Thursday, June 8

Stern action for leaking security intelligence


KUALA LUMPUR: Stern action will be taken on individuals who contravene the law, including committing treason, to ensure leak in our country’s security intelligence will not recur, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Shahidan Kassim.

He said the security agencies had procedures in place to verify the authenticity of intelligence received from locals.

Shahidan said this in response to Senator Datuk Chin Su Phin’s question at the Dewan Negara sitting here recently.

Chin had asked the Prime Minister the forms of cooperation adopted between Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) and local communities to ensure security.

Shahidan said the East Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone) spanned 1,733.7 kilometres along the coastline and covered 10 districts and 360 islands.

He said cooperation and support from the locals were required, especially in providing information pertaining to security and entry of illegal immigrants.

Among the programmes or activities carried out by ESSCom to promote cooperation with the local communities include establishing a strategic partnership with the Department of National Unity and Integration (JPNIN), setting up patrolling schemes and Rukun Tetangga groups, meeting with community leaders and youths, setting up Sahabat ESSCom and voluntary units to ensure security in residential areas.

In his supplementary question, Chin had pointed out that some locals and illegal immigrants had conspired to provide information to intruders during the invasion in Lahad Datu and abduction incidents in Sabah.

Hence, Chin wanted to know the measures undertaken by the government to ensure operation and security programmes involving the locals or Rukun Tetangga members were not leaked to outsiders, as well as the screening process undertaken by ESSCom to ensure information provided by the locals and Rukun Tetangga was genuine.

Shahidan admitted that some locals had played a part in the intrusion in the east coast of Sabah, abductions and cross border crimes prior to the establishment of ESSCom and ESSZone.

He said many locals in the east coast originated from the Philippines and therefore had familial or economic ties with their counterparts there.

However, Shahidan assured that the security agencies had taken various measures to stop locals from supplying intelligence that could harm our nation’s security since the set up of ESSCom.

He went on to say that the government had also recruited locals to join voluntary security bodies such as the Civil Defence Department, RELA and Askar Wataniah.

“There are views that if we equip locals with military training, it will encourage foreigners to intrude our country as they have trained counterparts here.

“But we instill in their mindset that this is our country where we earn a living, where our children study and where their future lies,” he said, adding that the effort to defend our country was a collective effort.