Sarawak expresses concern over intrusion into Malaysian airspace

A Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft that Malaysian authorities said was in the airspace over Malaysia's maritime zone on May 31. Photo: Royal Malaysian Air Force

KUCHING: The Sarawak government has expressed concern over the intrusion of Chinese military aircrafts into Malaysian airspace last Monday.

The Chief Minister’s Office (CMO), in a statement today unequivocally supports the actions taken by the federal government regarding the issue.

These included summoning the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to give an explanation for the intrusion.

“It is pertinent that serious action be taken by the federal government to ensure such incidents do not recur in the future to protect and uphold the sovereignty, dignity and integrity of the country.  

“The state government of Sarawak expresses its concern over the recent intrusion of 16 aircrafts belonging to the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) of the People’s Republic of China into Malaysian airspace in the Malaysian Maritime Zone (MMZ),” it said.

It noted that the incident occurred just over the Luconia Shoals, located some 110km off the coast of Sarawak.

The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) on Monday detected the 16 Chinese military aircrafts encroaching into Malaysian airspace.

The aircrafts were detected flying through the Singapore Flight Information Region (FIR), before entering the MMZ airspace, Kota Kinabalu FIR, and then nearing about 60 nautical miles off the coast of Sarawak, which is feared to threaten national sovereignty.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it would issue a diplomatic note to protest against the intrusion and also summon the Ambassador of China to Malaysia to provide an explanation regarding the matter.

However, the Chinese Embassy in Malaysia said the reported activities were routine flight training of the Chinese air force and did not target any country.