Bung Questions Efficiency Of Esscom; Why Are Kidnappings Still Happening

Bung Mokhtar
Bung Mokhtar

KUALA LUMPUR – “So what are the maritime (Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA)) and Esscom (Eastern Sabah Security Command) doing?” Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin asked in Parliament Tuesday.

When debating on a supply bill of the Budget 2017 Bung Mokhtar questioned the efficiency of Esscom as well as the MMEA, following an alleged rise of kidnapping cases in Sabah waters.

The Barisan Nasional MP said the MMEA received RM44 million from the government and more than RM300 million were spent on Esscom, but kidnappings still happen.

“There are 29 islands in Sandakan and Kinabatangan that are isolated and this allows pirates to come in and go freely,” he pointed out.

This, Bung said, showed that there are loopholes in both authorities but he refused to speculate if there are unscrupulous officers within the two bodies.

Last week, he had called for a comprehensive study on Esscom to combat kidnapping in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone).

The Sabah waters have been a target for a series of kidnappings among pirates, namely the Abu Sayyaf militants. However, there are indications that copycat kidnap groups, also consisting of southern Filipinos, have emerged.

The latest incident of kidnapping happened last week where the skippers of two fishing boats were believed to have been abducted near Kinabatangan.

The skippers are Indonesians while the two fishing boats were registered in Sandakan.

The latest case is said to have been carried out by the small timers.

Also on Saturday, the Abu Sayyaf was alleged to have killed a German woman and kidnapped her elderly boyfriend near Tawi Tawi. The couple had passed by Sabah waters in their yacht earlier.