Prevention is better than cure – The ESSCOM Intelligence Division needs to be beefed up, says Zaki Susanto

TAWAU: The incident involving two members of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (Maritim Malaysia) in the Lahad Datu Maritime Zone who were injured in a shootout in the waters of Kunak on Sunday should not be taken lightly or considered as an isolated case.


All parties need to see it as an important signal to strengthen not only the assets but also the intelligence division of ESSCOM.

The incident also indicates that a portion of the waters in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSzone) is still not free from cross-border criminal threats.

Community activist, Mohd Zaki Harry Susanto, believes that the security forces should not be complacent with the current situation in ESSZONE, which appears calm for a long period, as cross-border criminals always try to infiltrate the country’s waters when they have the opportunity.

“The security forces cannot be complacent with the current situation in ESSZONE, and the government needs to be more serious and focused on strengthening the defense and control system of ESSCOM.

“The assets in ESSZONE need to be strengthened so that the ‘show of force’ element can deter cross-border criminals from attempting to undermine the sovereignty of the border.

“At the same time, the intelligence division of ESSCOM also needs to be strengthened by placing officers who are truly committed and experienced to ensure that the process of gathering intelligence information runs smoothly and accurately.

“It is important to remember that exchanging information with neighboring intelligence agencies requires a mutual trust that is built not only through expertise but also the ability to adapt to the socio-cultural aspects of the local community,” added Zaki.

The former police officer also expressed appreciation to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, which is part of the elements under ESSCOM, for successfully thwarting the attempt of a group of cross-border criminals to enter yesterday and considering it as a significant achievement.

“We are fortunate that the group of criminals was intercepted by the Malaysian Maritime authorities before they reached mainland Sabah. If they had successfully landed, we could not anticipate the crimes they would commit in this state.

“The injured members of the Malaysian Maritime team should be appropriately recognised so that their spirit and sacrifice can serve as an example to others, Zaki said.

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