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Esscom Commander post to be rotated from July

Published on: Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: The post of Commander of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) will be rotated between the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) and the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) effective July 1, said Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar Tuesday.

He said the first commander would be selected from the ATM who would hold the post for 18 months before the responsibility would be taken over by the PDRM for another 18 months.

"The officer will be known as Esscom Commander who will be responsible for operational matters in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone)," he told reporters after chairing a joint meeting with officers of the Sabah Police Contingent and district police chiefs in the Esszone, here.

Also present was State Police Commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib.

According to Khalid, the meeting was held to discuss cooperation to be accorded to the Esscom Commander from the ATM.

On the issue of corruption in Esscom, the IGP said that police would give full cooperation to officers of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) who would be stationed at Esscom to identify and investigate corrupt activities.

"We have never received any report or complaint on any malpractice involving corruption in Esscom.

"However, if there is any incidence of corruption, the PDRM will give full cooperation to the MACC," he said.

Meanwhile, the Forward Operations Base (FOB) to be set up in Esszone will be fully utilised by Esscom to check cross-border crime.

Although it could not guarantee that it would prevent cross-border crime completely, Esscom Director-General Datuk Mohammad Mentek said they would endeavour to do everything possible to prevent undesired incidents.

"The FOB is a very good idea to boost Esscom's capability in preventing all kinds of cross-border crime, including kidnapping in the Esszone.

It could speed up action by the authorities if there were cases of undesired incidents.

"We will have a strong capacity in blocking foreign ships or boats that try to encroach into national waters because the FOB would be equipped with patrol boats, speed boats, helicopter landing pads as well as radar for tracking down the entry of ships or boats into our national waters," he said.

The formation of the FOB was stated by the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, when visiting Esscom at the end of last month.

FOB will use abandoned oil rigs owned by Petronas in the waters of eastern Sabah.

Mohammad had earlier been quoted as saying Esscom hoped that the first FOB in Semporna would be completed by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, commenting on the working visit by Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein to the islands around the Esszone, including the abandoned oil rig near Pulau Mabul on Monday, Mohammad said the Government was determined to ensure that Esscom succeeded in carrying out its duty to protect Sabah's sovereignty.

"During the visit, we discussed several matters to strengthen Esscom.

Of course, I hope the visit could speed up the process of setting up the FOB in the areas that have been identified," he said.

Mohammad also thanked the national oil and gas company, Petronas, which had agreed to contribute its abandoned oil rigs in protecting the security of Sabah waters.

The Esszone covers an area which is 1.733.7 kilometres long encompassing 10 districts, namely Kudat, Kota Marudu, Pitas, Beluran, Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu, Kunak, Semporna and Tawau.