KOTA KINABALU, Sept 22 — Security in Sabah has been stepped up ahead of polling on Saturday to prevent foreign elements from creating trouble including committing kidnappings, said Sabah police commissioner Datuk Hazani Ghazali.
He said the security forces would ensure that such threats could be neutralised.
“There were attempts to commit kidnapping (for ransom). We received this information from our Philippine counterparts...there were attempts (by criminals) there to come over to commit this crime,” he added.
In fact, there had been nine attempts by criminal groups from the Philippines who had wanted to enter Sabah to commit kidnapping for ransom since May this year, he said.
Hazani was speaking to reporters after observing the early voting process at the Senior Officers’ Mess of the Sabah police headquarters here today.
Two days ago, Hazani said police had received information that elements from a neighbouring country were planning to enter Sabah in big numbers to create trouble during polling on Saturday.
However, Hazani refused to give any details on the information.
“During the 2018 General Election, there was a kidnapping case in Tambisan, Lahad Datu, and since the police would be very busy with the ongoing state election, we anticipate elements from a neighbouring country would try to enter Sabah to create trouble.
“That is why we tightened our maritime border controls, not just during the election but all the time, to ensure lasting peace and security for Sabah,” he said.
Meanwhile, Hazani also said that the police had received 35 reports over the remark by a former minister contesting in Sabah state election who alleged that the Lahad Datu armed intrusion in 2013 was a farce.
Of the total, 28 were lodged in Sabah, and seven others, in the peninsula.
“An investigation paper has been opened and the case is being investigated under Section 500 and 505 B of the Penal Code and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.
“The Bukit Aman Organised Crime Investigation Division will take full charge of the investigation,” he said, adding that the candidate is most likely to be called to give his statement after the conclusion of the state election. — Bernama