LAHAD DATU, Jan 16 — A special meeting is expected to be held to consider a proposal by the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) to do away with the dusk-to-dawn curfew off the Sabah east coast.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador said today the matter has been raised with Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.
“The decision (to remove the curfew) can only be made at a special meeting which the chief minister will call,” he told reporters after a visit to the ESSCom headquarters here.
The curfew, from 6 pm to 6 am, was imposed on July 19, 2014, in a coastal belt of sea off the districts of Sandakan, Beluran, Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu, Kunak, Semporna and Tawau to check attacks by militant groups.
Abdul Hamid said ESSCom has also proposed that the curfew be retained in four hotspots in ESSZone for the benefit of the marine biology and security, namely Pulau Ligitan (Tawau); Pegasus Reef (Kinabatangan); Alice Reef (Kunak) and Geem Reef (Lahad Datu).
He said the proposal to remove the curfew was made following a study on its effectiveness over such a long time and the improvement in the security situation.
He also said that the removal of the curfew would facilitate Sabah offshore fishermen and convince foreign tourists to come to the state, popularly known as the Land Below the Wind.
Abdul Hamid suggested that representatives of the Customs Department, Immigration Department and the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry be included into the ESSCom to strengthen it.
The current members come from the Royal Malaysia Police, Malaysian Armed Forces, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and the public.
“This is to ensure that any plan and action as well as issue can be attended to collectively,” he said, adding that ESSCom remains relevant and has to be improved.
Abdul Hamid said yesterday’s rescue of an Indonesian national who was abducted off Lahad Datu waters last year by the Abu Sayyaf militant group resolved all the kidnapping cases that occurred off Sabah.
Muhamad Farhan Mahruddin, 27, was rescued by the Joint Task Force Sulu in Barangay Bato Bato, Indanan, Sulu, southern Philippines, at 6.45pm and is now undergoing treatment at the Navarro Camp General Hospital in Sulu.
He is expected to be handed over to Indonesia after the treatment.
Muhamad Farhan was abducted along with two others on September 23 last year. The two others were rescued on December 22. — Bernama