Daily Express
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Sabah's security is vital

Published on: Sunday, June 08, 2014

Tawau: The Defence Ministry is considering several "out of the box" approaches in the bid to address security issues and ensure continuous protection of Sabah's sovereignty.

Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said addressing security issues is a major agenda and in this regards not just for the people of Sabah but also the Asean region, especially the four neighbouring countries.

Hishammuddin said the security issues particularly in Sabah is not something to be taken lightly as it is a real threat.

"Maybe after the Lahad Datu intrusion last year we think there is no more threat but the recent kidnapping cases show there are actually more that needed to be done and seriously addressed.

"That is what I want to inject a one-sense of agency not only to review but also find new approaches including working closely on those involving Esscom policies in the future," he said. According to him, among the approaches was to station patrol ships in all platforms, be it using trawlers, in strategic islands or resorts.

"I have discussed these matters with Petronas and the navy," he said when met after getting a security briefing at the Joint-Forces Command base in Kukusan Camp, Saturday.

Secondly, he said, was concerning the software that is the security policy and stability of Sabah that must be done not only to face the unexpected but also address issues of smuggling, corruption and illegal immigration.

This would involve close cooperation with neighbouring countries namely Brunei, Indonesia and Philippine.

Thirdly, Hishammuddin said is the use of assets, which is believed will not cost so much because assistance could be obtained from three other (countries) particularly in overcoming certain obstacles.

He said he had also contacted the American authorities about their ships that have been commissioned for usage in Malaysia to boost its Radar 1206.

Training aspect was also being given emphasis and institutionalised to ensure whatever actions implemented were not seasonal.

According to him, strong cooperation between the civil component including Esscom, Customs, Immigration, village heads, JKKKs and fishermen would continue to be mustered from time to time in order to achieve the goal of security.

Hishammuddin also said the outcome of investigations on the MasWings Twin Otter crash in Kudat which claimed the lives of two people, last year, will be made public.

"We have nothing to hide and if there are quarters who are negligent then action will be taken against them," he said. However, he said, the announcement will only be made once all reports have been looked at.

"I have been made to understand that whatever reports on the incident have or are being closely looked at, once it is ascertained, then we will announce the outcome to the people, just like we have done on the Genting Highlands tragedy," he said.

On when will the announcement be made, Hishammuddin said he has asked his deputy to look into the matter based on existing protocol in the Ministry.

"Responsible quarters have been identified...and similar to the Genting Highland tragedy and MH370, what is most important is the consistency of confirmation and collaboration from the information we receive.

In the Oct. 10 incident last year, co-pilot Mark Joel Bansh, 23, and an elderly passenger were killed when the aircraft which was flying in from Kota Kinabalu crashed near the Kudat airfield during strong winds.

Also present at the camp Saturday were Region Two Navy Commandor Rear Admiral Datuk Pahlawan Mohammad Rosland Omar and Eastern Sabah Security Command Director-General Datuk Mohammad Mentek.