Kidnappings inevitable if Sabah curfew lifted, outgoing state police chief says


(Malay Mail Online) – Sabah’s east coast will “definitely” be hit by more kidnappings if the state’s dusk-to-dawn sea curfew were to be lifted, outgoing state police commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman said.

Jalaluddin, who mooted the curfew in August last year, said the order should stay enforced for as as long there is a threat from southern Philippine militant groups.

“There is a big possibility the kidnap-for-ransom groups are still in Tawi-Tawi looking out for opportunity. If we let our guard down, they will definitely strike. They are always testing us and our strength.

“They will definitely attempt again, especially now that they no longer have a hostage,” he told reporters after attending his last monthly gathering with the state police here today.

Jalaluddin, who will officially handover his post to Eastern Sabah Security Command chief (Esscom) Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun on January 4, said he hopes his successor will continue to enforce the curfew to ensure smooth communication and cooperation between the security agencies under Esscom.

“Aside from the enforcement aspect, the curfew also helps provides service to the local fishermen. By applying for a permit, we can monitor them and give them protection. They are also our eyes and ears,” he said.

The curfew is currently in its 34th phase, covering the districts of Tawau, Semporna, Kunak, Lahad Datu, Kinabatangan, Sandakan and Beluran, from 7pm to 5am.

The curfew was mooted after a series of kidnapping incidents at tourist resorts and islands in Sabah’s east coast, including the attack on popular dive island Mabul that saw an officer, Kpl Abdul Rajah Jemuan, killed and another, Kons Zakiah Aleip, kidnapped.

Meanwhile, Jalaluddin also said that the state police did not achieve its targeted crime index of 5 per cent reduction in crime but added that he was not worried as the state had a lower crime index compared to other states nationwide.

He said that Sabah recorded about 15 cases of break-ins per day while places like Ampang in Kuala Lumpur recorded up to 60 per day.

He claimed that the reduction of 1.23 per cent was also partly due to the increase of police reports made after police outreach programmes encouraged the local community to come forward and lodge reports.

“So previously, in rural districts like Tawau and Lahad Datu and Sandakan where there are many estates, people would not have lodged a police report over a break in or petty theft. But now they are,” he said.