KOTA KINABALU: Relocating the Lok Kawi army camp in the state's west coast to the east coast is not the answer to increasing security there and the state in general, says an opposition leader Thursday (June 20).
Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Datuk Yong Teck Lee, commenting on the suggestion by the state government, said what Sabah needed was more resources, manpower and physical assets.
"Simply relocating existing resources and personnel from Lok Kawi to the east coast without an increase in resources, is not a sustainable answer to the existing weaknesses in our security.
"There are valid geographical, topographical and security reasons why we have a major army base at Lok Kawi and another one at Kota Belud (Kem Paradise).
"If any of these two bases are to be moved, there must be very strong justifications.
"If Lok Kawi army base is relocated to the east coast, then I would be very nervous to know that Kota Kinabalu, as the seat of government, and its international airport, would be left defenceless," he reasoned in a statement.
Yong also asked what happened to the seven army and police battalions announced by the Federal Government after the 2013 Lahad Datu intrusion, which were to be placed within the Eastern Sabah Safety Zone (Esszone).
"Where are these seven battalions now?
"The other priorities that the government needs to boost are the fighter jet base at Tawau and the helicopter forward deployment base at Lahad Datu.
"It is equally important to step up intelligence gathering, and to have special forces that are capable of conducting surgical strikes at terrorists and at cross-border criminal gangs," the former chief minister said.
Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, on Tuesday (June 18) proposed the Lok Kawi army camp be shifted to the east coast due to the kidnapping and cross-border crime risks, following the latest abduction of 10 fishermen.