Illegals who are transborder crime groups' informants identified
Published on: Friday, February 21, 2020
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SANDAKAN: The Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) has identified illegal immigrants who act as informants for a cross-border criminal group in the Eastern Sabah Safety Zone (Esszone).

Its Commander Datuk Hazani Ghazali (pic) said no arrest had been made yet but neither would he divulge their numbers due to security factors.

“We are actively monitoring movement of these identified illegal immigrants and will take further action,” he said at a press conference after a dialogue with the Pulau Jampiras fishing community, here.

Hazani also said Esscom had received information that firearms were being smuggled into the state’s east coast but noted no arrest had been made since he took over the commander post in 2017.

He expressed concern as Sabah has been described as a transit point for foreign terrorists, who move between the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

He stressed on the need to continue forming strong ties with the two neighbouring countries and share intelligence among the country’s security agencies to curb trans-boundary intrusions.

Hazani said their visit to Pulau Jampiras was to change the public perception that the island was a “black area”.

“We want to show the island is peaceful and that Jampiras community supports the security forces to protect the security we enjoy today,” he said, while urging the Esszone community to continue channelling information to the security forces.

Meanwhile, Sandakan MP Vivian Wong was informed by Esscom that almost all the equipment provided by the government to maintain security was poorly maintained since its inception. 

“This is very serious because without functional equipment and adequate patrol vessels, it is extremely difficult and impossible for the authorities to carry out defence work in the eastern coastline which covers 1,500km,” she said.

She would raise the issue in Parliament next month to strengthen the security of Sabah’s east coast waters and leverage on industries such as fisheries and tourism in Sandakan and the safety of the people. 

She said this after a meeting and dialogue with Esscom Commander Datuk Hazani Ghazal and Sandakan Police Chief ACP Mohd Azhar Hamin, recently. 

“Sabah’s east coast security both at land and sea is the focus of us and the people of Sabah. 

“After several abduction cases, people have always blamed Esscom for the incidents. But we have to look at it at another perspective. If Esscom is not equipped with perfect assets and equipment, how can they do their job effectively,” she said. 

She was also informed that Esscom had been placed under the Home Ministry since end of last year. 

This will streamline all planning and operations processes as compared to the time it reports to several ministries. 

During the session, Wong was briefed by the Esscom Commander who explained the unit’s operations and standard operating procedures to be followed when carrying out tasks. 

Authorities present also indicated Esscom’s needs and what needs to be improved immediately, among them, include the need to upgrade security equipment and radar equipment, the addition of border maritime stations, patrol vessels and airborne aircrafts. 

In the meantime, Wong said her side will also work closely with the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Home Affairs and various security forces to explore suggestions for strengthening the security of Sabah’s east coast waters. 


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