PUTRAJAYA, March 22 – The Home Ministry has shifted into high gear over the setting up of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) by fine-tuning the tasks and responsibilities to be played by all relevant parties.
The coordination among three main components, namely the public, the armed forces and the police is vital to ensure peace and security along the vast 1,400km of coastline under ESSCOM, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein(Pic). He said the people was a very important component as the first line of defence in building public confidence.
“That’s why we have Rela, JPAM (Department of Civil Defence), village heads and JKKK (village security and development committee) along with the people to become the eyes and ears of the government,” he told reporters after chairing a special meeting on coordination of tasks and responsibilities in ESSCOM here, today.
On Ops Daulat, he said the mopping-up operations to flush out the remnants of Sulu terrorists were still confined to Kampung Tanjung Batu Labian where between 20 and 50 terrorists were believed to be holed up. Until yesterday, 350 people have been arrested for various offences, 107 of them under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, he said, adding that other acts would also be used against them, including the Immigration Act and the Explosives Act.
He said the army and the police were still stationed in Kampung Tandou and Sungai Nyamuk, which had since been declared free from terrorists, to ensure that the terrorists would not return to the villages. On Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s claim that the leader of the Sulu terrorists, Agbimudin Kiram was a Malaysian and even a former assistant district officer in Kudat, Sabah in 1975, Hishammuddin said:
“A terrorist is a terrorist whether he is a Malaysian citizen or not. What matter most was what he had done to our country. Whatever action we are going to take will be based on our sovereignty and national security.
“The claim must be confirmed by the authorities first. My press conference today is to see the whole picture, not to be distracted by other issues.”
On the Police Day on Monday, he said the celebration would start today with tahlil and thanksgiving prayers followed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s visit to the Police Training Centre in Jalan Semarak tomorrow and a parade to be attended by the prime minister on Monday.
Hishammuddin said the Police Day would be celebrated in a solemn atmosphere to appreciate the contributions and sacrifices made by the security forces in safeguarding the security and sovereignty of the country.