Australians have been warned against visiting certain areas of the East Coast of Sabah by Australia’s travel advisory due to the common threat of cross-border kidnappings.
Australia High Commissioner to Malaysia Rod Smith said that he does not know when the advisory would be lifted, but it is in place for the well-being of their citizens.
Smith said the Australian government acknowledges the increase of security around the east coast by the Malaysian government and hopes that the threats would be reduced. He also reassured Malaysians that the travel advice does not stretch to other states and cities in Malaysia.
I would like to emphasise that it does distinguish between the eastern part of Sabah where the kidnappings happened and the rest of Sabah where we do not have such concerns. We are very encouraging of Australians visiting Kota Kinabalu and the western part of Sabah.
The kidnappings in the region were mostly caused by Abu Sayyaf militants based in the southern Philippines, who kidnap tourists and locals in order to seek ransom from family members or the government.
Smith disclosed the information about the advisory in Kota Kinabalu on Tuesday (24th May). He was on a 3-day visit to the state, and also told the press that around 500,000 Australians had visited Malaysia so far.
His trip coincided with a visit by HMAS Anzac, an Australian warship, which will be in Kota Kinabalu for 3 days until 28th May.
Source: The Star.