Revival of Border Scouts in Sabah

The State Government led by Gabungan Rakyat Sabah is exploring the revival of the Sabah Border Scouts as part of enhanced security measures aimed at benefiting the local population and investors. While significant improvements have been made in maritime security, particularly with the establishment of Esscom during the tenure of Tan Sri Musa Aman, challenges persist on land, such as cross-border smuggling of subsidized essential goods.

Datuk Seri Hajiji Haji Noor revealed that the proposed Border Scouts would be considered as State officers and receive compensation from the State Government. The idea involves stationing these Border Scouts at strategic points along Sabah’s borders to counter security threats. Hajiji highlighted that the proposal had been well-received by the Sarawak Premier, Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg, in 2021.

Hajiji emphasized the importance of engaging the Federal Government in this matter, given its implications for national security. He recalled Sabah’s historical use of Border Scouts who, if reinstated, would be treated as State officers, undergo training by the Federal Government, and contribute to safeguarding various border areas prone to smuggling and human trafficking.

The Sabah Border Scouts, initially formed in 1963 and trained by the British, played a pivotal role in countering incursions during the Konfrontasi period. Despite their success, the unit was disbanded in 1986 due to the perceived absence of external threats. However, the surge in immigration, with an estimated one-third being undocumented, has prompted calls for the revival of the Border Scouts. Concerns about potential sympathizers of Abu Sayyaf terrorists and militants connected to the Royal Sulu Army further underscore the need for additional security measures, including the reestablishment of the Border Scouts.

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