KOTA KINABALU: The comprehensive security measures put in place has helped secure the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone) resulting in no incidents of cross-border kidnappings Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman told the state assembly during question time.
The dusk to dawn curfew, sea basing, coordinated patrols, sea and road check points are among the measures taken to prevent cross-border kidnappings as well as other crimes, he added.
Responding to several questions raised by assemblymen on the Esszone, Musa, who is also state security council chairman, said they have recently started a trilateral cooperative agreement with the Philippines and Indonesian governments.
“We have increased monitoring and checks in suspected landing areas of illegal immigrants in Esszone,” he said, adding that they also introduced sea check points to control the entry of firearms and cross-border elements that threatened the security of the state.
Musa said they were also in the midst of putting in place designated sea routes to be gazetted.
He said the sea curfew, which had been implemented in Esszone since July 19, 2014, was necessary in ensuring the safety of Sabah’s east coast.
He added that the curfew had succeeded in controlling and reducing cross-border crimes including intrusion, kidnappings and smuggling.
“One of the effects we can see is the rise in price of goods in the southern Philippines island chain of Tawi-Tawi (that straddles Sabah’s east coast), meaning we have curtailed smuggling from Malaysia,” he said.
Musa said the curfew also received positive feedback from local communities and tourists in the area. Apart from that, the number of armed forces personnel placed in the Esszone has doubled while the federal government has consistently increased its allocations for security for the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) since it was formed on April 1, 2013.
On Friday, Musa tabled a RM4.104bil 2018 state budget which saw the house debating it.