KOTA KINABALU: Malaysians and foreigners were being targeted as high value ‘trade items’ by terrorists, said Senallang assemblyman Dato Sri Haji Nasir Tun Haji Sakaran.
“This is proven during the Pulau Ligitan incident which saw Malaysians being kidnapped while the five crew members from Myanmar and Indonesia were released. This indicates a trend that is worrying Malaysians,” he said at the state assembly sitting yesterday.
Nasir added that with the high ransom amount, it was not impossible for revenge to be part of their motive.
He said indirectly, such incidences were proofs that the existence of commanders at every state assembly constituency was real.
He said the deputy prime minister had recently mentioned the appointment of 60 commanders from the southern Philippines to create disturbances at 60 constituencies in Sabah.
“Their modus operandi remained unknown and cannot be viewed lightly,” he said.
Nasir also said it is unfair to put the blame fully on the security forces, particularly the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom), for the kidnapping incident in the national waters recently.
He said everyone should be more realistic and look positively at the various progress carried out by ESSCom including preventing several abduction cases in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone) earlier.
“What is certain is that the implementation of the curfew in several areas in the ESSZone, an increase in the number of security personnel and assets as well as the establishment of a forward operations base are proactive measures that give a positive impact.
“But when cases of security threats such as kidnapping occur, theeffectiveness of all these measures and initiatives would be questioned again,” he said.
In this regard, Nasir said there was a need to adopt a holistic and comprehensive approach that focused on the multi-dimensional motives for the kidnapping which involved citizenships, and the differences in law institutions and contextual factors.
He added that for the purpose, a collaboration between implementers and specialists in related fields must take place to create opinions that were conclusive.
“This will take into consideration that the terrorists have the support of high information technology to carry out their kidnapping activities as they are able to penetrate the country’s defence. At least, if the aspects mentioned are identified and neutralised, the cross border crime can be resolved fully,” he said.
Klias assemblyman Datuk Lajim Haji Ukin said the government must restore the confidence of traders, investors and the people who are worried about the prolonged security threat in Sabah’s east coast.
He said the allocation of more than half a billion ringgit must focus on direct impact activities to strengthen military movement at Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom).
Lajim also said Sabah’s east coast faced critical security threats and had been forced to undergo prolonged curfews.
“It has been recorded as the state with the highest incidents of kidnapping for ransom. From 2000 to 2016, a total of 13 kidnapping and kidnapping attempt cases have been recorded,” he said.
He added that the security issue needed to be addressed as it was a threat that would influence Sabah’s economy.
“Prior to this, only the tourism sector was directly influenced from the security threat. But now the terrorists have widened their targets to fishing boats, trading ships, seaweed farms, plantation and ‘bagang’,” he said.
Lajim also said the recent revelation by the deputy prime minister that Sulu terrorists had appointed “commanders” at every state assembly area in Sabah in an effort to establish the Sulu Sultanate in Sabah had raised the concerns of the people of Sabah.