Record of Australian Extraterritorial Migration Control.
Scott Morrison: This morning I’ve returned from Malaysia where yesterday I met with Dr Zahid, the Malaysian Minister for Home Affairs, to discuss a range of issues principally on our cooperation on people smuggling matters….
Malaysia is a critical geographic link in the people smugglers’ chain to Australia. Previous estimates suggest that as much as 60 per cent of the traffic to Australia by boat passes through Malaysia and that entry to Malaysia is either by air, by land across the Thai-Malay border, or by sea, whether to Langkawi or other islands.
While there have been some ventures directly from Malaysia to Australia by sea, the predominant activity through Malaysia is transit activity to Indonesia, through the Malacca Strait….
Disrupting arrivals at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, or across the Thai-Malay border, or preventing the passage to Sumatra across the Malacca Strait is as critical and I would suggest, even more critical, than anything we do once that boat leaves Indonesia.
The Coalition has always understood this. That is why I was pleased to reboot our cooperation with Malaysia where I found nothing other than enthusiastic support from Minister Zahid to work with Australia and in particular with the new Abbott Government….
also able to restart and upgrade two important initiatives that have laid dormant for the past 12 months. The first was Australia’s undertaking to respond to Malaysia’s proposal for a MOU on transnational crime, which I will now take forward and progress with my colleagues, in particularly the Attorney-General and secondly to upgrade the joint working group on people smuggling between Australia and Malaysia that last met in Malaysia in December of 2012 to become a joint working group on transnational crime to provide a vehicle for the actions, the joint operations, the capability development and information sharing that addresses not only people smuggling, which is an early priority both of action under the MOU and the joint working group, but also on issues of drugs, guns, people trafficking and other cross border related issues where our border enforcement authorities have a critical role to play.
At the meeting I invited Dr Zahid to Sydney for our next meeting with the intention that the first meeting of the joint working group would be early next year at the latest.
However, actual joint operational activity between Australia and Malaysia on preventing and disrupting people smuggling will not have to wait until then, that will commence immediately.
There was a strong commitment to move on a series of joint operations agreed yesterday involving Immigration, Customs and Border Protection and supported by Australia on air, land and sea borders in the months ahead.
Included in this was Dr Zahid’s welcome offer for Australian Immigration officials to work directly with the Ministry of Home Affairs to assist, plan, and prepare these operations. Now, this is a practical demonstration that real cooperation has already gone beyond discussion to actual operations.
In addition, Dr Zahid undertook to take up our request to extend the constrained visa arrangements now in place for Iranians coming into Malaysia to Iraqis and Syrians and we will continue our dialogue on further reforms and exclusion to visa on other arrival arrangements.
There was also strong support to take the biometric data exchange pilot, which is in an infant stage, to a whole new level, and we look forward to working through that process in the months ahead leading up to the first meeting of the joint working group…
Also what we’re talking about are operations at Kuala Lumpur International Airport as well and that involves stronger screening of those who are coming in from various aircraft and things of that nature.
Australian Government – Australian Customs and Border Protection Service