KUCHING: The state government is using Western Australia and Northern Territory, Australia as a model for the establishment of the Sarawak Coastal Guard.

“In Australia, although the defence navy is under the federal government there, the coastal guard has its own operations,” explained Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg in an interview yesterday.

When asked if there were plans to expand the Sarawak Coastal Guard into a full-fledged security force, he remarked that it depended on the state’s revenue.

He reiterated that RM90 million had been allocated for the establishment of the coastal guard.

“That includes the procurement of boats to help our coastal fishermen,” Abang Johari said.

At the same time, he pointed out, the state would be upgrading the Sarawak Fisheries Ordinance, 2003, as “licensing should be local”.

“Then, we can improve and expand the services in our coastal guard,” he said.

Earlier, Abang Johari said the Sarawak Coastal Guard could complement the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (APMM) and Marine Police in Sarawak coastline protection duties.