KOTA KINABALU: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew has expressed support for Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal’s call to relocate the Lok Kawi army base to Sabah’s east coast as well as placing more naval assets there to prevent the recurrence of security threats from a neighbouring country.
She said the relocation exercise will be a most timely move in view of the influx of tourists from China, Korea and other countries, and given foreign investors’ increasing interest in investing in Sabah.
“Relocating the Lok Kawi army base will be a crucial step towards beefing up security in the east coast of Sabah. It is imperative that we ensure the safety of both locals and tourists visiting offshore islands and resorts.
“Equally important is the pressing need to restore public and investors’ confidence as well as step up overall safety,” she said in a statement issued here, Wednesday.
Liew, who is also Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, stressed that Sabah cannot afford to jeopardise its booming tourism industry as this sector is indisputably a significant contributor to the State’s economy.
“With reinforcement of defence infrastructure, we hope the kidnappings in Sabah will not happen again,” she said, in apparent reference to the latest kidnapping of 10 foreign fishermen off Lahad Datu.
On Tuesday, Shafie, who is also Sabah State Security Council (MKN) Chairman, said the Lok Kawi Army Camp headquarters is needed more in the East Coast than its present site.
“If we can increase the presence of troops in this area, it can deter and prevent outsiders from carrying out their criminal activities,” he told reporters.
The Chief Minister had said that the defence assets should be located where they are required such as Semporna, Tawau, Lahad Datu and Sandakan, instead of at a site like Lok Kawi in the west coast.-SabahNewsToday