KOTA KINABALU: Plantations
and Commodities Minister, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said workers in more than
16,000 acres of oil palm plantations in Lahad Datu district have temporarily
stopped reporting for work following the armed intrusion by a band of Filipino
militants three weeks ago.
He did not disclose the
impact to the economy from the forced shutdown in operations but was optimistic
that the Prime Minister's decision to set up a Special Security Area from Kudat
to Tawau would soon see these threats to the State's long coastline being
nipped in the bud.
"The setting up of the
Special Security Area headquartered in Lahad Datu, will enhance the protection
of their investments, especially the development of the Lahad Datu Palm Oil
Cluster (POIC)," he said, in his Ministry's media night function, Friday.
He said it had been the hope
of many Sabahans for the Government to address the issue, especially against
those who had the intention of claiming Sabah as theirs, despite Malaysia
having been formed five decades ago.
"They may say what they
are asking is not much, but it is one third of the country," Dompok said.
"As a member of the
Cabinet who had pushed to bring about better security of the State and assure
the continuity of investments into the State," said Dompok, adding that it
is time for the country to take the "bull by the horns".