The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) works to keep Americans safe at home by countering international crime, illegal drugs, and instability abroad. INL helps countries deliver justice and fairness by strengthening their police, courts, and corrections systems. These efforts reduce the amount of crime and illegal drugs reaching U.S. shores.
Challenges: Situated at the confluence of the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, Malaysia’s geography has spawned both a culturally vibrant nation and one at the center of global trade and commerce. It has also exposed the country to myriad transnational crimes. Malaysia’s geographic dispersion, with nearly 5000 kilometers of coastline, porous borders and some of the busiest ports in the world, provides ample opportunities for crime, including corruption, cybercrime, and human and wildlife trafficking. Malaysia’s success as a democratic nation, including its recognition of the need to respect human rights and the rule of law, is critical for U.S. objectives in fostering democracy, curbing corruption, maintaining regional stability, countering global terrorism, and preventing cybercrime.
Goals: As part of the Southeast Asia Maritime Law Enforcement Initiative, INL funds a Maritime Law Enforcement Advisor who supports development of the Malaysia Coast Guard’s (MMEA) capabilities in search and rescue, counter-piracy, trafficking, and other transnational security issues. The advisor also manages projects to promote regional coordination and practical cooperation in maritime law enforcement. INL has facilitated a Malaysia-based Department of Justice cybercrime advisor, who works with regional counterparts to provide coherence and sustainability to INL’s engagement throughout the region on cybercrime. The advisor is part of a global network supported by INL in partnership with the Department of Justice’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance, and Training (OPDAT).
Accomplishments: In response to maritime enforcement challenges in Southeast Asia, INL programming in Malaysia is focused on capacity building for MMEA and regional coordination with other coast guards in the region. In addition to the installation of, and training on, the U.S. Coast Guard’s Search and Rescue Optimal Planning System (SAROPS) at all regional rescue centers across the country, INL provides training for engineering, seamanship, investigation, analysis, and maritime domain awareness to MMEA. Regionally, INL supports U.N Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) efforts to standardize communication and processes among South East Asian maritime law enforcement agencies. INL partners with the U.S. Coast Guard for regional maritime law enforcement workshops on boarding, crisis response, outboard motor maintenance, and multinational cooperation.
Since deploying in October 2015, the INL-funded Department of Justice cybercrime advisor has trained over 3,000 judges, prosecutors and investigators.