BY EILEEN NG
Published: 14 July 2014
The series of intrusions into Sabah was a result of the decades-old policy of allowing illegal immigrants into the state, said DAP following the latest security breach on Pulau Mabul, off Semporna, which resulted in the death of one policeman and the kidnap of another.
Parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang said the poor security situation in Sabah, especially on its east coast, was the result of "chickens coming home to roost" from decades of Putrajaya's inaction and indifference towards the problem of illegal immigrants.
This, he said, had turned Sabah into a "haven" for kidnappers and terrorists and reduced citizens into strangers or even foreigners in their own land.
"If the decades-long problem of illegal immigrants in Sabah, whose numbers now range from a million to 1.9 million out of Sabah’s population of 3.3 million, had been brought under strict control right from the beginning, we would not be faced with the security and law-and-order crisis afflicting Sabah today," he said in a statement.
As such, Lim said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's response to the incident not only smacked of a cover-up but was "too little, too late".
In the Saturday night attack, Corporal Abdul Rajah Jamuan, 32, was shot dead at the Mabul Water Bungalows Resort and his colleague, Constable Zakiah Aleip was kidnapped by eight Filipino gunmen.
The gunmen were reported to have fled to southern Philippines.
The latest intrusion came on the day Najib announced that several additional measures would be implemented to strengthen the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) on top of the recent administrative restructuring.
Following Saturday's incident, Najib had reportedly directed Esscom to reevaluate its security system and to add more personnel where necessary to plug weaknesses.
"There are weaknesses in the security placement and planning on the ground in the Esszone. It is the duty of the new operations chief to look into this," Najib was quoted as saying by English daily The Star.
Esscom, which covers 1,400km of the east coast of Sabah from Kudat to Tawau, was established in March last year following the Lahad Datu incursion by armed Sulu militants.
Its purpose was to strengthen maritime security in the eastern part of the state and to prevent terrorist activity in the waters off Sabah.
In deriding the premier's orders, Lim said this should have been the first directive when Esscom was established and not 15 months later after chalking up several failures to stop abductions and territorial violations.
"Sabahans can still remember Najib’s boast at Esscom’s launch that it was 'the fastest decision made in the history of Malaysia in terms of creating posts in any government agency' but it has proved to be the most costly and unproductive of all government decisions in terms of human lives, bad international image for the country, economic costs and public expenditure.
"This has resulted in a rare show of unity by Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat members of parliament denouncing the ineptitude of Esscom and even demanding its abolition and replacement by a more effective security high command structure in Sabah," he said.
The Gelang Patah MP also berated Najib for keeping silent on the report by the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Sabah illegal immigrants.
He questioned why the report had not yet been made public despite it being submitted to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Putrajaya on May 14.
"Why is there no mention or commitment from Najib for the immediate publication of the report? Is Najib prepared to get the Cabinet on Wednesday to make public the report and implement its recommendations?
"What has Najib to hide on the report? He seems to be spearheading a conspiracy of silence on it, as if wanting Sabahans and Malaysians to forget that there is such a report," he said.
In November last year, Taiwanese tourist Chang An Wei was abducted from the Pom Pom island resort while her partner, Li Min Hsu was shot dead.
Chang was freed a month later after a substantial ransom was paid to the Abu Sayyaf via intermediaries.
On April 2, a group of seven armed men kidnapped Chinese tourist Gao Hua Yuan, 29, from Shanghai, and Filipino resort employee, Marcy Dayawan, 40, from the Singamata Adventures and Reef Resort at about 10.30pm.
Gao and Marcy were subsequently released.
Last month, two workers at a fish farm in Kunak, Tawau, were abducted by gunmen.
Caretaker Chan Sai Chiun, 32, from Perak and a worker of Suluk descent in his 20s identified only as Mazlan were abducted from Kampung Sapang, west of Pulau Timbun Mata at about 12.40am from the fish cage farm owned by Davel Bay.
Mazlan managed to escape by jumping into the sea from his abductors' speedboat while Chan's fate is still unknown. – July 14, 2014.
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