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Welcome to Islands of Borneo
(East Malaysia - Sabah and Sarawak)
"Following several kidnapping incidents in the east coast, it is easy to blame Esscom for not being effective and to question the difficulty in monitoring state waters. The people need to understand Sabah's landscape. Only then will they know the challenges that we are faced with."
Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) director-general
Datuk Mohammad Mentek
on 19 May 2014 in Kota Kinabalu during a dialogue between
Esscom and representatives from the Kadazandusun Murut (KDM) community.
Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) has identified some of the islands used by criminals to move undetected between southern Philippines and Sabah.
Cross-border criminals have 361 islands in the Eastern Sabah Safety Zone (Esszone) to choose from to hide from the authorities.
These Kidnapping groups island-hopped (moving from one island to another island) to avoid security forces.
Some of the islands are occupied by fishermen , but most are small, uninhabited islands.
Islands that are spread out from Kudat to Tawau are some of the many challenges faced by security forces when it comes to preventing intrusion.
Semporna has the most number of islands at 83, followed by Kudat, Sandakan. Some islands are close to Philippine waters, enabling culprits to escape easily. Such small islands could not be seen on maps.
There were 23,000 fishing boats in Esszone districts and, based on statistics in 2010, there were 131 water villages with a population of 126,000 in Sabah.
Read more: Esscom: 361 isles are hideout haven - General - New Straits Times www2.nst.com.my/
“What is necessary for the efficiency of Esscom director-general is a more structured and clear administrative structure. The government needs to study the structure of Esscom presently and to explain the jurisdiction given to the director general as well as equip the body with the necessary assets to effectively carry out its operation,”
Lahad Datu assemblyman
Datuk Yusof Apdal
at the Sabah State Assembly
April 16, 2014, Wednesday
The members of Esscom comprised of following
agencies in addressing security issues within Esszone :
1- Royal Malaysia Police,
2- Malaysian Army and
3- Maritime .
Read more: www.theborneopost.com
On the east coast of the peninsula, at the South China Sea, the most untouched island ofTenggol, continues to mystify divers with the pristine and dense coral gardens fringing the island. Beautiful crinoids emerge with the currents to grip barrel sponges as large as life while Tiger Cowries forage in the surrounding habitat for food. With the myriad of coral species available here, accompanying them are the multicoloured nudibranchs which lay their egg ribbons on the rocks and under-hangs of crevices. The Octopus is almost a regular feature of any dive at Gua Rajawali dive site while schools of tunas seek shelter during rough seas.
Come migration season of May- September, whale sharks and manta rays make their way inward to the bay of Tenggol and off Tokong Timur where they are usually encountered. Several wrecks make interesting dive sites for the adventurous, with crockery left behind, they leave a tale waiting to be told.
Further south, the volcanic island of Tioman has never failed to draw in divers from neighbouring countries, to take pleasure in discovering all that it has to offer. Wrecks and artificial reefs acting as nsh aggregators have populated the natural reefs with so much marine life that not running into one is impossible.
Everywhere you dive, you will be swarmed with fish and pelagics. In the sandy rubble fringing the reef, you may find the ugliest and most hideous fish, testing all your senses of admiration for this weird, spiny creature, the Devil Scorpionftsh. A predator that lies in wait for the next juicy meal that swims by, with the piercing of the spines filled with neuro-toxins which would will immobilise the fish to be devoured.
Dayang and Aur, Johor
These two islands are very close by, possibly broken apart from the continental shift hundreds of years ago. Very good visibility, this place has one of the most challenging dive sites in the east coast with swift currents and pelagics at almost every turn. Cuttlefish seem to abound here, without any fear of divers approaching. Nudibranchs are fat and spongy from the abundance of food available in the corals.
The migration of the whale sharks and manta rays could be seen in the waters here after they move from Tenggol to Tioman before stopping over at Dayang and Aur. There was a World War 2, fighter plane that crashed into the ocean which turned into a wreck dive site but over time, those who knew of the dive site are nowhere to be found but only pictures prove of their existence till this day.
Whichever destination you choose, you are only limited by your sense of adventure. Even in a place where you dive frequently, there are new things to discover and new species to be found if you care enough to document them. Especially when Malaysia sits on the nursery ground of the region and have a consistent flow of nutrients feeding the reef, you will not be short of thrilling sights. The marvel of the ocean does not end with the last dive but increases as you plan for the next.
This small paradise island, with stretches of white sandy beaches, swaying casuarina pines and beautiful sunsets is another island with only one dive resort......
In the Bajau language, "semporna" means, "perfect". This town with its
feet in the sea, Semporna sea side town and its many islands are like a
dream come true for ocean lovers... pure white sandy beaches, coconut palms
and tranquil waters lapping over colorful reefs in the beautiful turquoise
waters of the Sulawesi Sea.
The richness of the ocean, marine life with fishes of all kinds, sea cucumbers, shells, pearls and seaweed farming - all these have attracted seafarers and fisher-folks to Semporna and its islands.
Welcome to my village in Semporna......
Wreck Diving in Sabah
Three wrecks have been discovered to date, all thought to be merchant ships
Mantanani Islands off Kota Belud
Mantanani Islands - a group of 3 isolated islands northwest of Kota Belud about an hour's drive from Kota Kinabalu. Another 1 hour's boat-ride by speedboat from the mainland. The islands in Sabah are a reminder of an earlier and simpler place and era. Time slows down here amidst the crystal clear blue waters lapping on white sandy beaches..
Turtle Island Park
Turtle Paradise in Sabah
A jewel - like tiny island in the Sulu Sea an hour and a half boat's ride north of Sandakan, Lankayan is declared part of an immense Marine Protected Area. Unpopulated and covered by thick tropical island vegetation on its top this peaceful, untouched little bit of paradise is ringed by an endless pure white sandy beach, offering simply elegant and exquisite accommodation in a handful of wooden, roomy and perfectly appointed seafront double-occupancy chalets. Meals arc informally served at the central open building, which boasts an amazingly beautiful open-air wooden terrace, the ideal spot for after dinner relaxation and chatting, all the while admiring the dozens of juvenile black tip sharks swimming leisurely a few feet beneath.
While the ideal destination for those who search tranquility and relaxation in a virgin natural setting and for families with children, Lankayan Island is also one of the hottest diving destinations on the map today: its dive sites - all just a few minutes away - boast unbelievably colorful macro fauna, fascinating wrecks and, in season from March to May, regular sightings of gigantic and harmless whale sharks, the "dream date" of every diver in the world
300 Km by flight
North of the Luconia Shoals off Borneo, lies the atoll of Layang Layang (Swallow Reefs).
Located 30okm offKota Kinabalu, Sabah, the reef wall drops to an amazing 2,000 metres down to the ocean floor.
Home to thousands of migratory birds, a haven to large pelagic fish such as grey reef sharks, white-tip reef sharks, hammerheads as well as large schools of barracudas and mackerels and many turtles.
There is lagoon in the middle of the atoll.