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Sea and road security checkpoints
Published on: Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman said the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) will establish Sea Checkpoint (SCP) and Road Checkpoint (RCP) in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone).

This is one of the measures taken to boost the overall security control as well as ensure the smoothness of socio-economic trade activities in the area.

"The focus of the SCP is to curb the entry of firearms and other cross-border crime elements which could affect the security of the State, especially in the Esszone," he said to a question by Sebatik Assemblyman Datuk Abd Muis Picho, at the State Legislative Assembly sitting, Monday.

"Esscom is now in the stage of classifying designated routes involving maritime agencies to be submitted to the Attorney-General's Chambers for gazetting."

The RCP, he said, is also going to be implemented to detect and detain illegal immigrants who are involved in militant activities. Musa said the Esszone is currently well-controlled and safe.

"This is proven with no kidnapping incident since early this year, thanks to Esscom's readiness as well as effective measures taken by it to control the Esszone.

"I am confident that Esscom, together with the Malaysian Armed Forces, Police and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency will monitor and ready to face any possibility in the East Coast," he said.

Among the measures taken, he said, were intensive and coordinated patrolling with the Philippines and Indonesian security forces under the Trilateral Cooperative Agreement which covers land and air area.

"In Nov 7, KD Sri Gaya and the Philippine Navy's BRP Cebu conducted a joint patrol in the respective waters.

"And on Nov 8, a trilateral air patrol was conducted in the Esszone's airspace by the security forces of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

"We hope the cooperation with our neighbouring countries will be continued to ensure safety in the waters of all three countries, especially in the Esszone."

To a supplementary question by Tamparuli Assemblyman Datuk Seri Wilfred Bumburing, Musa said Malaysian intelligence authorities have constant interaction with their counterparts in the Philippines.

"We received intelligence information with the cooperation between the Philippines and Malaysia, so that we are notified of the movement of militants," he said.

On the curfew in the Esszone which had reached its 76th phase, he said the measure was able to curb foreign negative elements from entering Sabah as well as enhancing the security control in the area.

"Since the curfew was enforced in the Esszone, there was a sudden increase in prices of goods in the southern Philippines.

"This shows that previously smuggling activities from Malaysia to southern Philippines were rampant."

While there were grouses voiced by the fishing community due to the curfew, he said, fishermen can still do their fishing activities at night provided they obtained permits from their respective District Police Headquarters.

"The issuance of permits had stabilised their income and most feel safer to catch fish.

Since the curfew was enforced in Jul 19, 2014, a total of 34,644 permits were issued to fishermen," he said.

Musa also said, tourist arrival in the Esszone was not affected due to the curfew.

"Generally, resort operators, locals, tourists and the maritime community welcome the curfew and have asked for the order to be continued in future."

On allocation, he disclosed, in total, since its inception, Esscom had received RM71.9 million for administration and RM219.1 million for development.

Meanwhile, to another supplementary question by Kapayan Assemblyman Dr Edwin Bosi on the safety of turtles in the Esszone, Musa gave his assurance that the reptile has been well taken care of.

"Even though, turtles are not under the protection by Esscom, under the request of the Tourism Ministry, the State Government has provided a RM1 million special allocation to protect turtles laying eggs on the beach.

"So, do not worry, we look after the turtles very well," he said. - Ricardo Unto

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