According to rising of kidnapping cases in the troubled waterways where tugboats were increasingly being targeted by Abu Sayyaf related gunmen from southern Philippines. Malaysia Defence Minister was proposing greater military cooperation with Indonesia, the Philippines and Brunei to ensure safety and security in the Sulu Sea. Currently, Malaysia is using four of Brunei's Black Hawk helicopters to beef up its defence forces.
Due to Bernam news report, Defence Minister of Malaysia put forward the proposal to Singapore Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen during their bilateral meeting on Monday.
"We have cooperated with Singapore and Thailand to monitor the security aspects in the Straits of Melaka before, so I believe this approach can be implemented based on the experiences they have.
"If we succeed in carrying out the proposed patrols with the Philippines, Indonesia and Brunei with Singapore and Thailand as observers, I feel this will be a major contribution from the Defence Ministry and Malaysian Armed Forces towards security in the Sulu Sea," he said.
Recently, at least 18 soldiers were killed and more than 50 others wounded on Saturday in fierce fighting with the armed group Abu Sayyaf and allied fighters on a southern island in the Philippines.
Based on a history of kidnappings and attempted kidnappings of people in the Eastern Sabah province of Malaysia and in the southern Sulu Sea area by terrorist or insurgent groups based in the Sulu Archipelago.
Abu Sayyaf was founded in 1991 in Basilan, about 880km south of the capital, Manila. Abu Sayyaf is a militant group based in and around Jolo and Basilan islands in the southwestern part of the Philippines, where for more than four decades, Moro groups have been engaged in an insurgency for an independent province in the country.
As of 2012, the group was estimated to have between 200 and 400 members, down from 1250 in 2000. They use mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars, and automatic rifles.