KOTA KINABALU, Sept 9 — Ahead of Budget 2023, the Sabah government is asking Putrajaya for more money so that it can increase border security along its east coast.
State Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal has previously complained that security in the region was insufficient.
"I have requested for an increase in allocation to strengthen our security assets, especially on the east coast,” Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor told reporters after Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani gave a briefing on the current security situation in the north Borneo state.
Hajiji said that he has been consistently asking the federal government for security funding.
He disclosed that his most recent request was made during the meeting of the Special Council on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) yesterday, which was chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
He said he had asked for an upgrade of General Operations Force (GOF) security outposts at the Malaysia–Indonesia border in Sebatik Island, along with a Skuadron 69 Commando in Lahad Datu, a new marine police base in Kampung Lok Poring, Sepanggar and a police training centre or Pulapol at Kampung Laya-Laya, Tuaran.
Hajiji related that he was told during the MA63 meeting that two new GOF battalions would be set up at Nabawan and Kunak in addition to the existing five battalions in the state.
"With seven GOF battalions, Sabah will have the largest GOF presence in the country,” he said.
On the request for an additional area at the police air unit base in Tanjung Aru, Hajiji informed that it had already been approved.
Other senior security and government officials present were Bukit Aman Internal Security and Public Order Department Director Datuk Hazani Ghazali, Sabah police commissioner Datuk Idris Abdullah among and state attorney-general, Datuk Nor Asiah Yusof.
Last week, Shafie, who is Semporna MP, called on the government to place more security assets in Semporna, which was a popular tourist destination for all its surrounding islands.
"It is important for the Defence Ministry, in particular, to put defence assets and national security equipment at places of interest such as these. It should not put these important security assets at far away places that would take a long time to arrive at the destination, especially during emergencies,” he said.