TAWAU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal wants offensive action to be taken by the federal government in tackling the cross-border kidnapping menace in Sabah.
He said the federal government should tackle the problem with the governments of Philippines and Indonesia through a more integrated approach in taking on these criminal groups that roam close to the eastern Sabah waters.
“We want the federal government to take a more offensive approach. We can’t remain being defensive,” he said when commenting on the Dec 5 cross border incidents where a tugboat crew was injured and three fishing trawler crew members are believed to have been kidnapped at the Pegasus Reef off Sabah.
“Like football, we can’t be playing defensive all the time. When you play defensively, they will eventually score.
” We can’t be having these (kidnappings) every year. We need to go on the offensive,” added Shafie, who is also the state security council chairman.
He said the victims were not only Malaysians but Indonesians who have come here to work.
Speaking to reporters after receiving over 7,000 members from 121 Kalabakan Umno branches here on Saturday (Dec 8), Shafie said he expected to meet with the state security council soon to discuss operational matters on manning the eastern Sabah waters.
Shafie said that he also met with an Indonesian Consul official on Friday (Dec 7) and they discussed the problem, while also to help victim’s families.
In the two incidents, a tugboat crew member was shot in the legs by gunmen during a botched kidnap attempt, while in the second incident, three crewmen – two Indonesian and one Malaysian – went missing from their fishing trawler.
Both incidents occurred in the Pegasus reef in waters between Lahad Datu and Kinabatangan district of Sabah that borders Philippines.
Sabah police have yet to confirm if the three were abducted by Filipino gunmen, though intelligence sources have said that three have already been brought into the Abu Sayyaf stronghold of Jolo.