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Unwise to relocate Lok Kawi army camp, says PBS
Published on: Saturday, June 22, 2019

Kota Kinabalu: Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) is of the view that the Lok Kawi army camp should remain where it is. 

Its Vice-President Datuk Johnny Mositun (pic) said the security needs in the East Coast could be upgraded in other ways, including having forward outposts and prioritising communications, transportation and logistics.

“Relocating the Lo Kawi military camp would be unwise and an unnecessary financial burden. The money spent on relocating the entire brigade headquarters can be better used to acquire more assets like patrol craft and stationing more personnel and improving their living conditions,” he said.

Mositun said this in the wake of reports quoting Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal and one of his three deputies, Datuk Christina Liew, calling for the relocation of the Lok Kawi camp to the State’s East Coast.

He said it was odd that Liew, who is also in charge of tourism, was on the one hand assuring foreign tourists that Sabah was safe to visit and at the same time painting a negative impression of the security situation.

“By suggesting the Lok Kawi camp to be moved to the East Coast will only make people think that our security situation is worse than it really is,” he said.

Mositun, a former State Deputy Speaker, said he agreed with former Chief Minister Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee that the Lok Kawi camp was a brigade headquarters carefully thought out and built in the context of the overall purpose of national defence, including State security, when the newly-formed Malaysia faced hostility from neighbouring countries.

“Those dangers may have receded but today we are faced with the possibility of the South China Sea becoming a flash point of hostilities between major powers. 

“It would not be wise to relocate the Lok Kawi camp further away from Kota Kinabalu, which is our administrative capital and main link to the outside world,” he said.

Mositun recalled that during the watch of Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal as the then Deputy Defence Minister, there had been a big controversy about encroachment into the State forest reserve by a contractor of a military installation in the Semporna-Lahad Datu area.

“Whatever happened to that project? Was it completed? If so, it could be upgraded to meet the new challenges of piracy and armed incursions, if any were to happen. That would make more sense than to relocate the Lok Kawi camp,” Mositun said.

He also said he had reservations about any major military command centre, which the Lok Kawi camp was, being located on the frontlines, which our East Coast is.

“It makes no sense to locate the ‘brain’ of our military set-up right inside a conflict zone and make it vulnerable to direct assault,” he said.

He noted that just over a week ago, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) had announced the restructuring or reorganisation of Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom).

In light of this, Mositun said, it was unnecessary to pre-empt the IGP and professional military establishment about improving security along the State’s East Coast.

“Suggestions are, of course, welcome and needed, especially from the most affected sections of our population. 

“But let us refrain from politicising the situation. Let’s be thankful that while things are not perfect, it is still very much under control.” 

 



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