Seminar on regional and local security issues in Sabah

Identifying core problems and prospects for resolution

The Institute for Development Studies (Sabah) with the cooperation of KAS is organising a one-day seminar to help address the issue of security threats along the coasts and in the seas of Sabah. This seminar will provide a platform for the relevant authorities and stakeholders to discuss how to identify core problems and provide recommendations for a more holistic solution for the peace, security and stability of the state and nation.


Security has always been one of the pertinent issues in Sabah due to the state’s close proximity to a volatile region in the southern Philippines. This has been compounded by the long and porous coastline that needs constant patrolling and the large cross-border traffic between the two countries that is difficult to control. Although many instances, the breach of security has been associated with the east coast of Sabah, it has permeated into the whole state due to the presence of illegal immigrants, illegal foreign workers and location of resettlement camps and the hype portrayed by the media whenever there is breach of security in the state.

Lately, security aspects have been a topic of concerns, mentioned by various state leaders in the media. Issues highlighted include the need to beef up the defense assets and manpower by providing more funds for the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZONE) security to tackle piracy and kidnapping issues. Other issues mentioned include the presence of illegal settlements near tourist attractions which were attributed to contribute to the rise of rampant criminal activities in these areas, i.e. illegals impersonating as workers at local tourist attractions to steal from tourists.

In addition, security threats such as well-publicized abductions, continued sea curfew and foreign countries issuance of travel advisories warning their citizens against visiting east coast of Sabah have hampered economic development and investment especially on the east coast of Sabah. However, confidence in the security situation is returning as shown by the investment in accommodations and tourism facilities in Semporna.

All these happenings have prompted renewed calls for discussion at state and federal levels on how to better protect visitors to the east coast of Sabah and make Sabahans generally feel safer at home.


Topics for the seminar:

  • The Malaysia Government’s Policy and Strategies on Sabah Security: Key Issues and Challenges
  • Role of Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) on Cross-Border Security: Understanding the Issues, Strategies and Mitigating Measures
  • Crime Scenario in Sabah
  • Non-Military Approach and Management of Cross-Border Crime in the East Coast of Sabah
  • The Impacts of Illegal Immigrants, Border Crimes and ESSZONE Curfew on Sabah’s Tourism Industry
  • Impacts of Cross-Border Crimes on the Investment Climate and Socio-Economic Activities in Sabah
  • Update on the Current Security Situation in the Southern Philippines, Issues and Potential for Peace and Security in the Region
  • Addressing Security Issues in Sabah: The Way Forward


Media follow-up:

Sabah CM: 'Prosper thy neighbour' needed in tackling cross-border crimes


Security issues in Sabah unique, complicated – Shafie


Cannot take Sabah’s  security lightly: CM

Add to the calendar


Kota Kinabalu


  • YAB Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Mohd. Shafie bin Haji Apdal
    • Chief Minister of Sabah

      Wolfgang Hruschka †