Sabah security command may have leaked info to Abu Sayyaf militants: Malaysia DPM

Malaysia Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said officers of the Esscom may have leaked vital information to cross-border kidnappers.
Malaysia Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said officers of the Esscom may have leaked vital information to cross-border kidnappers. PHOTO: REUTERS

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said officers of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) may have leaked vital information to cross-border kidnappers, allowing them to launch attacks in the waters off Sabah.

"I am not accusing anyone but it's not impossible. I am concerned that the enemies are getting information on Esscom operations and using it to carry out kidnap-for-ransom against our citizens," said Dr Ahmad Zahid.

Responding to the latest incident where a group of armed men hit twice in Sabah waters, Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said the spate of kidnappings carried out by the Abu Sayyaf group was meant to obtain ransom to support militancy and terrorism activities.

"We believe money obtained from kidnappings is then channelled to Katibah Nusantara to strengthen its position in South-east Asia and to finance terror activities," he said in reference to a group of Indonesian and Malaysian fighters with the Islamic State (ISIS).

On whether the authorities would launch an investigation on a possible leak, Dr Ahmad Zahid said he and Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein had discussed the matter.

"We also have something in the pipeline to strengthen enforcement along the east coast of Sabah," he said after closing a conference on Islamic economy organised by the Islamic Consultative Council.