Ok to restructure Esscom but security mustn’t be compromised, says Shafie

Chief Minister Shafie Apdal (left) showing the Warisan membership card to be given to its new members soon.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal has welcomed news to restructure the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom), and has pledged the state’s full support.

However, Shafie said the restructuring should not affect how the unit looked after security on Sabah’s east coast.

“We welcome whatever proposal put forward, whether it involves cost-cutting, but most important is the effectiveness of Esscom’s role in Sabah.

“I am aware of this matter, including the proposed changes to be made by the federal government,” he said after chairing the first Warisan Supreme Council meeting following the party’s inaugural congress last month.

Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador was reported by an online news portal as saying disbanding Esscom was not part of his plans after taking over as the country’s police chief. However, Esscom will be restructured to improve law and order, he added.

It was earlier reported that the federal government intended to scrap the six-year-old initiative, introduced by the previous administration in 2013 following an incursion by militants from the southern Philippines.

On another matter, responding to a former PKR man questioning the appointment of Sabah DAP treasurer Loh Ee Eng, a non-Sabahan, as a nominated assemblyman, Shafie said the choice was up to DAP.

“The allocation is for the party. We left the slot open for DAP to propose a name.

“It is the party’s request and not an individual request. The person can be residing here for a long time and not considered a Sabahan, but can still be a party member,” he said.

Ex-Sabah PKR executive secretary A Rashid Yusof had recently questioned the appointment of Loh, a Penangite, as a nominated assemblyman.

Although acknowledging the decision belonged to DAP, Rashid nonetheless said the party should have named a Sabahan for the position.

Warisan has 200,000 members now

Shafie said the Warisan Supreme Council meeting today touched on the expansion of membership.

He said the party had obtained the green light from the Registrar of Societies (RoS) to register new branches, adding it has more than 200,000 members now.

“We will include more members soon.

“We want to be sure their intention to join is in line with the party’s struggles,” he said.

Warisan secretary-general Loretto Padua Jr said the party has 26 divisions and over 600 branches at present, adding they are looking at registering more than 2,000 branches soon.

Meanwhile, Sabah Education and Innovation Minister Dr Yusof Yaacob has been named as the new Warisan information chief. Most of the other Warisan office bearers remain unchanged.