Published on: Friday, April 11, 2014
Kota Kinabalu: Sabah Reform Movement President Datuk Seri Wilfred M. Bumburing said the entire Federal Cabinet Ministers are partly to be blamed for the recent kidnapping incident at Singamata Resort off Semporna.
"This is because they are not putting a sincere and wholehearted effort to ensure optimum security in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone), particularly Semporna.
"I have been informed that repeated requests by the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) for reinforcement, including deployment for additional manpower and more assets, have received lukewarm response from the authorities and the Federal Government seemed to be dragging their feet on their legitimate request."
He said this information is supported by past newspaper reports where Esscom Director-General Datuk Mohammad Mentek had requested many times since last year for additional manpower (of security forces) and assets such as boats or speedboats or even pump boat depending on the location of the resort islands in Semporna, but the Federal Government kept on dilly dallying on the matter.
"And only recently Public Service Department (PSD) officials visited some of the resort islands in Semporna to see for themselves the situation on the ground, and until now there is still no firm commitment to the request.
"I hereby categorically hold all Members of Parliament, including Kalabakan MP Datuk Ghapur Salleh, within the Esszone areas as being equally responsible for not putting much effort in pushing for a speedier deployment of manpower and assets to secure Semporna, a kidnapping-prone area in Esszone."
Bumburing said based on feedback from resort operators in Semporna, there seemed to be no security boats or speedboats that are permanently stationed at the beaches of some of the resort islands.
"For example, there seemed to be no security boat permanently stationed in Mataking Island, the last easternmost island in the Semporna district bordering international waters. How do we expect our security forces there to be able to immediately intercept or pursue the elusive kidnappers' boat without any boat of their own? Definitely, we can't ask them to swim in pursuit!
"In order for maximum security to be effective, the authorities must at least show their omnipresence, that is, in terms of security asset, within the waters off Semporna to scare away would-be kidnappers."
He said the entire Esscom structure should be such that the various units and department under it should carry out joint intelligent network as well as joint chain of command involving the Police, Navy, Air Force as well as other units in the military service under Esscom.
"Right now there are none. Every unit functions individually, and also, it seems to me that Esscom is just a think-tank body that functions to 'coordinate' the various security units. Nothing more.
Esscom should be given more authority in order to function effectively.
"All these go to show the entire Federal Cabinet or even Sabah State Cabinet and all BN Members of Parliament in Esszone are not really sincere to put in place an optimum security arrangement within Esszone, especially in Semporna.
"In my view, the Esscom Director-General, a local and a strategist who knows the ins and outs of Semporna, has done his best and did the right things within his authority in requesting for additional manpower and assets but now the Esscom Director-General or Esscom, as a whole, has become the scapegoatÉfinger-pointing and blaming someone else is not a solution to this tricky and unique problem. I have been made to understand that mainland areas, including Tanduo in Lahad Datu, seemed to be under control.
"Along this lines, l therefore suggest the post of Deputy Director-General of Esscom, either held by the police or the army, be created as soon as possible to help beef up security, especially in terms of intelligence gathering network in the Esszone areas. I also propose that the Federal Government consider appointing Sabahans as district police chief in all 10 districts within Esszone."