KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s ongoing dusk-to-dawn sea curfew which ends on Wednesday (April 5) has been extended for another 14 days to April 20.
The curfew, which was extended for the 208th time under Section 31(4) of the Police Act 1967, was first implemented on July 16, 2014.
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.
Acting Sabah Police Commissioner Deputy Comm Datuk Jauteh Dikun said the curfew covers areas up to three nautical miles off Sandakan, Beluran, Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu, Kunak, Semporna and Tawau.
The extension of the curfew, he said, was necessary due to existing threats from cross-border criminals including from kidnap-for-ransom (KFR) groups.
He added the curfew is required to ensure that terrorists or criminals from southern Philippines do not intrude into Malaysian waters and subsequently secure the safety of international researchers or foreign tourists visiting islands in Sabah.
“Our intelligence sources detected that KFR groups as well as the Abu Sayyaf group are 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 Wednesday (April 5).
“The curfew will allow security forces to look after the safety of Sabahans and others who travel at sea and those living on land 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,” DCP Jauteh added.
He said he had also given the authority to the respective district police chiefs to issue permits to any applicant who fulfilled the necessary requirements to conduct fishing activities or had to ply 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.