Securing eastern border


  • Nation
  • Sunday, 11 Jan 2004

By MUGUNTAN VANAR

KOTA KINABALU: Newly-appointed Sabah Police Commissioner Deputy Comm Datuk Illiyas Ibrahim has set his sights on fully securing Malaysia’s eastern border with the Philippines amid reports of armed groups roaming close to sea borders. 

“My priority is to ensure that our borders are secure and we must be ready to check on any intrusion whether by armed groups, smugglers or illegal immigrants trying to sneak into Sabah,” he said yesterday. 

DCP Illiyas, who visited the eastern command under Ops Pasir to check security arrangements, said that they would continue to monitor various needs, deploy personnel and provide logistics whenever necessary to keep the coastal borders safe. 

“I find that morale of our men is high and we have sophisticated weapons and equipment to meet any challenges that come up in the east coast,” said DCP Illiyas who took over as Sabah commissioner last Monday from DCP Datuk Ramli Yusuff. 

BOOSTING MORALE: DCP Illiyas chatting with General Operations Force personnel at Pulau Adal off Semporna during a visit there yesterday.

The police chief said that there were intelligence reports of suspected pirate groups roaming in waters close to the Malaysian border but police here believed that the group has moved to its hideout in a neighbouring country after observing Malaysian patrols. 

“It’s a long coastal border, there will always be all types of groups trying to sneak in. I have told my men to remain alert all the time and work closely with the local community for any information on movements of suspicious groups,” he added. 

DCP Illiyas, who spent about two days touring the integrated multi-agency Ops Pasir area, said a special Tiger squad was on standby in Lahad Datu and Kota Kinabalu and they would continue rotating men at the front to maintain alertness. 

Ops Pasir, involving the military and police among other enforcement agencies, was put in place in late 2000 after southern Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf gunmen raided Pulau Sipadan and Pulau Pandanan to grab tourists and workers for ransom in cross-border crimes. 

On Oct 5 last year, armed bandits, believed to be local pirates from the southern Philippine island of Tawi Tawi, struck the Borneo Paradise Resort and took six workers as hostages across the borders. 

One hostage, Filipino Novelito Arcosel, 19, escaped three weeks later while the fate of the rest – three Indonesians and two Filipinos – remains unknown although they are believed to be in the Tawi Tawi chain of islands. 

“We will remain on guard and fight them if they come in again,” said DCP Illiyas.  

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