Esscom to beef up security for barter trading off Sabah

Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) commander Hazani Ghazali.

KOTA KINABALU: Plans are being drawn up to beef up security, particularly in Sabah’s east coast, with the revival of barter trading between the state and neighbouring countries.

Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) commander Hazani Ghazali said they will proceed with the creation of sea checkpoints at several areas in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone).

“We’ll check all incoming vessels for barter trading. The boats will need to go through these checkpoints before they are allowed in.

“We are just waiting for the budget for this now,” he told reporters after meeting Chief Minister Shafie Apdal at the state administration building here today.

Shafie had previously said security authorities have a big role to play to ensure the smooth passage of goods after the barter trade system began in January this year.

The state has enhanced its barter trade guidelines involving activities with Indonesia and the Philippines.

Shafie said 43 licences have been approved at Sabah’s barter trade zones in Kudat, Tawau and Sandakan.

Hazani said he will also be visiting the Philippines next week for a meeting to enhance cooperation on security efforts, including sea patrols.

To a question on the lack of manpower at the Esszone, he said any department would face such a challenge but it was no reason for Esscom not to do its job properly.

“We will use what we have and do our best. For instance, every week there are arrests of illegal immigrants.

“We have also mounted road checkpoints besides strengthening our operations at sea,” he said.