Stop hostage-taking ‘business model’ before its too late


By Robin Augustin

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Government must act to stop abductions of locals by foreign militants, as it is becoming a “business model” for abductors. Criminologist Akhbar Satar told FMT this had to be done in a preventive manner and not by continuing to give in to ransom demands by abductors.

Akhbar was commenting on news reports of a Malaysian sailor, abducted with four others in waters off Lahad Datu on July 18, recently pleading for the Malaysian Government and his employer to help free him and the other hostages. Akhbar said paying ransom to secure the release of hostages would make the business of kidnapping a trend.

“How long are we going to keep entertaining ransom demands from kidnappers? “We need a more effective solution, instead of bowing down to them (abductors) every time,” said Akhbar, who is also Transparency International-Malaysia President (TI-M).

He stressed there is a need for the police, especially the Esscom (Eastern Sabah Security Command) to have better negotiators and better equipped officers to deal with the hostage crisis.

He added that the Behavioural Change Stairway Model used by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) hostage negotiation unit, could be one of the model’s adopted to deal with such crises.

“Our government must keep improving their cooperation with Filipino authorities and exchange ideas on how to improve the situation in Sabah.
“Thoroughly screen officers and tighten enforcement at all related agencies.”

Apart from employing skilled, specialist negotiators, local authorities should restudy the security needs of all the islands in Sabah, he said.
“Improve intelligence gathering and install more effective radars in strategic islands.”

On July 18, five Malaysians were abducted by Abu Sayyaf off Sabah’s notorious Lahad Datu waters. The five are Mohd Ridzuan Ismail,32, from Pahang, and Sabahans, Tayudin Anjut, 45, Abd Rahim Summas, 62, Mohd Zumadil Rahim, 23, and Fandy Bakran, 26.