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ESSCom commander welcomes visits by embassies to get assurance of security

Publish date: Sun, 03 Dec 2023, 05:01 PM

LAHAD DATU, Dec 3 — Foreign embassies are welcome to visit the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) and survey the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESS Zone) to assure themselves of the security level in the area concerned, said ESSCom Commander Datuk Victor Sanjos.

“We can give them (embassies) the commitment and assurance that our ESS Zone is safe and they will get a clear picture of the situation.

“Then we hope they can update their respective countries’ travel advisory,” he told Bernama.

He was commenting on the United Kingdom’s (UK) latest travel advisory for the east coast of Sabah, stating that there is improved security in the area, particularly in Kudat, which forms part of the ESS Zone.

ESSCom was established 10 years ago in coordination with the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM), the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM), and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA).

The ESS Zone covers the districts of Kudat, Pitas, Kota Marudu, Beluran, Kinabatangan, Sandakan, Lahad Datu, Kunak, Semporna, and Tawau.

Victor said the updated travel advisory by the UK to its citizens visiting Sabah is a positive development for the growth of the zone.

It further proved that the presence of security teams in ESS Zone enhanced security and the well-being of the community, as well as boosted the economy, especially in terms of tourism, he added.

He said there was a significant increase in tourist arrivals at the ESS Zone and hoped that other countries would emulate the UK and update their travel advisories to Sabah as a safe destination.

“I believe one day positive travel advisories will be issued for the entire ESS Zone. So we need the cooperation of the state and federal governments, and all the ministries to facilitate ESS Zone’s exit from the ’red travel advisory’ list which is negatively impacting Sabah,” he said.

Victor also said ESSCom has numerous plans to enhance operations and its security teams, in terms of development and human resources capacity, to strengthen its state of preparedness through building new security posts along the coast.

The new security control posts include in Manalunan, Kinabatangan, and Kuala Maruap in Lahad Datu which are approved under the 2nd Rolling Plan of the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP), he added.

He said there will also be a new inland security control post at Poirgon, Kalabakan, and a patrol boat base at Sungai Seguntur, Sandakan, as well as proposals to enhance border control with a maritime surveillance radar system.

“It will be handled by the MMEA. There are also plans to procure unmanned aerial vehicles, drones, and long-range cameras for surveillance too,” he added.

He said it is critical to sustain public safety by increasing the capability and readiness of the force, and security post infrastructure with the use of high-tech security assets. — Bernama

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