Laut’, or seafarers, who would then seek out the pirate’s hideout and drive them out and thus ensure the protection of trade. These piratical activities are still in existence till now, as trade still relies on maritime transportation plying through the Straits of Malacca, although the spice trade has now expanded into more strategic commodities such as crude oil, building material, food and many more. These commodities are the mainstay of not just the economies of coastal states but also of the global community.The narrow confines of the Straits of Malacca and relatively shallow depth at choke points require ships to navigate at slow speed. This mode of operation lends the ships to dangers of piracy and sea robberies.The threat posed by piratical activities has always been a major concern to Malaysia, as it will invariably impact on Malaysia’s national interest and also have negative impacts on trades insurance and freight rates thus reducing the competitiveness of imports and exports from this region. The United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982) under the Article 101, defines piracy as consisting of any of the following acts: ‘Any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft, and directed on the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft and/or against a ship, aircraft, person or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any State’. Piracy incidents and attempted attacks in the Straits of Malacca from year 2000 until 2004 has, through sensationalist international press coverage, created the impression that the littoral states have not done enough to protect the security environment and the safety of international users of the Straits of Malacca. And at the same time, there is concern over potential terror attacks on international shipping liners in the Straits of Malacca. In linking piracy with terrorist attacks, in the Straits of Malacca, security assessment gets skewed in favour of the concerns of the major powers. In the 2004 conference organized by MIMA, both the chiefs of the Malaysian and Indonesian navies voiced their concern regarding piracy and maritime terrorism in the Straits of Malacca of Malacca. They are in agreement that: “Since the 11 Sept tragedy, there has been a renewed/revitalized interest in the security of the Straits of Malacca. This can be attributed to the perception that terrorists might use the dense area to launch their operations, which may have serious implications to the economy of many countries especially the coastal states. Though armed robbery at sea does not pose a significant threat to the state system, there are views that piratical activities might become instruments of terrorists. Malaysia and the other coastal states acknowledge these concerns. We therefore also hope that the international community acknowledges and will understand that the real threats that we currently face need to be dealt with immediately and these coastal states will do its best to take necessary measures to mitigate potential threats from terrorism.” As reported by the IMB, the Straits of Malacca has over the last 5 years become a hotspot for pirate attacks. It has recorded 149 cases of piracy since the year 2000 until the first half of 2004. Statistics show that the highest cases were 75 incidents in 2000. There were 17 cases reported in 2001, 16 in 2002, 28 in 2003. In 2004, 13 cases were reported. After the Maritime Security Patrol and Eyes in the Sky had been activated by littoral states the reported piracy cases in the Straits of Malacca has been decreased tremendously. It also believe, because of the effectiveness of enforcement agency by littoral state in conducting join security patrol along the straits and manage to enhance intelligence sharing and intelligence exchange to safeguarding the security of the Straits of Malacca. Table 1: Piracy attacks in Straits of Malacca
PIRACY ATTACKS IN THE MALACCA STRAITS
Source: Defence Intelligence Staff Division
In what has been described as a disturbing new trend in pirate activity, the act of piracy does not only involve loss of material but also human lives. The act of violence towards oil tanker MV Cherry on the 5th January 2004 where 4 crew members were shot dead by pirates after failing to obtain ransom money of USD$50,000 from the ship owner was a clear indication the pirates would resort to killing if their demands were not met. The incident happened in the Straits of Malacca off Indonesia’s troubled Aceh province. The gunmen suspected of being rebels belonged to the Free Aceh Movement or known as Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM). In some cases, the piracy acts are believed to be carried out by highly trained pirates. They hijack the ships, rename it and the cargoes seized are later sold to interested parties. These ships are known as “phantom ships”. As an example, a Taiwanese-owned ship called MT Han Wei disappeared two days after leaving Singapore for Yangon on 15 Mar 2002, with 1,950 metric tons of oil. The crew of 11 Indonesians and two Taiwanese managed to land on the coast of Sumatra after being set adrift by the hijackers. The ship was later found on 14 May 2002, anchored off Thailand’s eastern port of Si Ra Cha, about 50 miles from Bangkok. The pirates had renamed the ship “Phaeton” which flew the Honduras flag.
The piracy attacks do not occur throughout the Straits of Malacca but there are some areas of concentration where these activities normally occur. From analysis, 2 areas of the Straits of Malacca have been identified as areas prone to pirate attacks. The northern part of the Straits of Malacca, which covers from Pulau Jarak and Pulau Perak is known as a hotspot for pirate attacks. While the southern part of the Straits of Malacca comprises of the area close to Pulau Pisang and at the approach to Tanjung Piai close to Singapore Straits, is another piracy prone area.
Based on the incidents reported it can be said that the pirates’ modus operandi generally corresponds to the area they operate which are as follows:
Merchant shipping companies have lost millions of dollars, not to mention the threat to the safety of lives through piracy. While accurate data is difficult to come by, it is estimated that USD 16 billion are lost to piracy.The tsunami incident on 26 December 2004, brought piratical activities in the Straits of Malacca to a standstill, or at least they ceased for a while. The pattern of the activities saw the use of gunfire before boarding to damage communications equipment taking senior officers as hostage.Ship owners believe that pirates are from the Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM) or Free Aceh Movement rebels, who are fighting for independence for Aceh province, although there has been no concrete evidence to support this claim. The pause in the activities after the tsunami strengthened these claims, as mostly all Aceh’s provinces were wiped out thus destroying their equipment and resources in the incident. It is reported that three types of groups typically perpetrate sea piracy in Southeast Asia. These are small criminals, well-organised criminal gangs and, it is said, armed separatists.Although piracy has been an ongoing activity in the region for a long time, what makes piracy dangerous now is that these gangs appear to be better equipped and organised than most naval authorities and have demonstrated an increased propensity to use violence. They make use of speedboats, modems, radars, satellite phones, VHF radios and modern weaponry to take control of merchant ships. Crime syndicates involved in piracy incidents take advantage of governments that lack the financial resources, political will and efficient law enforcement agencies to tackle their criminal activities.
Environmental issues have also become more salient in the region. Global pollution, desertification, deforestation and the greenhouse effect, with the attendant issue of rising sea levels, are real issues in the region. In the maritime sphere, there are many sources of pollution. The potential for large-scale oil spills in the Straits of Malacca is high, and such disasters would do irreparable damage to marine life and other offshore resources.The accumulation of marine pollution in the Straits of Malacca has the potential to bring about a major negative long-term impact on the marine environment. Combating pollution is a very costly affair; the Malaysian Government and the private sector, for example, spent around US$25 million in 1997 to purchase special equipment to combat pollution or oil spills excluding the cost of training, maintenance and manpower development. Environmental issues are likely to become an increasing source of international disputation in coming years with tensions likely to grow over attribution of responsibility for offshore pollution and damage to marine resources.
Safety and security of navigation seems to be the biggest challenge faced in the Straits of Malacca management. Adopting Walter Lippman’s definition of security as, ‘absence of threat’,the safety of navigation in the Straits of Malacca is currently threatened by sea robberies. Although safety of navigation is threatened mainly by navigational hazards and accidents, security threats to vessels could as well threaten safety of navigation. Despite being installed with modern navigational aids, the Straits of Malacca is still considered an accident-prone waterway. Other than direct loss of lives and properties, vessel accidents also threaten the Straits of Malacca eco-system, particularly with cargoes and oil spill over major fishing grounds and tourist beaches. The major causes of the accidents ranged from poor standard of shipboard equipment to poor navigation, reasons which are beyond the control of the littoral states.
A common concern of the states bordering the Straits of Malacca regarding shipping is oil discharged during routine passage of ships, and accidental oil spills from mishaps involving ships, particularly oil tankers.Malaysia and Indonesia are more concerned with this threat rather than Singapore because they depend on fisheries in the Straits of Malacca for protein and employment. Although tanker accidents are the most dramatic sources of oil pollution, routine discharge of bilges water, cleansing of ballast and oil tanks and leaks are also important sources of oil pollution. The increase in the number of ships passing through the Straits of Malacca has indeed increased the risk of threat to its environmental security. Although tackling ship based pollution is relatively easier than the land based pollution, it is more resource intensive. To catch a polluting ship deliberately carrying out either tank cleaning or ballasting operations in the act whilst underway through the Straits of Malacca requires much more enforcement resources at sea. Then there is the ever increasing risk of pollution by discharges of oil or other noxious substances caused by accidents as the Straits of Malacca get more congested.
The maritime security issues that occurred in the Straits of Malacca are mainly non-traditional threat including piracy, arm trafficking, drug trafficking, human trafficking and perceived maritime terrorism. Piracy is obviously a complex problem, and cooperation among multiple stakeholders is clearly the key to addressing this and other threats to maritime security. Beyond national and international security agencies, enforcement bodies, port authorities, and industry have important role to play. The orchestration of these actors, and of the governments which direct them, promises to be both complex and sensitive. Having examined the possible causes of piracy and the various measures taken by all the parties concerned, the problem of piracy can be resolved with cooperation among the stakeholders.
Over the years, ASEAN military intelligence cooperation has become an importantchannel that contributes to building the confidence, improving understanding and strengthening the cooperation between ASEAN militaries. The regional reality requires all ASEAN members to strengthen their cooperation andsupport each other to deal with the challenges effectively. The effective activities of sharing expertise and building confidence between ASEAN militaries is to recognize the right track of the basic of fundamental principles of ASEAN; respect the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of every country not to support the external interference in the internal affairs of ASEAN. Indeed, ASEAN are still facing countless unpredictable new arising issues and challenges in the future, more or less, may have impact on regional relations or destabilizing ASEAN. So ASEAN military intelligence must be ready to collaborate, understand and respect each other equally in dealing with any eventual problems. The military intelligence cooperation in this chapter refers to any cooperation between regional countries at sea or associated with the sea with the objective of improving regional security. The Straits of Malacca features several security threats such as piracy, drug smuggling and illegal immigration. These challenges will disrupt the maritime shipping in the straits. Although the littoral states have made efforts to address these problems with some encouraging results, the challenges and threats are to complex for the combat capabilities of the littoral states. The main question in here will be, is there really binding cooperation in term of military intelligence agency take place in order to strengthen the Straits of Malacca?A In order to response to the remark, in this chapter I will discuss the military intelligence initiative and cooperation involvement in driven the successful multilateral military operation in strengthening the security of the Straits of Malacca.
The military intelligence cooperation among the littoral states and the stakeholders are already in place to deal with the maritime threats. Military intelligence cooperation with the littorals states exist in the form of intelligence exchange and sharing information, coordinated patrol, bilateral and multilateral in term of forum and meetings. The government of Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore has been cooperating to improve navigational safety in the Straits of Malacca for more than 30 years in the form of the Tripartite Technical Experts Group (TTEG).The collaboration among the military intelligence agency for the past ten year already given the fruitful result in every aspect of successful of operations that been conduct especially in term of sharing and exchanging the information and intelligence.
AMIIM is a forum for the senior military intelligence chiefs from the ASEAN members to network, build relationship and strengthen trust as a basis for furthering security cooperation in the intelligence arena. AMIIM objectives is to provide a networking opportunity for military intelligence chiefs and to provide a forum for discussing common intelligence challenges and opportunities in dealing with transnational security issues such as non-traditional threat in this region. Since AMIIM had started in 2001 and till this year there already eight AMIIM had been conducted and been hosted by seven states. Among ASEAN states that had been hosted these meetings are:
The commitment that has been show by the senior Chief of Militaries Intelligence among the various ASEAN members in participated in the AMIIM in particular of preventing the Straits of Malacca from non-traditional security threat can be realize as a motion by all the military intelligence agency to cope with the same common interest of safeguarding the security in this region regardless of the individual states interest.
APICC is a forum for the senior military intelligence chiefs from across the Asia-Pacific to network, build relationship and strengthen trust as a basis for furthering security cooperation in the intelligence arena. Multinational security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region is critical to addressing transnational security challenges such as transnational terrorism, maritime threats and natural disasters. Intent of this intelligence initiative is to open another important avenue for implementing such cooperation. The first APICC was held in Kuala Lumpur from 4 Sep to 7 Sep 2007 co-hosted by Defence Intelligence Staff Division, Malaysia and Director for Intelligence United States Pacific Command (USPACOM). 2nd APICC co-hosted by Director for Intelligence USPACOM and Military Intelligence Organization, Singapore from 17 Feb to 20 Feb 2009 and the 3rd APICC was held at Grand Hyatt Seoul co-hosted by Director for Intelligence USPACOM and Defense Intelligence Agency, Republic of Korea in 8 Jun to 11 Jun 2010. Objectives of this conference is; to provide a networking opportunity for military intelligence chiefs in Asia-Pacific region; to provide a professional development opportunity through guest speaker presentation; and to provide a forum for discussing common intelligence challenges and opportunities in dealing with transnational security issues. For the 3rd APICC there about 24 nation states had been take part in this conference which involves 9 ASEAN states exclude Myanmar because of the US involvement in this occasion. The involvement of the Asia-Pacific and ASEAN states in this forum as follow:
Although we can clearly see that the involvements of major power such as United States and China toward security in this region is pertinent especially in clearing the SLOC from any threat that can cause the loss of their revenue in term of shipping industries. Involvement of the super power in the security of this region can be define as to create more safety in this region and to show how well to protect their interest to make sure the SLOC around this region are at the security best and hindered from other non-traditional security threat.
The first Conference on Military Intelligence Maritime Security was held in Kuala Lumpur on 7 Oct 2004. It was chaired by Director General Defence Intelligence of Malaysia and attended by the J2s of Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand. In this occasion Defence Intelligence Staff Division have presented a paper entitled “An Overview of the Maritime Issues in the Malacca Straits the Challenges and Constraints” at the conference. The paper highlighted the importance of the Straits of Malacca to international trade and an analysis of piracy/sea robberies in the straits.The different definitions used by IMB and naval community were also discussed. The measures taken by enforcement agencies and the challenges and constraints faced were highlighted. The fruitless meeting had come up with a consensus decisions that include four major aspect in order to strengthening the mutual support and building the trust among intelligence agency in come up with the best intelligence cooperation toward protecting the safety of Straits of Malacca. The decision that been made by the committee, clearly stated to:
This type of informal meeting have been carried out for several series of meeting in conjunction to provide all the information sharing and intelligence exchange between each counterpart in order to safeguard the Straits of Malacca and in the same time to promote the confidence building among each other to forget for a while the interest of the individual states in proclaiming the territorial disputes in this region.
Malacca Straits coordinated patrols (MSP) launched by the littoral states in July 2004 to curb piracy in the busy straits have been complemented by maritime air patrols launched in September 2005. The Terms of Reference (ToR) of MSP was formally signed by Defence Chiefs of the 3 nations on 21 April 2006 in Batam, Indonesia. The main objectives of MSP are to conduct coordinated sea patrols and combined air patrols in order to maintain sea security within the area of operations in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore Straits. The ToR provides for the establishment of a Joint Coordinating Committee (JCC) and working groups to plan coordinate and conduct the maritime patrols. The JCC will also discuss new initiatives proposed by either party. It also provides the direction to institute new initiatives when they are agreed by all participants. The MSP JCC organization as shown in figure 1, clearly divided the important role and responsibilities of military intelligence which to disseminate the intelligence and information exchange in order to support the military operations/security cooperation which included the compilation, evaluate and analysing the data. The MSP JCC is co-chaired by the Assistant to the TNI Chief of General Staff for Operations, Assistant Chief of Staff for Defence Operations and Training MAF and Head Naval Operations, RSN. The role of MSSP JWG is to attain the objectives as set out by the MSP JCC. The MSSP JWG is to develop the instructions on coordination and communication procedures among the Task Group units in conducting the coordinated sea patrols. It is responsible for the review of procedures for better effectiveness and the submission of progress reports to MSP JCC. Mean while the role of EiS JWG is similar to MSSP JWG, in the sense that will attain the objectives set out by the MSP JCC. Develop instructions on the coordination and communications procedures among participating units. Review procedures for better effectiveness and submission of progress reports.A It will augment maritime sea patrols by attaining domain awareness over Straits of Malacca and Singapore Straits. The IEG is responsible to advise the MSP JCC and to provide intelligence support for the conduct of MSSP and EiS. To fulfil this role, the IEG will taken an effort to develop the procedures and compile it, analyses and report intelligence data to the MSP JCC, identify areas of intelligence support for the MSSP and EiS and conduct intelligence and information exchange intelligence support for the conduct of MSSP and EiS. The parties recognize all forms of other bilateral arrangements, which are already in existence. This arrangement permits parties to discuss issues of maritime security, which are relevant to the security of other parties. The intelligence exchanges shall be within the context of areas in maritime security. The parties agree that the areas of cooperation may take into account managing of multiple and complex issues. In this ToR, multiple and complex issues connote maritime issues that initially involve one or two parties but many subsequently affect other parties, which necessitate the involvement of other parties concerned. This arrangement is to allow strengthening national and regional capacities to manage maritime security issues, establishing mechanisms for immediate response and exchange programmes that would promote better understanding among parties. The means of communication shall be at the convenience of the parties. The parties are encouraged to use their best endeavours to relay intelligence by any convenient and expeditious means of communication available, about any activity to the relevant party to enable appropriate action to be taken by that party.
The launch of the Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia (MALSINDO) coordinated patrol on 21 July 2004 at Batam Island, Indonesia involved naval units from the three nations reflecting the continuous concern for maritime security in the region. The year round patrol started with 17 ships from the three littoral states aimed at enhancing the present system of patrolling the region. The three littoral states are demonstrating to the world their determination to live up to their responsibility: to fight piracy and, more seriously, the threat of maritime terrorism whether real or perceived so as to provide safe passage for all seafarers using the waters. This cooperation demonstrates that the Straits of Malacca is a safe place for foreign ships that passing through this lane as SLOC. In this trilateral cooperation, the littoral states conducting joint patrols where resources are pooled for the common tasks. The “Eye in the Sky” (EiS) is a programme to enhance security and safety in the Straits of Malacca. The EiS concept is to mobilise existing military assets of the three littoral states maritime patrol aircraft to complement the coordinated patrol arrangement under the MALSINDO. EiS has issued a clear signal to the international community that the littoral states are serious in ensuring safety and security in the Straits of Malacca. Being a strategic channel vital to international trade, the security of the Straits of Malacca is of paramount importance to the littoral states, user’s states and other stakeholders. As such, the three littoral states (Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia) and Thailand have agreed to boost cooperation by conducting combined maritime patrols over the Straits of Malacca, while respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the littoral states. This programme is to be extended to other countries wishing to provide assistance by offering some of their assets, but it is up to the littoral states to operate the assets and monitor the security of the straits.
Source: DISD Table 2, shown the sorties of air maritime assets that been carry out by the three nation in collection of information and surveillance which demonstrate the commitment by the three government in pursuing their goal to protect the Straits of Malacca from any non-traditional security threat occurred. The security in the Straits of Malacca has improved dramatically following the implementation of the ‘Malacca Straits Patrols’ and ‘Eye in the Sky’. However, the effectiveness of these patrols can be further improved by closer cooperation and sharing of information. By doing so, ASEAN may be successful in achieving the target of ‘0 defect’ sea robberies and instil greater confidence in the international maritime community toward the security of Straits of Malacca.
Despite the existence of major multilateral form and apparent mechanism for maritime cooperation, there are some major constraints to existing mechanisms and arrangements. Firstly, the regional countries view independence and sovereignty very strongly and they are generally reluctant to agree to participate in cooperative activities in larger scale if they appear to be compromising national sovereignty. This is especially felt in the maritime arena where the Law of the Sea has allowed for extended jurisdiction over both territorial waters and the Exclusive Economic Zone, and which has resulted in numerous overlapping or conflicting claims to offshore areas, islands and reefs. Secondly, there are capacity gaps in term of air maritime and surveillance assets between the different countries that make up the region. The gaps generally correspond with the economic gaps between countries in the region. The gaps have driven a wedge in bilateral as well as multilateral cooperation and countries which are at the lower end of the capability gap do not want to be seen to be dependent on the more capable partners in process. Thirdly, political suspicions are still festering in the region and a political framework that could facilitate cooperative maritime security is still lacking. ASEAN have limitation due to a lack of enforcement power and lingering differences and security concerns that exist between pairs of regional countries.
Many obstacles lie in the path of implementing the military intelligence cooperation in order to safeguarding the Straits of Malacca. First is the lack of trust between stakeholders. Maritime boundaries and territorial dispute also stand in the way of increased maritime cooperation. Another obstacle to cooperation is that jurisdiction over piracy is uncertain in disputed maritime areas in some parts of the southern Straits of Malacca and Singapore Straits. Another concern is whether the littoral states have the resources, such as sufficient navy vessels, to contribute to these joint patrols. Malaysia is forming a coast guard and beefing up its navy while Singapore has a fleet of corvettes and other high-speed vessels but Indonesia’s capability is not clear. Other challenges that will military personnel facing when to be aboard vessels for another country, as this need facilitate clearance to conduct ‘hot pursuit’ into the territorial waters of another country as well as ‘soften’ the issue of sovereignty. However, the greatest challenge will be the political will of the three littoral states. If any of the national governments of the three littoral states were unable to sustain the momentum of putting maritime security and cooperation high on their respective political agenda, then the joint patrol would be not effective. Thus it would be everyone’s interest to encourage and support the littoral states to pursue their regional maritime security cooperation with all dispatch.
Based on the existing cooperation there is areas of cooperation need to be enhanced as follows: International laws, especially law of the sea, have provided the basic principles in managing the Straits of Malacca, namely that the sovereignty and sovereign rights of coastal states prevails over the Straits of Malacca and thus responsibility of security and safety rest with the coastal states. The existing institutional framework of managing the Straits of Malacca is actually agreed upon by coastal states, namely Tripartite Ministerial Meeting, Straits of Malacca and Technical Expert Group. Due to the current international environment and recent development in the Straits of Malacca, the Tripartite Ministerial Meeting needs to reconvene its meetings to address a number of issues that are not technical in nature. Due to the nature of relation between coastal states and stakeholders, any discussions on the Straits of Malacca should be inclusive and not exclusive. Individual country may provide individual assistance on certain matters within the purview of the sovereignty and interests of each individual country. However, any discussions on wider scale should take into account the fact of large number of users states. Cooperation to strengthen ways to manage maritime security issues could include intelligence gathering and sharing among littoral states should be encouraged, capacity building cooperation community such as training and support of equipments.
The Straits of Malacca is of great significance to many stakeholders beyond the littoral states of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. This includes trading and ship owning countries, intra governmental organisation such as the International Maritime Organisation as well as the shipping industry. Given their interest in the strait, these stakeholders have, in varying degrees, contributed to cooperative efforts to ensure the safety and freedom of navigation in the strait. These efforts demonstrate the necessity, as well as the collective responsibility of stakeholders, to contribute in maintaining the strait. The littoral states are not the only stakeholders in the strait. It is recognized that others with strong economic and strategic interests also have a legitimate role in ensuring the strait remain safe and secure for international navigation. The surge in the use of the sea a mode of transport means that the security and the safeguarding of the sea-lanes have become more crucial than ever. There is a need to move towards a more cooperative regime between both the littoral states as well as other stakeholders to enhance the security of the sea lanes as the threat are transnational in nature.
The Straits of Malacca is important both to ASEAN and most importantly to littoral states as well as the international users. The littoral states and stakeholders are dependent on the Straits of Malacca for trade and shipping industries. Most of their trade, import and export are carried out through the major ports located along the Straits of Malacca such as Port Tanjung Pelepas, Port Klang, Port of Singapore etc. To the other stakeholder or international users, the Straits of Malacca is one of the most strategic waterways in the world that have to be safeguarding from any non-traditional security threat that can jeopardized the economic growth and the interest of the any individual states. The Straits of Malacca is the shortest route connecting Indian Ocean to the South China Sea and serves as the primary sea lines of communications for the ships from Europe and the Middle East to Northeast Asia and the Asia Pacific region. Every year more than 60,000 ships passed through the Straits of Malacca carrying various cargoes ranging from crude oil to finished products from all over the world. The closure of the Straits of Malacca will require stakeholder energy carriers to sail through alternative routes like the Lombok and Makasar Strait. This will incur the stakeholder as trading nations additional transportation costs that eventually affect their global trading competitiveness. Many security risks in Southeast Asia are a result of the activities of criminals, terrorists and separatist movements operating in the region. Criminal activities at sea in Southeast Asia include illegal fishing, smuggling of goods and people, fraud and piracy. Illegal fishing has resulted in conflict between local and foreign fishers and the loss of revenue for affected local fishermen and their home countries. Smuggling activities on small, medium-sized and large vessels is also a security concern in Southeast Asia, particularly since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Security threats in the Straits of Malacca today encompass non-traditional threat such as smuggling of arms, marine environmental pollution and piracy/sea robbery. Among the ASEAN, littoral states and the other stakeholders there have been different perceptions and priorities with regard to these security threats. This is mainly due to the differing individual national interest. Singapore comparatively takes the threat of maritime terrorism more seriously than either Malaysia or Indonesia, as this threat will have serious impact on her economy well being. Piracy or sea robbery is the main concern of Malaysia and Indonesia toward safeguarding the Straits of Malacca. Malaysia basically has taken serious steps to curb all forms of security threats in the Straits of Malacca such as by forming up Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency to taken the security measure to safeguarding the Straits of Malacca. Security in the Straits of Malacca can only be ensured through cooperation among all the ASEAN states and international stakeholders to make sure this SLOC in this region is free from any form of security threat. The non-traditional security challenges that ASEAN region face reflects the changing current nature of threats and crisis’s. They are complicated, transnational and cannot be addressed by one government alone. Realizing of the important of security in the Straits of Malacca that cannot been handled by any other states individually, ASEAN military intelligence organization had taken the first initiative in embarking in the joint effort to take the step further to strengthen the cooperation among state in materialized the security cooperation per se. Besides unilateral measures, there have been numerous cooperative efforts undertaken by the military intelligence across this region at bilateral and multilateral levels. The successful security cooperation among the military in term of establishment of coordinated patrol in the Straits of Malacca had proven the truly cooperation among the various states military that have been driven by military intelligence organization from ASEAN countries. The drop in sea robberies incidents speaks volumes of the effectiveness of the security measures introduced by the littoral states in reducing the risk in the Straits of Malacca. However, the littoral states will continue to face a wide range of challenges in managing the Straits of Malacca in the years ahead. The efforts to safeguard the safety and security of the Straits of Malacca have incurred huge amount of financial resources of the littoral states. With the increasing number of vessels using the Straits of Malacca more and more investments are needed. The coordinated Malacca Straits Patrol that started in June 2004 so far had totally or partly prevents the non-traditional security threat from occurring in the Straits of Malacca. On the other hand, the sustainable safety and security of the Straits of Malacca requires international cooperation especially among the ASEAN states and the international users without compromising national sovereignty. In this paper also, I am pleased to note that military intelligence efforts to forge common understanding and working together towards practical cooperation especially the AMIIM and other bilateral cooperation. ASEAN militaries intelligence organizations have jointly done many activities which had served to strengthen and promote mutual understanding and cooperation among the ASEAN militaries. ASEAN military intelligence has started to share their expertise to enhance their capacities in addressing challenges in the past and still in the present day. ASEAN member states are, from time to time, in readiness to handle jointly more new challenges in the years ahead. The cooperation among military intelligence and security force in ASEAN region has been on good pattern of interaction by sharing experiences and expertise on the road to the common objective toward the ASEAN integration by the year 2015. The cooperation that been initiated by military intelligence organization has achieved enormous accomplishment in contribution to keeping peace, stability and development in the region especially in safeguarding the Straits of Malacca from any non-traditional security threat. The ASEAN Military Intelligence Informal Meeting (AMIIM) will continue to serve their important purpose of bringing them together to share and address common security issues and the increasing effective contribution among the ASEAN military intelligence organization will continue in the future in order maintain security and stability in the regional. Cooperation between and among ASEAN militaries has been robust and active and continues to expand to foster regional peace and security. The principal mode of security cooperation within ASEAN has been in the form of bilateral and multilateral security cooperation. Bilateral and multilateral interactions are pursued under the ambit of existing legal frameworks of engagement, such as the memorandum of agreement/understanding (MOU/MOA) on defence cooperationbetween the ASEAN countries which covers collaborative activities such as intelligence exchanges, reciprocal visits of defense and military officials, exchanges of military education and training, technology and expertise.
The problems of the maritime security in the Straits of Malacca need to be approach holistically by the international stakeholder, ASEAN together with the littoral states so that it will not infringe the sovereignty of the littoral states. They need to understand the root causes of the problems rather than focusing on its systems. The present security cooperation among the littoral states for example needs more holistic approach even though they have different priorities and expectations and also have different threats perception. High level of trusts needs to be established between the littoral states and other stakeholders in order to make the security cooperation a successful one. The ASEAN members, littoral states and other stakeholders need to maintain the existing framework and partnership toward safeguarding the security of the Straits of Malacca. By doing so, it is easy to manage the cooperation among the stakeholders in making this SLOC in this region is ‘0 defect’ from any form of non-traditional threat in the future. The ASEAN states and other stakeholders have to remain engaged and cooperate among themselves to resolve the security problem in the Straits of Malacca. Exchanging security information among regional defence forces is a potential element to the support of security stability. Countries in the region may have faced different difficulties and experiences on coping with non-traditional security challenges. Hence multilateral discussion can be the key to the solution of social problems and other common security challenges as well expanding intelligence-sharing through multilateral intelligence conferences and operational in telexes to facilitate the flow of information. Having mentioned the benefits and constraints of ASEAN military intelligence and security cooperation, the need to further strengthen and expand their practical collaboration is deemed crucial to overcome threats and challenges, particularly those that are transnational in nature as these demand a concerted and collective response. Nothing is more important to national security and the making and conduct of good policy than timely, accurate and relevant intelligence. Effective information and intelligence exchange among regional militaries is an essential contribution to efforts to combat terrorism and transnational crimes. Recognizing that common threat assessments are the best basis for common actions, improved sharing of intelligence among member-states and with extra-regional partners are deemed expedient. Hence, they could expand intelligence-sharing through the conduct of a multilateral analysts-to-analysts intelligence exchange conferences (MULTILEX)dealing with specific issues on maritime security etc. The objective of this activity is to achieve a common understanding of the threats that they are currently confronting. This MULTILEX is envisioned as an annual activity to be hosted alternately by the different ASEAN militaries.
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