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Eastern Sabah Security Command Defence Intelligence Staff Deputy Chief Colonel Idris Borhan. Pix by Edmund Samunting

KOTA KINABALU: The Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) will continue reviewing its action plan to further improve security in Sabah's east coast.

Despite the latest kidnapping incident involving fishermen, Esscom's Defence Intelligence Staff Deputy Chief Colonel Idris Borhan said the Eastern Sabah Safety Zone (Esszone) was under control, thanks to continuous sea patrol operations.

"Since Esscom was established, kidnap-for-ransom activity has decreased from 2014 to 2018. Prior to the latest incident last month, the last kidnapping occurred in December 2016.

"Last year, we recorded zero kidnappings. We have an action plan, so when such an event takes place, we will review it and look into what needs to be done next," he said.

Idris was responding to questions on security at the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Sabah Chapter Industry Dialogue Session here yesterday.

He stressed that Esscom, which comprises of various security and enforcement bodies, will continue conducting patrols in areas prone to cross-border crimes, including Sandakan, Lahad Datu, and Semporna.

"At the moment, we have placed security personnel on islands. We have Navy ships between Sandakan and Lahad Datu as well as between Lahad Datu and Tawau.

"We have also placed special forces at strategic places, so they can act quickly. Of course, we have the ordinary security forces too but they will not be able to give immediate assistance when an emergency occurs," he said.

To a question on the European countries issuing travel advisory cautioning its citizens against travelling to Sabah's east coast, Idris reiterated that the Sabah mainland is safe.

"They have probably gotten the wrong information (with regards to Sabah's security situation). The land area is safe and we have sea curfews in place," he said.

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