Coastal villagers, islanders in Lahad Datu pledge to safeguard Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: Coastal villagers and islanders in Lahad Datu renewed their pledge to safeguard the sovereignty of the state and to not acknowledge any outside claim towards Sabah.

Over a thousand of them including community leaders of the district made the pledge during a programme with the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) on Saturday (May 21).

Esscom commander Deputy Comm Hamzah Ahmad said prior to that, participants were given a briefing on the roles of the Esscom and how criminals continued to threaten the state security.

He said these threats include those from cross border criminals like smugglers, illegal immigrants and kidnap-for-ransom groups.

In view of the constant claims towards Sabah from several parties in the Philippines, these participants also pledged to not allow or acknowledge any of such claims, he added.

“They swore to uphold and protect the state in accordance with the guidelines from the Rukun Negara,” said DCP Hamzah.

During the event that was also held in conjunction with the Hari Raya celebration, participants were treated to an array of local dishes prepared by contestants of a cooking contest.

Communities from the Bajau, Suluk, Malay and Bugis ethnic groups from coastal villages showcased their traditional dishes for the judges.

The contestants were from Kg Silam, Kg Tempinau, Kg Silam Lamak, Kg Babul Rahmah, Kg Bumiputera, Kg Sri Aman and Kg Teluk Soaiun among others.

“Community programmes and celebrations like this help bring security forces, the authorities and the locals together, hence fostering closer relations,” said DCP Hamzah.

He said such cooperation and relations help both parties keep the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone) safe, where information sharing is also possible and necessary in safeguarding the state borders.

He hopes such relations would continue to be strengthened.

“Esscom and other security agencies will constantly improve and boost our patrols to ensure the safety of all the people in the Esszone,” DCP Hamzah said.

The public can provide information or ask questions on security related matters to the Esscom operations centre at 089-863 181 or WhatsApp number 011-63311072.