KOTA KINABALU, Sept 2 — Sabah opposition leader Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal has urged the authorities to beef up security in Semporna after he received news of criminal activities in the waters there recently.
The Semporna MP said he heard that some local seaweed farmers were kidnapped, robbed and threatened by a gang believed to be members of security forces while on their way to selling their produce near Siamil island.
“If what has been reported to me is true, then it is very heartbreaking to me because our security forces are the ones who are supposed to protect our safety and public order but have instead become the perpetrators of criminal activities.
“What is happening to our security system?” he asked.
The Parti Warisan president said it is imperative that the Defence Ministry focuses its assets and equipment on places of importance like Semporna, which borders the Philippine and is popular for its beautiful islands.
“Don’t place important assets in faraway places that will take a long time to reach the focus destinations when there is an emergency,” he said.
Shafie said the government allocates billions of ringgit each year for security and defence of the country, so it is unlikely that the government does not want to place security assets in hotspots with frequent intrusions and robbery cases.
He urged the Defence Ministry and Home Ministry to take the matter seriously and not compromise on the people’s safety.
The waters off Semporna are part of the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone) which is subjected to a sea curfew from dusk to dawn to prevent cross border crime.
However, police have not confirmed or denied the allegations.