Attempted robbery an isolated case, says Hajiji

KOTA KINABALU (Apr 24): The recent attempted robbery in the East Coast waters of Sabah is an isolated case, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Hajiji Noor.

Speaking at the winding up session of the State Assembly sititng on Wednesday, Hajiji said based on the records of the last five years, only a few cases had occurred in the area.

“The incident happened during the festive season when residents in the surrounding area were busy going out to celebrate Eid and carrying money to buy necessities in conjunction with the festival.

“The situation caused the sea to become busy and the suspect used this opportunity to commit robberies.

“Currently, Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) and security agencies are intensifying operations to track down the suspects involved who are believed to have fled the country’s waters,” he said when responding to a question raised by opposition leader Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal on the issue.

According to Hajiji, the investigation found that all three suspects were involved in a criminal case and one of the them was also on the list of people wanted by ESSCom.

Hajiji stressed security issue is a priority for the State Government and it is important to safeguard the sovereignty of the country and ensure the security situation at the maritime border covering the archipelago, coastal and river areas as well as the land border especially in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone) is in a good and controlled condition.

“Since ESSCom was established on April 1, 2013, the State Government is satisfied with the role played by the agency as the leader and operational coordinator of the security forces which consist of the Malaysian Armed Forces, the Royal Malaysian Police and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.

“This agency has curbed the invasion of foreign elements into the region and has helped raise the image of Sabah, especially in the East Coast area of Sabah, as safe and prosperous for foreign investors or tourists to visit.

“In addition, ESSCom also assists enforcement and security departments or agencies such as the Enforcement Division of the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Cost of Living, the Royal Malaysian Customs Department and the Malaysian Immigration Department through various integrated operations to curb elements of cross-border crime involving the smuggling of contraband, controlled goods, subsidized and tax-free as well as the entry of illegal immigrants,” he added.