KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 10 — Malaysia will allocate RM660 million to increase security in its state of Sabah on Borneo island, where incursions by armed gunmen have led to kidnappings and killings.
The government has approved two battalions with 1,280 personnel and will build two new camps in the area, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in his budget speech today. It will also upgrade an airport runway and relocate a squadron from Peninsula Malaysia to Labuan, a territory off the Borneo coast, he said.
“Military and security operation equipment will be further improved, such as procurement of high-capability monitoring radar,” Najib said.
Last year, a Philippine Muslim group invaded Sabah claiming sovereignty over the area and the operation to clear out the insurgents took several weeks and left at least 62 dead. In July, gunmen killed and kidnapped policemen at a diving resort off Sabah.
Sabah is Malaysia’s second-biggest state by land area and has a population of more than three million. The government will also relocate some water villages in stages, the prime minister said.
“The government hopes that through the initiative, the safety of Malaysians in Sabah will be safeguarded and economic activities to rebound,” he said. — Bloomberg