Published on: Sunday, March 10, 2013
Kota Kinabalu: The Federal Government is taking very seriously what happened in Sabah since the armed intrusion by Filipino militants on Feb. 9 that has so far cost 61 lives on both sides, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, said.
The Malaysian casualties have been eight policemen so far but no civilians.
He said the action of the so-called Royal Sulu Army slipping into Sabah fully armed to pursue their supposed ancestral claim to Sabah was a very new and very complex issue of security but something that "we will not take lightly."
Besides the Special Security Area (KKK) proposed by the Prime Minister during his visit on Thursday, discussions have also started on stationing security personnel in locations such as Pulau Gaya, Pulau Bum-Bum and Sandakan.
"I as the Minister responsible, will not allow Sabah to face challenges and threats alone, we will always be together in fighting for the sovereignty and security of our country and be assured that our commitment to learn from this incident during the Ops Daulat will be continued until the issue is solved.
"We have started our efforts to strengthen our safety and as for today, I guarantee that we are in control of the situation and people are assured that rumours are not true. We will not let our guard down and I assure that I personally will be there monitoring it."
Hishammuddin said the SSA is not rhetoric, it would be implemented and he (Najib) will personally look into it should any obstacles prevent our plans from being realised, he told a news conference at the Sabah Police Headquarters in Kepayan, Saturday.
The SSA aims to protect the sovereignty and security of the east coast from Kudat until Tawau. He said the Government regarded the safety of the locals seriously and acted immediately to realise the SSA.
"The matter was discussed with Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman Friday, followed by a meeting between the Home Ministry Secretary-General and Sabah State Secretary.
"Tomorrow, my Sec-Gen Datuk Abdul Rahim Mohd Radzi will chair a meeting to coordinate all departments and agencies under my Ministry.
"On Monday, Chief Minister (Datuk Seri Musa Aman) will chair the State Security Committee and with inputs from the Ministry, Immigration, National Registration Department and Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), we will coordinate it together.
When announcing the KKK in conjunction with his visit to Felda Sahabat, Lahad Datu last Thursday, Najib said it would cover Kudat, Tawau, Kunak, Sandakan and Lahad Datu.
"Lahad Datu will serve as the command centre whereby several temporary cabins will be put up for immediate operation," said the Prime Minister.
Hishammuddin said Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar had also confirmed that his deputy, Datuk Seri Khalid Abu Bakar, would assist in strategies for the implementation of the KKK.
Hishammuddin also emphasised the importance of the local community in stepping up security in the State.
"We will mobilise our volunteer agencies, including Rela (People's Volunteer Corps), to join the local community and Village Development and Security Committees (JKKK) statewide so that the public can ensure the safety of their villages with voluntary bodies," he said.
He said this was a contribution from the ministry to assure the people that these initiatives were not seasonal but continuous.
On the latest development on security forces tracking down the remaining intruders in Lahad Datu, Hishammuddin said "Ops Daulat" would continue because they (gunmen) had refused to lay down their weapons," adding that 53 intruders had been killed so far.
He also confirmed that there were no incidents related to the intrusion in Lahad Datu the whole day yesterday.
"Don't get carried away by rumours or reports which are not based on actual facts, he said, adding that the situation in Sabah was under control.
On a question, he said, priority is given towards the security and safety of our security forces personnel.
"We cannot be careless in terms of security even when mopping out the area for corpses," he said.
Also present were the Ministry's Secretary-General Datuk Abdul Rahim Mohd Radzi, Deputy State Police Commissioner SAC II Datuk Tan Kok Liang and State Immigration Department Director Datuk Mohammad Mentek among others.