Thursday, 4 April 2013

#LahadDatu: Extra layer of security for Esszone

A panel led by the Prime Minister will be monitoring a committee tasked to manage the Eastern Sabah Safety Zone (Esszone), Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail has said.

He said the panel reflected the Government’s concern that the Esszone covering 10 Sabah districts was managed at an optimum level.

“The panel will from time to time review Esszone committee’s performance and give directions when necessary,” Gani said during a media briefing yesterday about a conference on the safety zone to be held today.

The conference with the theme “Sabah Security and the Esszone” will be launched by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman here and will be attended by some 400 people including civil servants, local community leaders and NGO representatives.

Gani said the conference was aimed at explaining the intricacies of the Esszone to the various interested groups and the public in Sabah.

Gani said Esszone’s legal framework, established in the wake of the Sulu gunmen’s intrusion in Lahad Datu two months ago, was based on the Preservation of Public Order Ordinance 1962.

The state law that was federalised when Sabah became part of Malaysia in 1963 provided for the setting up of a safety zone with a proclamation by the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong.

“When a law is enacted, especially one that directly affects the public, it is incumbent upon the Government to explain it,” he added.

Musa will be launching Gani’s book titled Putting to Rest the Claim to Sabah by the Self-proclaimed Sultanate of Sulu at the conference.

Gani said unlike Sarawak’s Rajang Security Command (Rascom) that was in effect to combat the communist threat in that state, there were no additional powers to the committee overseeing Esszone.

“There is no declaration of emergency, no additional enforcement powers to the authorities and no disruption to democratic process so that elections can be carried out,” he added.

He said the Esszone that would see a higher military and police presence would not disrupt the lives of the people living in the 10 affected districts – Kudat, Kota Marudu, Pitas, Beluran, Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu, Semporna, Kunak and Tawau.

Asked what he foresaw the situation would be like a year from now along Sabah’s east coast, Gani, who was born in Lahad Datu, said: “It will be even more secure, cleaner and tourists would want to go there.

“When I retire, I would definitely return to my hometown.”


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