KANGAR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's Home Ministry has given security forces the go-ahead to shoot when faced with intruders encroaching into Malaysian waters and deemed a threat to national security, overriding a statement by the Attorney-General earlier.
Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that if only shooting could stop intruders, the shooting was justified.
"The government has no problem with the shooting order if intruders try to enter the country," he said when commenting on a request by Navy chief Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar.
Earlier in the day, Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail had rejected the Navy chief's suggestion, saying that Malaysia is not a military state.
Adm Abdul Aziz had urged the government to issue the orders following another intrusion at the resort in Mabul Island, Semporna, Sabah, where a marine policeman was killed and another kidnapped two days ago.
Dr Ahmad Zahid also promised more changes to Esscom, the security force in charge of the eastern Sabah once police take over its operations today.
"We must also be proactive, not wait for someone to attack us and then react. The new procedures will include surveillance and control," said Dr Ahmad Zahid.
He added that resort operators in Mabul Island would also be asked to install CCTV to record the movement of traffic in their areas and to avoid similar intrusions.
"They should spend some money for long term benefits. If such resorts are closed down, it will be a big loss to them.
Abdul Gani had said earlier that although laws must not be amended, police could shoot on sight the suspected terrorists.
"Yes, the police can shoot if they are terrorists, and if they intend to cause harm to us," he said.
Adm Abdul Aziz had made the call, saying that the security threats from the Philippines were not scared when local authorities fired warning shots at them.
"According to our shooting control orders and existing rules, we are only allowed to shoot as part of our defence and cannot shoot on sight. And this has prevented authorities to thwart attempts carried out by them.
"This is especially important when authorities are involved in a shootout," he explained. "If we do not shoot them, they can easily escape and we cannot stop these incidents from occurring again," he said.
"We need to be a military-ruled state to adopt it."