BERNAMA – ESSCom Should Boost Intellligence Cooperation With Philippines

KUALA LUMPUR, June 16 (Bernama) — Security in the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) areas not only depends on the assets and personnel of the ESSCom, but should also involve cooperation in terms of intelligence with the Philippines.

Home Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the existence of the ESSCom should never be disputed, but it should enhance intelligence cooperation with the Philippines to avoid any form of crime in the area.

“We should not depend on upgrading our assets and equipment alone, but we have to strenghthen our intelligence networking with the government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).

“Efforts also have been taken to strenghthen the position of our people in order to monitor their movements,” he said after receiving a courtesy call from the United States Ambassador to Malaysia, Joseph Y.Yun at a hotel, near here Monday.

Ahmad Zahid said this when commenting on the latest kidnapping incident in Kunak, Semporna, Sabah at midnight last night involving two men, one of whom was a caretaker of a caged-fish breeding project while the other was a man from the Suluk ehtnic group, who were abducted by two armed men in Kampung Sapang, west of Pulau Timbun Mata.

“As their aim is to collect ransom, they will continue to carry out such activities. I know the culture of this group is to take revenge and make this as a source of earning an income.

“So, I feel that ESSCom must be more prepared in taking any action and never be complacent in carrying out their operations. I’m confident this can be done by ESSCom officers, particularly the military taking over the leadership in ESSCom operations,” he said.

Ahmad Zahid meanwhile gave the assurance that victims of the kidnappings would be traced with the cooperation of everyone, including the Royal Malaysia Police.

Concerning his meeting, he said the United States had offered high-powered boats to boost security in the national waters, especially in Sabah, “which will be deployed to the Royal Malaysian Navy.”

“At the meeting, we discussed four main issues namely visa exemption for visits to the United States, transnational crime, efforts to overcome the problems of militants and ‘trafficking in person’,” he added.

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