KINABATANGAN: Six main contributing factors to smuggling activities and the entry of illegal immigrants in Sabah, particularly in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone), said by Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) commander, Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun here the other day.
He said among the factors were the ESSZone including Kinabatangan’s close proximity to Indonesia and the Philippines and the lower price of goods in Malaysia than in these neighbouring countries.
He said Malaysia’s rapid economic growth which provided ample job opportunities with reasonable wages compared to their countries also contributed to the influx of foreign illegals into Sabah.
“Besides that, the wide sea area and state’s long coastal line of 1,777.3 km from Kudat to Tawau also make control of smuggling activities and entry of illegals difficult.”
Abdul Rashid said this in his speech at the launching of the ‘Semarak Bersama ESSCom’ programme at Dewan Sri Lamag Kinabatangan, here the other day.
Abdul Rashid added that other contributing factors to the problems were the big number of islands off Sabah’s eastern coastline, which made it easy for smugglers and illegals to hide and then infiltrate, as well as the illegals’ family ties with the locals.
“We are aware that the kidnapping, smuggling and intrusion cases are of much concern to the people in Sabah’s east coast areas, especially in Semporna, Tawau, Kunak, Lahad Datu and Sandakan. Hence, ESSCom is committed to tackling the problems including drawing up strategies to ensure security and harmony in the ESSZone,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bung Mokhtar urged the community in the EssZone to fully cooperate with ESSCom in dealing with elements threatening Sabah’s security by acting as its “eyes and ears”.
“Security issue is the responsibility of all and not the security and law enforcement agencies’ alone.
“We don’t want our own people to be in cahoots with illegals and not report their presence in the state to the authorities,” he said.
He also urged the people in Sabah not to be influenced by irresponsible reported calls on social media from instigators wanting to take Sabah out of the federation of Malaysia.