Govt gets tough on Sabah's east coast

Govt gets tough on Sabah's east coast
Datuk Seri Dr Zahid Hamidi.

LAHAD DATU - All foreign vessels entering and exiting the east coast of Sabah must now follow designated routes, especially in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone), with immediate effect.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zahid Hamidi said there were seven gazetted entry zones into Sabah and all foreign vessels must follow the legal entry route or face action under Malaysian law.

In line with the decision, all boat owners in Sabah must now register their boats to show that the vessels belong to them.

"These two steps are proactive actions that will take place with immediate effect to ensure the security and safety of the people, particularly those in the Esszone," he told reporters after visiting Pulau Baik here where kidnappers grabbed a Chinese fish farm manager on Tuesday.

Yang Zai Lin, 34, was kidnapped at 2.45am by five armed men who fled to southern Philippines after a brief gun fight with pursuing Malaysian security forces.

Dr Zahid also said that seven new outposts would be set up as soon as possible to further strengthen the Esszone.

He said more assets and equipment would be added for various security forces (police, armed forces and Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency) operating in the area to carry out more patrols and to strengthen security.

Dr Zahid, who was with Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim and Esscom director-general Datuk Mohammad Mentek, said most of the agencies had sent various proposals and they were being considered.

Sabah police are waiting for an official directive from Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman on the implementation of curfew at high-risk areas.

State Police Commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib said they would have a thorough discussion with the relevant parties including the chief minister, who is the State Security Council chairman, before the directive was issued.

"Details of the curfew will only be known later," he said.

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