KUNDASANG (Sabah), June 16 ― Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today an “inside job” cannot be ruled out in the disappearance of a Malaysian tanker in the waters off eastern Johor on June 12.
He said that based on his experience as the defence minister at one time as well as taking into account the position of the tanker when it disappeared, it was most probably robbery at sea aided by an “inside job”.
The tanker, believed to be carrying about 6,000 tonnes of petrol, went missing in the waters near Tanjung Sedili, Johor. It had 22 crew on board.
“With our 'eyes in the sky' (air patrols by Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore andIndonesia), there is no more piracy.
“What happened was 'sea robbery'. From what can be gleaned from the information received, knowledge of where the tanker was and what it was carrying could not have been obtained without inside help,” he said.
Dr Ahmad Zahid spoke to reporters after attending a briefing on the June 5 earthquake in Sabah that claimed 18 lives and damaged infrastructure and property.
He also handed out certificates of appreciation to agencies under the ministry which were involved in the rescue operation in the wake of the quake.
Earlier, the minister went to Bundu Tuhan and handed over aid to the families of four mountain guides who were killed in the earthquake.
The marine police, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and the Royal Malaysian Navy are looking for the missing tanker, Orkim Harmony.
Dr Ahmad Zahid also said that Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Tee Chee Hean had expressed appreciation over Malaysia's efforts in extending assistance to Singaporeans scaling Mount Kinabalu in Sabah during the earthquake.
He said Teo, who is also Singapore home affairs minister, spoke to him by telephone three days after the earthquake and praised the efficiency of the Malaysian rescuers.
Dr Ahmad Zahid also said that 78 policemen and their families in Ranau had to be moved to a safe zone after the earthquake caused cracks at their quarters near the Ranau district police headquarters.
Besides the Ranau police headquarters, the Kota Belud and Tuaran district police headquarters as well as the Tamparuli police station also suffered damage. ― Bernama