KUALA LUMPUR (23 Nov) – The establishment of Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone) had successfully reduced armed intrusions by foreigners, cross-border crimes and illegal landings by immigrants.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim told Dewan Rakyat that the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom), which monitors districts under Esszone, views seriously the rising number of illegal immigrants in Sabah.
“In order to deal with the situation, Esscom are working closely with all relevant government agencies including the armed forces, Immigration Department, National Registration Department and the police.
“Numerous joint operations such as Ops Gasak had been carried out on a daily basis and the coastal waters of eastern Sabah covering 10 districts are constantly monitored to prevent the entry of illegal immigrants.
“The joint operations leveraged on the National Blue Ocean Strategy which brings together several government agencies in an operation,” he said in reply to Juslie Ajirol (BN-Libaran) during the Minister’s Question and Answer (MQT) session.
He said Esscom had detained 1,156 people comprising locals and illegal immigrants during joint operations from January to September this year.
At the same time, he said the government had no plans to extend the areas monitored under Esscom.
The minister also noted that more than 6,000 People’s Volunteers Corps (Rela) members from the 10 districts will be stationed within Esszone as second-liners to safeguard the area.
The districts under Esscom are Kudat, Kota Marudu, Pitas, Beluran, Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu, Kunak, Semporna and Tawau.
In reply to a supplementary question from Stephen Wong Tien Fatt (DAP-Sandakan), he said the public had faced no difficulties in calling Esscom when they needed help.
— New Straits Times