KOTA KINABALU – The Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) has assured all sailors of their safety during the ‘Sail Malaysia Passage to the East’ Yacht Rally scheduled for July 7 to 9 off the Sabah east coast.
ESSCom Land Component senior staff officer, Lt Col Hishamuddin Zahrullayali said ESSCom was doing everything to provide ‘the utmost protection’ during the sailing event in the waters of the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone) from Kudat to Tawau.
“Rest assured, with the combination of the air, sea and land assets that we have, we will ensure the safety of all sailors throughout the voyage.
“Welcome to Sabah, dubbed the Land Below the Wind, and enjoy your sail throughout the ESSZone … in fact your presence here is testimony that Sabah, particularly the ESSZone, is safe,” he told participants of the rally at a special security briefing in Kota Kinabalu, Friday night.
Also present were Sabah Parks chairman Datuk Seri Tengku Dr Zainal Adlin Tengku Mahamood and ESSCom Maritime Component senior staff officer Capt (M) Wan Mat Wan Abdullah.
Up to 37 boats or yachts from several countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, France, New Zealand, Austria and the Netherlands, are scheduled to take part in the event.
The ESSCom assurance on the safety of the sailors comes in the wake of a recent abduction at a seafood restaurant in Sandakan.
In replying to a question at the briefing session, Hishamuddin said the kidnapping was an isolated case that took place at night.
“It is believed that the perpetrators (kidnappers) had a thorough plan before staging the kidnapping. Random kidnapping is unlikely to happen,” he said, adding that ESSCom security forces would step up surveillance over the ESSZone waters.
He said that though the security situation was generally under control in the ESSZone, ESSCom was always on the alert for any eventuality.
In this respect, Hishamuddin called on the people to give their undivided support to ESSCom in realising the government’s noble mission to make the ESSZone a safe place for everyone, including foreign tourists.
The ESSZone stretches 1,733.7 kilometres from the Kudat to the Tawau district and also encompasses the districts of Kota Marudu, Pitas, Beluran, Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu, Kunak and Semporna. – BERNAMA