PETALING JAYA - The Foreign and Commonwealth Office urged British nationals to avoid all but essential travel to the islands off the east coast of Sabah.
"There is a threat to foreigners of kidnapping and criminality on the eastern coast of Sabah and in particular the islands close to the Sulu Archipelago in the southern Philippines," the FCO advisory stated.
"You should take great care in the town of Sandakan and along the coastal area south of Tawau."
"You should also take great care in areas east of Lahad Datu and around Semporna following the confrontation in March 2013 between insurgents and Malaysian security forces," stated the advisory, which was posted on the British High Commission's website yesterday.
The FCO also advised British nationals to keep up with developments and follow guidelines provided by their tour operators and the local authorities.
"Some 435,500 British nationals visit Malaysia each year, most of whom experience trouble-free stays," it added.