Wednesday, March 20

Boats flying political flags mere allegations – assistant minister


Arifin Asgali

KOTA KINABALU: No legal action has been taken against any boat owners and fishing vessels as the issue of flying political flags on the vessels to avoid checking by the armed forces in ESSZone waters that appeared on social media were mere allegations, said Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister, Arifin Asgali.

Arifin, who represented Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, when delivering the winding up speech for the Chief Minister’s Department (JKM) yesterday, reiterated that the security forces and ESSCom, in particular, regularly monitor and inspect boats and fishing vessels, suspected of law violation, in the area.

“Appropriate action is imposed on all boat owners and vessels who do not comply with regulations and laws, such as flying a particular logo to avoid checks by security forces,” Arifin said on the matter raised by Tambunan assemblyman Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan (GS-STAR).

“However, for the information of Assembly members, there has never been any boat owner or fishing vessel in the ESSZone area being subjected to legal action as the issue of logo flagging was merely allegations that were spread on social media recently,” he added.

Arifin was referring to the recent social media claims that fishing boats and others vessels flying the Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) flag had been able to escape checks by security forces.

The allegations were sparked by a widely-shared picture of a boat flying a Warisan flag, with an accompanying message that such boats will not be checked as they were above the law.

Arifin assured that ESSCom will ensure that the issue will not arise in the ESSZone waters and advised boat and fishing vessel owners to always adhere to the law and cooperate with the security forces for the good of all.

The Assistant Minister also addressed another issue raised by Kitingan regarding the establishment of new ministries.

“The government have submitted a Cabinet Paper on the creation or change of name for the relevant ministries and it has been tabled at the Cabinet Meeting for approval before it was gazetted and enforced,” he said.

Arifin also assured the Tambunan assemblyman that Sabah’s rights, embodied in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) is among the Warisan-led government’s highest priorities.

“This is evident in the manifesto of the party as the pertinent Sabah rights not only needed to be heard and known, but the Federal Government must also fulfill the people’s demands on Sabah’s rights in the formation of Malaysia,” stressed Arifin, who is also Parti Warisan Sabah Sekong assemblyman.