PUTRAJAYA - Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the security situation in eastern Sabah was not under any threat following the murder of a Taiwanese man and abduction of his wife off the Pom Pom Island resort.
"It remains intact because so far the reports showed that it was not like the Lahad Datu incursion.
"This kind of thing (the shooting of the Taiwanese tourist and abduction of his wife) can happen anywhere but that doesn't mean the security in the area is under threat," he said after chairing the Transport Ministry's post-Cabinet meeting. He is also the Acting Transport Minister.
Hishamuddin said the shooting and abduction should not be taken as a sign that defence in the Eastern Sabah Safety Zone (Esszone) had been breached.
"Esszone was set up to counter insurgency and terrorist-like threats. From what I have been told, I don't see how this incident could be linked to insurgency.
"The police are still investigating it and on our part, the army is ready to assist if there is a need," he said.
In Petaling Jaya, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said there was no indication that the assailants were from neighbouring countries or that they were militants from southern Philippines.
He confirmed that no other tourists were abducted from the resort or harmed.
Wan Junaidi said no security zone was 100 per cent intrusion-free.
"There were clashes with communist insurgents even in the Rejang Area Security Command (Rascom) in Sarawak. It is impossible to guarantee 100 per cent safety even in such a security area," he said.
Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, who is Semporna MP, said he was very concerned over the tragedy and hoped the authorities would rescue the abducted tourist as soon as possible.
"I hope they can also focus on boosting security in Semporna to regain the confidence of visitors. Meanwhile, the people of Semporna should remain calm and leave it to the authorities to get to the bottom of the matter," he said.
Esscom covers 10 districts - Kudat, Kota Marudu, Pitas, Beluran, Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu, Kunak, Semporna and Tawau - along a 1,400km stretch in Sabah's east coast.