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Sea curfew to stay for now: IGP
Published on: Friday, August 18, 2017
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Kota Kinabalu: There are no immediate plans to end the long-standing sea curfew imposed off seven districts in the east coast of Sabah as a result of the spate of kidnappings by cross-border criminals. "There is no time frame, we will continue to impose the curfew order as long as there are threats in the east coast," said Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.

He said the extension of the curfew order is needed to ensure visitors, security forces in the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom), tourists and the community, particularly in the east coast, are safe.

"We do not want them to continue to be threatened by cross border criminals and this (curfew order) is among steps taken by the Government to ensure the people's daily routine in the east coast go on as usual," he told a media conference in conjunction with his work visit to the State police headquarters in Kepayan, Thursday.

Also present was State Police Commissioner Datuk Ramli Din and his deputy Datuk Razarudin Husain.

The dusk-to-dawn curfew which has entered its 71st phase was introduced in July, 2015 and covers Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu, Kunak, Semporna, Tawau and Beluran starting from the international border to three nautical miles from the shore.

On another development, Khalid said he went to Manila twice with Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman to hold negotiations with counterparts in the Philippines.

"The first visit was early this year during the Trilateral Maritime Patrol meeting between Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines held there.

"The meeting was especially to discuss on actions to be taken by these three countries on waters off the east coast to make sure piracy and smuggling do not continue.

"Several steps have and will continue to be implemented, particularly joint patrols, exchange of information, exchange of officer's visits between Malaysia and the Philippines.

"Recently I again accompanied Anifah to the Asean Foreign Ministers meeting where a side meeting was held to discuss on actions to be taken for the sake of the people's security in the east coast of Sabah.

"We will continue to enforce law in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone area to make sure it remains safe from threats," he said.

He also noted there had been no kidnapping incidents reported in the east coast so far this year.

On preparations for the general elections, he said he is confident and believe that his men and women are fully prepared.

"Preparations are going smoothly, this are also among matters I will monitor during my work visits to every police contingent and I can say we are fully prepared," he said.

On the Nothing To Hide 2.0 forum in Shah Alam, Khalid said they have arrested 13 people and are now tracking down several others to facilitate investigations.

He said the 13 were apprehended for rioting, saying "they threw chairs and lit flares, they threw objects at those who attended the talk."

On claims that instigators were paid RM50 to cause chaos at the talk, Khalid said it was merely assumptions.

"Let us investigate what actually happened, but whatever it is, the organisers are fully responsible for what happened. They cannot simply wash their hands off it, don't put the blame on Umno or on the police but themselves.

"The Peaceful Assembly Act clearly states the steps needed to be taken by the organiser to ensure safety of participants and venue.

"Even though it is under the police act to ensure safety in whatever situations, but in this matter, the organisers are fully responsible for ensuring the safety of those present, the police monitor outside the area," he said.

The forum featured a session with former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who was standing on the stage midway through the session when the chaos erupted on Sunday.

On matters concerning atheist events, Khalid again reminded Muslims and Malays particularly those who attend or become members of atheist events that there is such thing as the Syariah Enactment which allows action to be taken against them.

"So don't think that action cannot be taken, I have also reminded atheists to respect those with religion and not to cause unease among others," he said.

This came following a public furore over a private atheist event in Kuala Lumpur recently. - Sherell Jeffrey



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