KUALA LUMPUR: Police have arrested one gunman, following Tuesday morning's firefight in Pom Pom Island near Semporna.
Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) chief General Tan Sri Zulkifli Zainal Abidin said that police have also seized the pump boat in which the suspect and his accomplices were last seen in during the shooting incident.
"They were intercepted by police during the sea curfew and they did not stop when ordered to, so there was a shooting. Police have arrested one man and have found the boat.
"The rest are still being tracked down," he said.
Policemen in the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) were reportedly shot at twice by men in a pump boat the east coast of Pom Pom Island at about 3am, June 30 and returned fire.
Officers claimed the heard the sound of an engine fading away into the distance after the exchange of gunfire.
The intruders, believed to be cross-border criminals, were about 200m from the policemen and managed to flee from the area.
Esscom chief Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun said forces were still trying to ascertain the motive of the incident but said the men appeared to "not have good intentions"
Meanwhile, Gen Zulkifli said the army would be adding another sea base to the Esscom in the form of a mobile oil rig that will be retrofitted into a permanent base called the Tun Sharifah Rodziah.
It is being towed from Lumut and is expected to arrive in Labuan by mid-July. There it will be refurbished before becoming fully operational in Sabah waters in August.
It will join the Tun Azizan mobile sea base ship, which is based five nautical miles from southern Philippines, in stepping up security in the porous border.
"The will be used to intercept criminals that operate in our side of the border. When they go running back to the other side we can inform the sea bases that will deploy quick response forces to stop them," he said.
During a breaking fast session at the Khalid Al Walid mosque in Jalan Padang Tembak, Gen Zulkifli said 20,000 Malaysian armed forces would be working throughout the Hari Raya period to ensure security during the festive season.
It is a scale-down of 5,000 personnel from 2013 and 2014, which was the height of the Ops Daulat operations in the east coast of Sabah.