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Gerakan suggests Ministry of Defence to helm ESSCom Dominic Lau Hoe Chai: Recurring trend warrants change of leadership for ESSCom

Press statement by
Gerakan Vice-President
Dr. Dominic Lau Hoe Chai

9 May 2014

 With regards to the recent kidnapping of a Chinese national by armed men in Pulau Baik, 23km from Lahad Datu, Sabah, Gerakan Vice-President Dr. Dominic Lau Hoe Chai has suggested that the Ministry of Defence to helm the East Coast Security Command (ESSCom) after a series of deploring kidnapping incidents happened in east coast of Sabah.

 Lau noted that since the establishment of ESSCom following the invasion of Sulu militants in Lahad Datu last year, 3 kidnapping incidents by foreign armed men poses a serious security threat and it implies ineffective policing faced by the local community. He pointed out that the first kidnapping incident happened in close proximity with a local police station, while the third kidnapping incident occurred at a beach, which clearly expose the loophole in local security and it is totally unacceptable.

“These places are supposedly well within the security perimeter of local police force and ESSCom, but the repeating kidnapping incidents throw the presence and effectiveness of local police and ESSCom in serious question as the worrying trend warrants an immediate intervention from government leader to address the pressing structural, systemic and leadership problem in the security defence of east coast Sabah.”

 “I urge Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib to hand over the responsibilities of the ESSCom to our Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein after seeing that he handled the MH 370 incident fairly well with composure as till today most Malaysian are kept in the dark of the way ESSCom functions.”

He questioned the way things are running in ESSCom as he wondered does ESSCom has the ability to safeguard the well-being of Malaysians especially Sabahans who are living in fear. Lau also suggested that the handling of ESSCom to be handed over by the military since they are equipped with better equipment than the police to tackle such foreign threats.

“Putting soldiers on the ground will not only inspire more confidence among the locals but also doubts in the minds of these foreign armed groups since they will be dealing with better trained and armed personal if they decided to incur our waters again.”

In this regard, Lau suggested that the Ministry of Defence under the leadership of Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin to helm ESSCom in a significant and proactive move to step up the level of security defence in east coast Sabah and restore public confidence. He added that Hishamuddin has a proven track record throughout his ministerial career and his strong and effectual leadership is what the ESSCom needs now. Lau believed the takeover of ESSCom by Ministry of Defence is warranted in view of current situation. It aims to improve the local security level and stop the recurring trend of kidnapping incidents in east coast Sabah once and for all.