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Extra security measures in place
Published on: Sunday, August 13, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: Various initiatives have been introduced to strengthen security in Sabah following the intrusion of Filipino militants in Lahad Datu in 2013 that left about a dozen Malaysian security personnel dead.

The latest, according to Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein Onn was to station over 7,000 army personnel to assist in conducting various operations such as Op Daratan, Op Balasah, Op Khas and Op Pasir.

He said the military has also added one Infantry Company in Cenderawasih, Lahad Datu, to ensure the coastal areas in Lahad Datu are fully guarded.

"We have also added various security assets like two navy vessels to increase sea patrols to tighten security control and surveillance in Sabah waters.

"We also put up Quick Reaction Force (QRF) with existing troops on the islands and enhancing patrols by fighting boats in areas identified as the main entry points from Southern Philippines," he said.

Hishammuddin, who is also Special Tasks Minister, said this after officiating the inaugural Battle Honour Daulat February 2013 including presentation of the Battle Honour awards and National Sovereignty Medals at Padang Merdeka on Friday night.

He said the military also set up the Navy Eastern Fleet commanding base which is critical to ensure sovereignty in the Sabah and Sarawak waters are fully protected from outside threats.

"Recently, we have launched the Trilateral Maritime Patrol (TMP) initiative to ensure militants including Daesh members will not establish rat trails in the Sulu See to intrude into Malaysia and also to tackle pirate activities, kidnapping and armed robbery in the waters.

"We will also launch a Trilateral Air Patrol (TAP) very soon. At the same time, we have put up Hawk fighting jets and four Euro copters EC-725 AP which are fully operational in Labuan Air Base."

He said it was necessary to place the aircrafts and jets in Labuan as an important measure to safeguarding the nation considering its strategic location and to monitor East Coast of Sabah and South China Sea," he said.

Hishammuddin said the army has placed 13th Brigade Esscom main base at Kolej Integrasi Ilmu in Felda Sahabat which is currently being upgraded as the headquarters of a brigade and a camp will be put up in Desa Kencana Felda Sahabat to occupy an infantry battalion, logistic units, armour unit and air force team under army and family houses for the military.

"Furthermore, the ministry will upgrade two security control posts at the border of Sabah namely at Saliliran Post and Serudong Post which will be combined with the Indonesian army.

"Three additional control posts would be built at Kg Tibau, Kg Timbulan and Kg Luis and this plan would balance the establishment of the posts and army placement and Indonesia national army for now.

"Security control posts at the borders of Sabah is the most important element as its establishment would enable cross-border activities could be controlled and monitored effectively," he said.

He said the army will also be getting six Light Attack Helicopters and a procurement contract for these was signed in November last year and two of them would be received this month while another four in November next year.

All will be put up at a detachment 881 Squadron under air force team of the army in Sandakan camp.

Hishammuddin said the previous and existing initiative including increasing the number military personnel and placing additional security assets so as to render quick response on any threats that are capable to jeopardise the peace and safety of the nation and Sabah.

"All these initiatives which we have implemented are part of the planning of the ministry and military force to make security in Sabah stricter.

"These efforts and initiatives would not stop here as the security agenda of protecting and preserving the peace and wellbeing of Sabah has long been our main and first priority.

"Hence, we would continue to come up with methods and best strategies from time to time to ensure the safety of the nation, generally and especially for Sabah would always be preserved and defended," he said. - Hayati Dzulkifli

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