Armed Forces Probe Possible Leak Of Info On ESSCom Operations

Gen Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin
Gen Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin

KUALA LUMPUR – The Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) are investigating a possible leak of information on the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) security forces’ operations.

Chief of Defence Forces Gen Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin said Friday the concerns expressed by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on the matter were being taken seriously.

“I hope ESSCom will study and evaluate his views because the kidnap on Tuesday had so many coincidences.

“The owner of the boat happened to be on the boat. Usually, boat owners won’t go fishing. In our opinion, the kidnappers had received certain information,” he said.

Zulkifeli spoke to reporters after the pinning of ranks for senior MAF officers and handing over of duties at Wisma Perwira, Defence Ministry, here.

Asked whether it was an inside job or involved the public, Zulkifeli said this had to be investigated.

“It is impossible for the kidnappers to zoom in on their target right away. I personally believe there may have been a mastermind who planned the kidnap.

Zulkifeli also reminded the military personnel in ESSCom to look at this possibility.

“We don’t want information leaks or any such thing,” he said.

On Sept 28, Ahmad Zahid spoke of the possibility of certain quarters leaking information on ESSCom and causing kidnappings to be rampant in the area.

The Home Minister had said that such action would give the enemies ample time and space to carry out criminal acts against the country.

At 9.30pm on Tuesday, Ruslan Sarapin, 39, was kidnapped by six armed men while fishing with his boat’s 26 crew members.

Thirty minutes later, the same armed men robbed a 19-crew fishing boat in the waters off Tungku, Lahad Datu.

At the handing-over ceremony, Second Division commander Lt Gen Datuk Fadzil Mokhtar was appointed as the new Joint Forces Commander, replacing retired Lt Gen Datuk Shahrani Mohd Sany.