KOTA KINABALU, Malaysia - Sabah should be on guard against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror threat, in view of the network's links to militant groups in the southern Philippines.
Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the militants in the Philippines have pledged their support for ISIS in its quest to create an Islamic state in South-east Asia.
"We are not trying to scare Sabahans, but this is a fact and a far greater threat than kidnappings and cross-border crimes," he said after opening the Penampang annual Umno division meeting yesterday.
Mr Hishammuddin said this following the call by some groups for Sabah and Sarawak to secede from Malaysia.
"Those asking for secession need to think carefully. If anyone really wants out of the country, then do so on your own," he said.
Mr Hishammuddin also said that the Defence Ministry was upgrading various forward bases on the east coast to strengthen security in Sabah.
"We have agreed...with Petronas to use its old oil rigs which will be refurbished into forward bases along Sabah's coast," he said, adding that the ministry was planning to set up two such bases.