TAWAU, Oct 22 — The Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) will deploy two platoons and 18 boats to strengthen security in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone).
Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) Commander Datuk Ahmad Fuad Othman said that the matter was relayed to him by the Chief of Defence Force General Tan Sri Affendi Buang in a video conference yesterday.
“We are waiting for assistance from the MAF and this (assistance) is an ongoing process and when there are additional on-duty personnel and security assets, we will design the operation accordingly, based on the threat.
“We take into account the threat of militants, Abu Sayyaf groups, as well as kidnap-for-ransom groups as well as dealing with the entry of illegal immigrants who are exposed to COVID-19,” he said when met by reporters after inspecting the Inderasabah security post here today.
He said that currently almost 1,000 security personnel are involved in planned operations involving Illegals Prevention Operation (OCP) both in the waters and on land, roadblocks and the Road Check Point (RCP).
“We have identified 70 illegal immigrants focal points, via Sandakan, Lahad Datu, Semporna, Kunak and Tawau and, we have deployed 42 ships and patrol boats to monitor the waters in the areas involved,” he said.
He said that as of now the ‘designated operation’ has been effective and the infiltration of illegal immigrants was reduced based on deportation statistics recorded by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and the Marine Police Force (PPM) from April until Sept.
“There was a significant change, that in April, a total of 1,400 deportation cases were recorded compared with only 215 in September. This is also strengthened by the MAF-owned radar which recorded a drop in the number of illegal immigrant boats,” he said.
In the meantime, he hoped that the government will give due consideration to ESSCom’s application to increase air assets to intensify security patrols in ESSZone.
Earlier, Ahmad Fuad also inspected the security post at Wallace Bay and Burs Points. -BERNAMA