Dusk-to-dawn sea curfew for Sabah's east coast extended to May 20

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s ongoing dusk-to-dawn sea curfew, which was to have ended on Friday (May 5), has been extended for another 14 days to May 20.

The curfew, which was extended for the 210th time under Section 31(4) of the Police Act 1967, was first implemented on July 16, 2014.

Under the curfew, residents in areas covered by the rule 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 Jauteh Dikun said the curfew covers areas up to three nautical miles off Sandakan, Beluran, Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu, Kunak, Semporna and Tawau.

The existing threats from cross-border criminals including from kidnap-for-ransom (KFR) groups necessitated the extension of the curfew, he said.

The curfew, he added, was required 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 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 Saturday (May 6).

“The curfew will also allow security forces to look after the safety of Sabahans and others who travel by sea and those living on land in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone).

“Besides that, it will enable us to enforce the law 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 implementing this curfew,” Comm Jauteh 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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