GOF brigade to fortify ESSCOM garrison, says minister

Hishammuddin (centre) inspects the rifle of a police officer near Lahad Datu, February 17, 2013. — Reuters picHishammuddin (centre) inspects the rifle of a police officer near Lahad Datu, February 17, 2013. — Reuters picKUALA LUMPUR, March 25 — A brigade of the police general operations force (GOF) will be stationed at the East Sabah Security Zone (Esszone) to strengthen public order and well-being of residents in the area.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the brigade would complement the strength of the five battalions of Armed Forces to be placed in the area.

“We will increase the GOF brigade at police level in Sabah and combine with five Armed Forces battalions to strengthen the state,” he told reporters after a Police Day celebration event here today.

ESSZONE, whose implementation came into effect today, was recently announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

It involves the districts of Kudat, Kota Marudu, Pitas, Beluran, Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu, Kunak, Semporna and Tawau.

Following this, the total number of relief police personnel will also be increased, apart from expanding the Motorcycle Patrol Units (URB).

“We are thinking of adding more relief police (personnel) in the estates and Felda areas in Sabah, and expand URB throughout the state where the units will operate at housing estates in Sandakan and Kota Kinabalu,” said Hishammuddin.

URB uses the 250cc Kawasaki Ninja motorcycles. Five hundered and sixty of the initial target of 1,000 such motorcycles have been deployed in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Johor and Penang, with the remaining to be distributed in stages in housing and business areas.

Hishammuddin said the prime minister had also approved allocation to purchase additional motorcycles as he was confident of the URB capability to reduce crime.

In this regard, he said, seven police stations would be built at strategic islands while exit and entry points would be identified to have immigration control centres, as well as the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) centres.

According to the minister, the three temporary police stations using cabins will be arriving at Lahad Datu to begin operations soon, while awaiting the construction of seven permanent police stations.

On Sabah residents relocating for security purposes, Hishammuddin said several locations had been identified. — Bernama


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