KOTA KINABALU - The dusk-to-dawn sea curfew enforced since July 19 in Sabah's east coast has been extended till Jan 9, said state Police Commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman.
He said the curfew extension in the waters off the Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu, Kunak, Semporna and Tawau districts was needed to ensure public security.
The 7pm to 5am curfew is being enforced under the powers given to the police commissioner and Home Minister under Section 31(4) of the Police Act following the expiry of the 15-day curfew yesterday.
Jalaluddin said the curfew was necessary to check the trafficking of people, weapons and goods between Sabah, the Philippines and Indonesia.
"This will also ensure the safety of tourists and fishermen in Esszone (Eastern Sabah Security Zone)," he said in a statement.
He said fishermen could obtain a special permit to operate during the curfew period from the district police.
The curfew came in the wake of the July 12 attack on a marine police unit at a Pulau Mabul resort, where Kpl Ab Rajah Jamuan, 32, was shot dead while his colleague Kons Zakiah Aleip, 26, was abducted by gunmen.
It was the fourth incident involving cross-border kidnappers, who snatched five people from Sabah waters this year.
Four of the kidnap victims had been rescued, but Zakiah is still being held by Abu Sayyaf gunmen.
On April 2, tourist Gao Huayun, 29, from China and Filipina hotel worker Marcy Dayawan, 40, were taken from the Singamata Reef Resort near Semporna.
Chinese national Yang Zailin, 34, was abducted from the fish farm he was managing at Pulau Baik in Lahad Datu on May 6.
On June 16, gunmen once again struck at a fish farm at Kampung Sapang in Kunak and abducted its manager Chan Sai Chuin, 32.
Gao and Dayawan were released on May 30 while Yang was freed on July 9. Chan was released on Dec 10.