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‘Shocking, regrettable incident happened during curfew’

20th June, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: The State security agencies, the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) in particular, must urgently review and revamp the existing security structure and measures to effectively curb recurrence of cross-border kidnappings, said Datuk Michael Lui Yen Sang, president of the Kota Kinabalu Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KKCCCI).

He said this in support of the chief minister cum State Security Council chairman, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal’s call urging the ESSCOM to step up security measures in eastern Sabah to ensure that the region is safe from such devastating crime.

This was in response to the latest incident of cross-border kidnapping where, 10 people were abducted from waters off Lahad Datu early Tuesday (June 18). According to Sabah police commissioner Datuk Omar Mammah the victims, aged between 17 and 60 were taken from two fishing vessels at about 2am. They were later confirmed to be sea gypsies who have been living in Sabah for decades.

“It doesn’t matter what’s the nationality of those abducted, what matters is that such incident occurred within our waters and, this shows that there our security measures are flawed and compromised. This would definitely affect our national security and the relevant authorities must seriously examine and enhance our existing security measures,” said Lui.

He said it was especially shocking and regrettable when the said incident happened during the curfew period imposed by ESSCOM.

“These fishermen’s defiant action has made the kidnapping possible and has adversely affected the fledgling tourism industry in the east coast of Sabah and the state economy as a whole,” he lamented.

He thus reminded the public not to ignore the recent warning issued by the Inspector General of Police, Datuk Seri Hamid Bador, that the threat of Abu Sayyaf in eastern Sabah is still high despite the establishment of ESSCOM. Hamid had warned that attacks by the group can happen any day and at anytime.

Lui said KKCCCI fully supports the IGP’s recent statement that ESSCOM will be restructured on the placement of security forces involving the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF), police as well as the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA).

Among others, the restructuring will involve the structure of security in the areas and the change of security posts which have been taken over by police and MAF would be updated, noted Hamid. – By Michael Teh

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