Is it safe in Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Selingan ?

We are happy to share with you as below:

The last kidnapping incident happened on ground as shown below:

  • Kidnapping Foreign Tourist on 02 Apr 2014 (3 years ago) at Singgahmata Reef Resort, near Semporna. Action taken as ESSCOM imposes SEA Curfew around the Semporna islands waters from 7PM to 5AM (19 July 2014).
  • Kidnapping Local Resident on 14 May 2015 (2 years ago) Thien Nyuk Fun and Bernard Then from Sandakan Seafood Restaurant.

After the maritime curfew, Kidnapper barely get onto Borneo ground.

  • 10 Sept 2016 Abductions of Filipino refugees on fishing boat. (Malaysian-Philippines border)
  • 20 Nov 2016, 2 Indonesian fishermen abducted on fishing boat at Lahad Datu sea waters.

The maritime curfew and ESCCOM had effectively improved the security of Sabah Waters obviously by monitoring illegal movements on the covered waters as well as those tourist destinations.

The maritime curfew still continues until today, 7pm – 5am.

Nowadays, resorts and hotels at Semporna islands are 99% fully occupied averagely every day. On the other hand, Selingan Turtle Island also monitor closely by the ESCCOM all the time to ensure tourist activities are safe going in and out from the island. Meanwhile, the tourist activities in Kinabatangan River also never stop, still there are tourists going in and out to the Kinabatangan River by land and by boats every day.

Our tours to Sandakan and the Sukau-Kinabatangan areas, we believe, remain safe. Sukau is approximately about 20 minutes from the sea and about 2 hours in the Kinabatangan River, There is a permanent military-police presence in Sukau village that is only 5 minutes by land to Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge. The river also forms a natural deterrent because there is only one way in and out. A military outpost was recently constructed in December 2014 and is currently stationed with 15 armed military personnel at the entry point of the river that continuously monitors all boats entering and leaving the river and provides a quick response military presence in the area. Abai Jungle lodge in front of Abai Village are 5 minutes by boat to the military outpost, We have a standard departure on day time to Kinabatangan or Selingan, we never go on night.

Therefore, We still believe that it is safe to travel to islands off Sandakan including the Selingan Turtle island and also the Lankayan Resort island as they both host military outposts that presents a significant deterrent to any attempts to intrude on the two islands.

Other inland jungle lodges including Borneo Rainforest Lodge (Danum Valley) and Tabin Wildlife Lodge remains safe to travel due to their inland locations and military presence stationed at entry points.

Most of Sabah with the exception of the Sipadan region in our view is very safe to travel. There has never been any history of security or criminal acts in the Sukau-Kinabatangan area, Danum Valley, Tabin, Selingan island and Lankayan island. With the exception of an isolated incident on the outskirts of Sandakan.

If we feel that there is an element of threat to the safety and security of our clients visiting the various part of Sabah, we will take immediate decisive actions and alert our clients and partners of the situation. We will not jeopardise our integrity and long term relationship with our partners and clients to paint a misleading picture of the security situation in Sabah.

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