KOTA KINABALU: Newly appointed Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) commander Deputy Commissioner Victor Sanjos has ordered a step-up in border sea patrols to boost public and tourists’ confidence.
DCP Sanjos, who was appointed to his post earlier this month, hopes that with increased security, it would further boost efforts to get foreign countries to lift their travel warnings for their citizens to avoid eastern Sabah waters.
Monitoring and patrolling operations will be intensified in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone), especially along the known routes used by the kidnap-for-ransom groups (KFR).
“The integrated operation will involve air patrols using fighter planes and several helicopters stationed in the Esszone,” DCP Sanjos said after chairing his meeting with Esscom officers in Lahad Datu yesterday.
The enhanced monitoring operation is aimed at curbing and blocking members of the KFR groups linked to the militant Abu Sayyaf group from sneaking into Sabah waters.
“When I was appointed as Esscom commander, I wanted the Esszone community, especially foreign tourists, to have confidence in the level of security provided,” he said.
DCP Sanjos said for this very reason, the “show of presence” of security forces in hotspot areas is necessary.
He warned that although the overall security situation in the Esszone is well under control, it is still important for security forces to remain alert and be present at strategic locations to thwart any attempt by foreign elements to challenge the country’s sovereignty.
DCP Sanjos said despite Esscom having been successful in putting a stop to kidnapping incidents in eastern Sabah waters over the past few years, some foreign countries, including Japan and South Korea, still have concerns over security.
Esscom, through the cooperation of all parties in combating cross-border crime, will take proactive action to clear up lingering negative perceptions of east coast’s security, he added.