Hawk attack aircraft and helicopter gunships to be moved to state, says deputy defence minister.
KUDAT: The government is beefing up defence capabilities in Sabah by moving in extra equipment and manpower.
Deputy defence minister Abdul Rahim Bakri said this was in line with the defence enhancement programme announced by the prime minister in the 2015 Budget.
He said: “The Hawk fighter jet squadron will return to Labuan, one [army] battalion in Tawau will be beefed up, helicopters equipped with the Gatling gun will be placed in Lahad Datu, and Lahad Datu airport will be expanded to become a forward base,” he said at a Chinese New Year function here today.
The announcement comes on the heels of news that a new air defence system would be purchased for the Navy’s submarine base at Sepanggar bay. Defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein said last week that a decision on which system was to be purchased would be made at a later time.
Other initiatives included sending the Gempita 8×8 armoured vehicles to Sabah, building forward bases offshore (sea basing) and operating mobile sea bases.
Rahim, who is the MP for Kudat, said curfews in certain areas imposed after the Suluk “invasion” of 2013 would continue until the situation becomes more stable.
“The people are reminded to remain vigilant and to channel information to the authorities so that immediate action can be taken against these criminals.”
Commenting on the fighting in southern Philippines recently, he said the government will continue to monitor the situation to ensure it does not affect the security of Sabah.