Travel restrictions in Sabah to take effect after latest kidnap case

KOTA KINABALU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Curfew and travel restrictions will be imposed in high-risk areas off the coast of Sabah following the latest kidnapping, said Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman.

"Drastic action will be taken with the implementation of Control Areas where travel will either not be allowed or restricted based on time, place and situation.

"Whoever enters these areas will need to get permission and a permit from the police," said Mr Musa in statement following Thursday's abduction of a Chinese national from a fish farm in Baik Island.

Mr Yang Zai Lin, the manager of Wonderful Terrace Fish Farm, was kidnapped by five gunmen at 2.45 am on Thursday.

Mr Musa added that police, who will enforce the restrictions, will provide further details about the implementation of Control Areas.

He said Designated Routes would also be enforced in high-risk areas.

"Ships and boats will only be allowed to used these routes," he said.

Mr Musa, who held an emergency meeting with the State Emergency Council, also announced that Forward Bases would be set up in strategic areas to monitor and safeguard Sabah waters.

Mr Musa said logistics ships would also be used as mother ships or hubs and platforms for refuelling patrol boats to cut down on time and cost.

He said changes will also be made in the structure and organisation of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) and that an improved radar system would be introduced.

"We will also improve the capabilities of security forces specifically in terms of logistics such as speed boats at these high risk areas," he said.

Musa also announced a greater psychological initiative and an emphasis on psychological warfare to instil awareness among the people that they are the first line of defence.

He added that Esscom's communications and Standard Operation Procedures would be improved to ensure information is channelled quickly to all security agencies.

Musa said the kidnappings were a major concern and would be stopped at all cost.

He said as chief minister and chairman of the state security council it was his responsibility to ensure the safety of all Sabahan and visitors.

"Therefore I urge the public, particularly those living in the East Cost of Sabah, to cooperate with authorities to ensure security," he said.