Wednesday 9 April 2014

Time to review ESSCOM


The Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) is once again under the spotlight for the wrong reasons. Slightly over a year since the Prime Minister announced its formation and barely a week before the first anniversary of the appointment of its top office bearers, ESSCOM is under fire.

ESSCOM is under fire for its perceived ineffectiveness in ensuring the safety and security of Sabah, particularly the east coast of Sabah.

Is ESSCOM, with almost an exact DNA of the Rajang Area Security Command (Rascom) which was formed more than 40 years ago in 1972,  really ineffective?

Is it truly toothless or are we witnessing the failure of those entrusted to make ESSCOM work for the people of Sabah?

This issue was even discussed in Parliament following an Emergency Motion tabled by an Opposition MP from Sabah. While the tabling of the motion is commendable, the Opposition and some Government MPs were obviously more interested in cheap politics rather than wanting a solution.

Calling for the disbandment of ESSCOM is plain stupid. What do you do after ESSCOM is disbanded? Create a new security set up and spend more money?

Linking the kidnapping to RCI on Illegal Immigrants/fake ICs is nothing but cheaper than cheap politics to stir resentment against the ruling coalition. Suggesting the shutting down of resorts on islands of the east coast of Sabah is not smart either.

The emergency motion in Parliament just flowed down into the drain because only a few was interested in finding a solution. A big majority of the MPs were merely pointing fingers.

This latest brouhaha following the kidnapping of two persons from a resort 5 minutes off the coast of Semporna, almost exactly on ESSCOM's first anniversary is indeed a blessing in disguise.

The Government, PM Najib Razak and Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman to be specific, must grab this opportunity to initiate a comprehensive review of ESSCOM to enhance its effectiveness.

It would be dumb to say ESSCOM has been useless for the last one year but it would be equally naive to think that all is perfect in the set up and/or the way it is being run.

If we want to have better results and prevent further kidnapping and organized criminal activities on the east coast and Sabah in general, we must initiate change.

An all encompassing review would most certainly tell you what and who to change. For a start, the Government may want to consider someone with the relevant experience to head ESSCOM. This complete review of ESSCOM must also include a review on all the main agencies and their role in the last year.

Non cooperative servants of the government must be shipped out.

This is an opportunity for the Government to enhance the role of ESSCOM and deliver on the promise to make Sabah a safer place for all.

We should not be doing it solely for the tourist dollar. Be sincere and do it because we want our people to be safe in their own country.

Insanity, as quoted above, is if we close our eyes and ears and continue to do the same things over and over again while expecting better results.

Please act now before people lose trust... completely.

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