Asia Defense

Malaysia’s Coast Guard Gets New Chief

Zulkifili bin Abu Bakar has been sworn in as the head of the agency.

Malaysia’s Coast Guard Gets New Chief
Credit: Flickr/Naval Surface Warriors

Malaysia’s Coast Guard has appointed a new chief as the agency undergoes modernization to help the country better confront a range of maritime challenges.

Malaysia’s equivalent of a coast guard, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), was founded back in November 2005, and, as I have noted before, the country was one of the first among the Southeast Asian states to have such an agency (See: “Assessing Malaysia’s Coast Guard in ASEAN Perspective”).

Since then, though the MMEA had a modest start and continues to face resource constraints, it has begun to help Malaysia confront a wide variety of challenges such as smuggling, piracy, illegal fishing, and militancy and has also received a number of capability boosts (See: “Why Japan’s Malaysia Coast Guard Boost Matters”). The MMEA has since been renamed the Malaysia Coast Guard as it undergoes these changes as part of the country’s broader military modernization.

On June 5, Zulfikili bin Abu Bakar was sworn in as the agency’s new director-general. Zulkifili, 57, was sworn in officially by Shahidan bin Kassim, the minister in the prime minister’s office.

Zulkifili replaces Ahmad Puzi bin Abdul Kahar, who retired on May 27 after serving the agency since September 2015.

Zulkifili had been a part of the MMEA since November 2005 and had held a variety of positions within the agency, including deputy director-general for logistics, the branch director for criminal investigation, and the maritime enforcement chief for the north and south region.

“He was appointed based on his qualification, experience, and knowledge especially in maritime law and enforcement,” chief secretary to the government Ali Hamsa said in a statement.

“I believe his qualification, experience, skills, and leadership will enable him to lead MMEA and continue the excellence in protecting the security and prosperity of our waters effectively and efficiently,” he added.