KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s ongoing dusk-to-dawn sea curfew which ends on Saturday (Feb 4) has been extended for another 14 days to Feb 19.
The curfew, which was extended for the 204th time under Section 31(4) of the Police Act 1967, was first implemented on July 16, 2014.
Sabah Police Commissioner Comm Datuk Idris Abdullah said the curfew covers areas up to three nautical miles off the east coast districts of Sandakan, Beluran, Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu, Kunak, Semporna and Tawau.
Residents in areas covered by the curfew were required to stay at home from 6pm to 6am while outsiders were not allowed to enter the curfew zones, he said.
The extension of the curfew, he added, was needed due to existing threats from cross-border criminals including from kidnap-for-ransom (KFR) groups.
He pointed out that the curfew was required in order to ensure terrorists or criminals from southern Philippines do not intrude into Malaysian waters, adding this will subsequently to ensure the safety of international researchers or foreign tourists visiting islands off 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,” Comm Idris said in a statement on Friday (Feb 3).
The curfew, he said, will enable 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 the police to carry out enforcement work and monitor the movement of vessels, he added.
“This will create a sense of security and confidence among chalet operators and the fishing sector through the omnipresence of security vessels enforcing this curfew,” he said.
Comm Idris said he had also given the respective district police chiefs the authority to issue permits to any applicant who fulfill the necessary requirements to conduct fishing activities or to ply through the water routes in the curfew areas.
The curfew was enforced following a series of kidnappings that saw the beheading of Sarawakian Bernard Then Ted Fen and the killing of several others, including a policeman and tourists.