Daily Express
Established since 1963
Christmas threat in East Coast dismissed

Published on: Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Lahad Datu: The Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) Director-General Datuk Mohammad Mentek said there has been no attempt by members of the Abu Sayyaf group or the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) to penetrate into the coastal areas of eastern Sabah.

He said that the security situation in the area, also known as the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone), was safe and under control.

The zone encompasses 10 districts involving 1,733.7 kilometres from Kudat to Tawau.

The districts are Kudat, Kota Marudu, Pitas, Beluran, Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu, Kunak, Semporna, and Tawau.

As such, Mohammad called on the people to be calm and not believe rumours that could make matters worse. "Based on intelligence obtained by Esscom, there has been no attempt to enter the area by the Abu Sayaf group or the MNLF as claimed.

As such, I wish to advise the people not to panic and refrain from spreading unfounded information including through social media," he said in a statement, here.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar was quoted as saying that the security forces in the coastal areas of eastern Sabah were in a state of preparedness to face any eventuality, including the threat of any attack by foreigners.

Khalid disclosed this to reporters in Kuala Lumpur when asked on the claim that several militant groups including the Abu Sayyaf and MNLF wanted to attack three areas namely Pulau Selingan (Sandakan), Pulau Langkayan (Beluran) and Sukau Resort (Kinabatangan), tomorrow and on Christmas Day.

Mohammad said security measures in Esszone were being tightened including raising the number of patrols by the various defence and security agencies including the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN), Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and the Marine Operations Force (MOF).

In addition, Mohammad said Esscom, which is responsible for coordinating all the defence and security agencies in Esszone, had created and deployed the Quick Response Force in several strategic areas to cut off any attempt to enter Malaysian waters.

"We have utilised our defence and security assets such as aeroplanes and helicopters to strengthen security control in our maritime areas," he said.

In this regard, Mohammad warned those trying to collaborate with the enemy, including by giving information to the groups wishing to infiltrate into the country to refrain from doing so because stern action would be taken against those involved.