The Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) which is responsible for coordinating the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone) will be strengthened with an allocation of RM660 million, said Datuk Seri Najib Razak. The Prime Minister said the allocation included the addition of one battalion of the General Operations Force (GOF) of the Royal Malaysia Police and one battalion of the army with an approved additional manpower of 1,280 personnel. Pix by FARHAN NAJIB

KUALA LUMPUR: The Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) which is responsible for coordinating the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone) will be strengthened with an allocation of RM660 million, said Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

The Prime Minister said the allocation included the addition of one battalion of the General Operations Force (GOF) of the Royal Malaysia Police and one battalion of the army with an approved additional manpower of 1,280 personnel.

Najib, who is also the Finance Minister, said two new camps would be built at the ESSZone, namely the GOF 20th Battalion Camp in Beluran and the Malaysian Armed Forces Camp in Felda Sahabat, Lahad Datu, Sabah.

“In addition, military and security operations equipment will be further improved, such as the procurement of high-capability monitoring radar,” he said when tabling the Budget 2015 with the theme ‘People Economy’ at the Dewan Rakyat, here today.

ESSZone covers 10 districts stretching 1,733.7 kilometres from Kudat to Tawau. The districts involved are Kudat, Kota Marudu, Pitas, Beluran, Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu, Kunak, Semporna, and Tawau.

The Prime Minister said the government would also use one oil rig which had been refurbished and an auxiliary ship as sea basing in the ESSZone waters with an allocation of RM230 million through the PETRONAS Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program.

“Furthermore, to enable high-capacity aircraft to land, the government will upgrade the runway at the airport in Lahad Datu as well as relocate the Hawk Squadron from Butterworth to Labuan with an allocation of RM50 million,” he said.

Najib said the government would also relocate water villages in Semporna and Sandakan in stages.

“The government hopes that through the initiative, the safety of Malaysians in Sabah will be safeguarded and economic activities to rebound,” he added.

The formation of ESSCom was announced by the Prime Minister during his visit to Lahad Datu on March 7, last year following the intrusion by a group of terrorists from Sulu in Kampung Tanduo in February last year.– BERNAMA