Sabah sea curfew extended to Dec 21

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s ongoing dusk-to-dawn sea curfew, which ends on Tuesday (Dec 6), has been extended for another 14 days to Dec 21.

The curfew, which was extended for the 200th time under Section 31(4) of the Police Act 1967, was first implemented on July 16, 2014.

The residents in areas covered by the curfew are required to stay at home from 6pm to 6am while outsiders are not allowed to enter the curfew zones.

Sabah police commissioner Comm Datuk Idris Abdullah said the curfew covers areas up to three nautical miles off Sandakan, Beluran, Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu, Kunak, Semporna and Tawau.

He said the extension of the curfew was needed due to existing threats from cross-border criminals including from kidnap-for-ransom (KFR) groups.

He added the curfew was necessary to ensure terrorists or criminals from southern Philippines do not intrude into Malaysian waters and subsequently ensure the safety of international researchers or foreign tourists visiting islands in Sabah.

“Our intelligence sources found that KFR groups as well as the Abu Sayyaf group were still attempting to enter the country’s waters and carry out kidnapping activities as well as other cross-border crimes,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The curfew will allow security forces to look after the safety of people who travel at sea and those living in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone).

“It will also allow us to enforce and monitor the movement of vessels as well as create a sense of security and confidence among chalet operators and fishermen through the omnipresence of security vessels enforcing this curfew,” Comm Idris added.

He said he had also given the authority to the respective district police chiefs to issue permits to any applicant who fulfils the necessary requirements to conduct fishing activities or to ply through the water routes in the curfew areas.

The curfew was enforced following a spate of kidnappings that saw the beheading of Sarawakian Bernard Then Ted Fen and the killing of several others, including a policeman and tourists.

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