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Allowing pump boats risk Sabah’s security: Umno, PBS
Published on: Friday, September 06, 2019
By: Sherell Jeffrey
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KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Wanita Umno and PBS warned that the State’s security will be jeopardised if the Federal Government ignores the call to disallow pump boats in the wake of Wednesday’s incident where two Abu Sayyaf members were killed in a shootout in Lahad Datu.

Sabah Wanita Umno Chief, Datuk Dr Jainab Ahmad, said the use of pump boats shouldn’t be allowed as it complicates safety and security issues off Sabah’s coasts. 

“We have received numerous complaints from coastal residents who are worried for their safety as many are still seen using pump boats,” she said, Wednesday. 

She was commenting on the two suspected cross-border criminals who were gunned down by security personnel off Felda Sahabat on Tuesday.

The duo were on a pump boat which was seized by the team. The former Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister also said allowing pump boats makes it easier for drugs, contraband cigarettes and fish bombing activities. 

“I also understand that the government has allowed barter trade, which includes making way for agriculture products to be brought in, but what about quarantine? 

“Is the State Agriculture and Food Industry strict about this? I understand that some fruits from the neighbouring countries have infection,” she said. 

The ban on pump boats was enforced in April 2016 in an effort to tighten security in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone) following a spate of cross border kidnappings. 

It (ban) was withdrawn this year as part of the Government effort to assist the B40 people in the east coast who use pump boats as a mode of transport, including fishermen. 

The move continued to draw questions despite the government introducing a method to identify the pump boat owners through registration and colour identity of the pump boat allowed only for Malaysian citizens to make sure it is not misused. 

Parti Bersatu Sabah said maintaining a ban on pump boats severely restricts the movements of the Abu Sayaff and had the same effect on piracy, smuggling and illegal immigration by sea.

“For these reasons maintain the ban on pump boats that came into force more than a year ago. Allowing pump boats to freely operate in our territorial waters will greatly compromise state security,” said PBS vice-president, Datuk Johnny Mositun.

Mositun, who was one of two Deputy Speakers under the BN administration, said if pump boats were allowed it would place a burden on security forces.

“The seas off Lahad Datu and Semporna are dotted by hundreds of islands with mangrove swamps. Pump boats, small, fast and ideal for shallow waters, can easily evade marine patrols. Fleeing criminals hide their pump boats in the streams and rivers of coastal swamps, hidden by mangroves. Once they feel it is safe, usually at night, they speed off into Philippine waters,” Mositun said.

“More important, the Chief Minister must listen to the advice of our security officials, especially Esscom personnel and the Marine Police. It is they who are responsible and answerable in security matters, putting their lives in danger. It is only right we respect their views,” Mositun said. 

 


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