SANDAKAN, (April) — A large part of the RM200-million allocation for the ‘Ops Daulat’ exercise following the Sulu terrorist intrusion in Kampung Tanduo, Lahad Datu, early last year is known to have been used to purchase defence and security assets, according to the Libaran branch of the Malay right-wing organisation Perkasa.
The branch chairman, Sahar Sakka, said it was learnt that the expenditure included the construction of new police stations before the establishment of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom).
“The rest of the allocation was distributed to the Home Ministry, Defence Ministry, the police, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and National Security Council to tighten security in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone),” he said in a statement here Wednesday.
He was criticising DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang’s post on his blog that parliament should close down the ESSCom if, after spending RM300 million, all it could say after the latest abduction in Semporna was that it was “powerless in ESSZone”.
“What he is saying is clearly not true. He’s just trying to twist the facts for political gain and also mocking Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s commitment to ensure Sabah’s peace and security through the establishment of the ESSCom,” he said.
He stressed that ESSCom “only received RM2.94 million for setting up and management purposes.
“So, I want to ask Kit Siang, how has ESSCom wasted the RM300 allocation?” he asked.
ESSCom was established on April 1 last year under the Prime Minister’s Department to co-ordinate the operation of various security and defence agencies in the ESSZone.
The ESSZone spans a coastline of 1,733.7 kilometres and covers 10 districts, namely Kudat, Kota Marudu, Pitas, Beluran, Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu, Kunak, Semporna and Tawau.
Meanwhile, in Lahad Datu, thousands of people from Tanjung Labian and the surrounding villages were angry at Kit Siang over his suggestion to close down the ESSCom.
Kampung Tanjung Labian village head Mahmud Mallang said the establishment of ESSCom was a progressive step and its presence gave Sabahans new hope.
“We still remember the terror and hardship we faced when forced to flee our homes when the terrorists came. We were sheltered at the Felda Sahabat relief centre for weeks.
“But everything changed for the better once the security forces defeated them and the government set up the ESSCom. It’s easier for us to make a living with the peace and security now,” he told Bernama Wednesday, adding that the villagers were grateful to the prime minister for having done this.
He stressed that it was unreasonable for any party, especially the opposition, to deny “our right to a peaceful and harmonious life” solely due to the Singamata Resort kidnapping.
Echoing the same stance, Tanjung Labian Zone community leader Assafal Alian said to do so would be grossly unfair.
“Even before ESSCom there were kidnappings in Semporna and it can happen anywhere. The important thing is to find a solution and for all parties to shoulder the responsibility,” he said. — BERNAMA