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November 2015    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 30, No. 11   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Security Concerns for Diving in Malaysia

from the November, 2015 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

A report from the Malaysian news website AsiaOne says that security officers there are concerned for diver safety because some resort operators on Sabah's east coast (Sipadan, Mabul, etc.) are reluctant to work with them on preventing more kidnappings. Last year, seven gunmen raided the Singamata Adventures and Reef Resort, a five-star PADI resort in Semporna, and seized a 29-year-old Chinese tourist and a 40-year-old Filipino resort worker. The thugs are members of Abu Sayyaf, a group that seeks ransom kidnappings to raise money for weapons and fund terror attacks in the Philippines.

"There are some dive and resort operators who refuse to allow our personnel to hop on board boats ferrying divers with their tourists just because they do not want to lose money giving free rides to our personnel," says Commander Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun. He said they recently made it compulsory to have at least one security personnel on board each tourist boat, especially those going for diving activities. This rule was put into place after the latest kidnapping attempt in Semporna, when security forces noticed two boats with four suspects on board approaching a tourist vessel on a diving activity. "Luckily, there were two uniformed men inside the vessel guarding the divers, prompting the four masked suspects to back off and flee," Harun says.

If I had a trip scheduled to this part of Malaysia, I certainly wouldn't cancel it, but if I were planning a trip I would most likely head elsewhere. I go on dive trips to have fun, not to worry, even in the slightest, about security.

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