Today, the Director-General of Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM), Datuk Mohammad Mentek publicly defended the ESSCOM’s security track record, which was in fact further evidence that he is “powerless” as he had to publicly “eat his own words”.
For the first anniversary celebrations of ESSCOM on April 1, Mohammad made a very clear and specific boast, i.e.
“ESSCOM has succeeded in stopping the attempts by foreigners to enter Sabah illegally to commit criminal acts like the kidnapping of Taiwanese tourists in Pulau Pom-Pom on 15 Nov 2013.”
But in less than 24 hours of the first anniversary ESSCOM celebrations, there was a second kidnapping of a tourist from China, which was why ESSCOM appeared to be a costly April Fool’s Joke.
But in his defence of ESSCOM’s security track record today, Mohammad made no reference to the second abduction and instead only talked about ESSCOM’s success “to ensure that there are no further intrusions similar to the Lahad Datu incident”!
Mohamad not only had to “eat his own words” about ESSCOM’s success in stopping criminal acts by foreigners entering Sabah like the kidnapping of Taiwanese tourists last November, he had also to “eat” the words of the ESSCOM Corporate Communications head, Newmond Tibin, who said after the Semporna abduction on April 2 that ESSCOM was “powerless” act with regard to the abductions as it has “no authority to command, direct or order any action”.
Just before the first anniversary of ESSCOM, Mohamad was very effusive about the success in combining the roles of the four components in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZONE) – Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM), Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM), Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (APMM) and public agencies – but Newmond has given a very bleak picture of the “powerlessness” of ESSCOM, which Mohamad had to repudiate in his statement today!
In reply to a supplementary question in Parliament today, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said that the question whether ESSCOM director-general will be given executive powers and not just co-ordinating responsibilities is a matter which had to be decided by the Cabinet.
If ESSCOM is going to be responsible for the security, not just intrusion like the Lahad Datu incident but also criminal activities by foreigners entering Sabah like abductions, then ESSCOM director-general must be vested with executive powers and not just co-ordinating powers, acting like a Super-Postman among the four ESSCOM components in ESSZONE.
This is a decision which the Cabinet at its meeting tomorrow should make – to vest the ESSCOM director-general with executive powers and not just co-ordinating responsibilities among the Malaysian Armed Forces, Royal Malaysian Police, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and public agencies in ESSZONE.