Semporna cleared of illegal staff

KOTA KINABALU - Resorts in Sabah's east coast Semporna have cleared their workforce of all illegal workers after they were warned a week ago that action would be taken against them.

Eastern Sabah Security Com­mand (Esscom) director-general Datuk Mohammad Mentek, who visited the resorts on five islands and reefs in Semporna, said they had complied with the directive by Esscom not to hire illegal immigrants.

"I am very satisfied with the cooperation shown by resort operators in the area," he said, adding that the operators were also implementing various security measures including installing CCTVs and employing more trained guards.

Mohammad said the excuse by some operators not to employ locals because they could not speak English was unacceptable as many resorts in other parts of the country were employing locals without any problem.

The move to ensure that resorts operating along the southern Philippines borders are without any illegal workers came amidst suspicion that Filipinos were tipping off gunmen from across the border.

This came about following the April 2 kidnapping of a Chinese tourist Gao Huayun, 29, and Singamata Reef Resort worker Marcy Dayawan, 40, by Filipino gunmen linked to Abu Sayyaf groups.

The Philippines has maintained that they have yet to obtain any information on the whereabouts of the two hostages while Malaysian officials believe they are getting closer towards securing their release.