SEMPORNA, (March 8 )– The Sabah East Coast Security Command (ESSCom) today detained 262 individuals, believed to be illegal immigrants, for not having valid travel documents or personal identification.
ESSCom Director-General Datuk Mohammad Mentek said the 262 individuals were detained during the ‘Ops GASAK 3’ carried out at Pulau Nusa Tengah and Pondohon (huts on the sea near Pulau Nusa Tengah), in Semporna waters.
He said the detainees, aged between six months and 76 years, were rounded up during the operation beginning at 6am until about 2pm, adding that 121 of them were men.
“We carried out an inspection and detained those who did not have any self-identification document or possessing doubtful documents, and handed them over to the Immigration Department for further action,” he said after observing the Gasak 3 operations, here Saturday.
Also present were the Director of ESSCom’s Security and Public Order Division, Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun, Director of ESSCom’s Defence Division Maj Gen Datuk Masrani Paiman and Director of the Defence Intelligence Division Maj Gen Datuk Mohd Noor Osman.
Mohammad said ‘Ops Gasak 3’ was an integrated operation involving the Royal Malaysia Police, Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF), Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and several other agencies including the Immigration Department, National Registration Department and the Semporna Distirct Office.
“The succes was due to the close cooperation between the various agencies wich were involved in the Ops Gasak 3 which aimed, among other things, to rid the East Sabah Security Zone (Esszone) of illegal immigrants,” he said.
He said that the Ops Gasak, which were previously concentrated on the islands, could possibly be expanded to include the water settlements in future.
Mohammad also called on the Semporna district council to demolish the houses occupied by the illegal immigrants to ensure that they would not come back to the district, pasticularly in Pulau Nusa Tengah.
The Ops GASAK 3 was a follow-up to Ops GASAK 2 in Kalapuan on Dec 29 last year, and Ops Gasak 1 which was launched on Nov 24 involving four islands, namely, Pulau Pom Pom, Pulau Mataking, Pulau Mabul and Kapalai which were all located in the ESSZone area.– BERNAMA