Sabah govt suspends barter trade activities with immediate effect

07 Apr 2016 / 00:07 H.

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government has suspended barter trade activities in all ports throughout the state with immediate effect to curb cross-border crimes, particularly kidnappings.
Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said the suspension was among eight decisions taken by the Cabinet at its meeting today.
The move comes in the wake of the kidnapping of four Malaysians near Ligitan Island, off Semporna, Sabah.
The state cabinet also suspended with immediate effect all transshipment trade, including in petroleum and gas products in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone), and deferred ferry services between Kudat, Sabah and Pahlawan, Philippines.
It also decided that all matters violating shipping rules, trade at sea be enforced fully as per the laws by all enforcement agencies in eastern Sabah.
Following the move, all vessels, including foreign vessels and boats that do not comply to the rules and laws and threaten national security will not be allowed to enter Sabah waters.
The Cabinet also decided that curfew enforcement in the east coast (of Sabah) will be modified and enforced fully including taking stern action without compromise against any individual, boat or ship not following the orders of the authorities in the Esszone.
"The State Security Committee (JKKN) is also reviewing security threats with regards to the use of pump boats in Sabah. All pump boat usage will be monitored by the enforcement authorities, boats used by non-Malaysian individuals or groups will be seized," Musa told reporters after chairing the Cabinet meeting.
According to Musa, a review will also be made in depth to implement preventive measures in tackling hijackings and kidnappings involving merchant vessels plying risky waters off the east coast of Sabah, including giving protection by the authorities but this would need cooperation from the owners (of the vessels).
In addition, Musa said aggressive action without compromise would be taken without delay to strengthen security in eastern Sabah by all agencies under existing laws.
"This were what we discussed in the meeting and all were agreed upon. For us, this is the approach that were are taking because all this while, there were people who were thinking that we were not serious about the matter," he said, adding that the measures were necessary because it was difficult to separate genuine cases from those who intended to do harm.
"This is to show how serious we are in overcoming such problems. So we believe that there must be new methods, there must be a new way to solve the problems. So far, this is the way to ensure untoward incidents such as kidnappings," he said.
He also denied allegations that the state government and federal government were not concerned about Sabah's security, instead he stressed that the government was seriously looking into security matters, threats not affected the people but the country as well.
"We have also asked the Philippine government to take the matter seriously. This issue troubles us so much so we feel insecure. So we discussed with JKKN and have taken steps like these to give a strong signal to the parties on the other side that we are dead serious about our security and will not tolerate the harmful actions of irresponsible quarters from the neighbour," he said.
In PETALING JAYA, Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin welcomed the decision by the Sabah government to suspend barter trade activities.
He said the barter trade system was no longer suitable because security of the people was paramount.
"The move taken by the Sabah government is in the interest of the people because we want Malaysians to live with peace of mind," he said when launching the Young Indian Entrepreneurs Award 2016 here. — Bernama

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