Thursday, January 31, 2008




Malaysia’s very own Tiger Platoon was established in 1993, and the elite team has since been involved in several operations, including search and rescue. Formed as a Special Force team from the General Operations Force (GOF), the Tiger Platoon is to carry out specific duties as well as covert and overt operations. In Sabah, the platoon plays a role in keeping pirates away from the State’s borders as well as effectively curbs the attempts of militants trying to sneak into the State. A Tiger platoon is posted in every GOF base throughout the country. Sabah’s Tiger platoon’s expertise was recently displayed in a ‘hostage’ drama staged during the handing over of the Sungai Manila police booth to the GOF 15th Battalion in Sandakan. The event was officiated by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman and witnessed by Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan, Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Noor Rashid Ibrahim and State GOF Brigade Commander Datuk Paramasivam Arunasalam. In the demonstration, six Tiger platoon members stormed the house where a hostage was held and after a short gunfight, the elite force ‘killed’ the criminals. Two armed criminals who managed to flee the houses were ‘fatally shot’ by snipers outside. At the same event, the Sabah GOF brigade’s Public Order Riot Unit (PORU) also demonstrated the method used to quell violent demonstrators. Other than the Tiger platoon, the Royal Malaysian Police also has an anti-terrorist team as well as its special forces, Gerak Khas, which is responsible in curbing violence and dangerous crimes. Before Gerak Khas was formed, the police has two special teams namely VAT 69 and the Unit Tindakan Khas (UTK) to fight terrorism. VAT 69 was set up in 1969 to fight communists while the UTL was established to implement urban war tactics practised by CO 19 Britain and SWAT in the United States of America. After the Malaya Communist Party surrendered in 1989, the VAT 69 faced problems on their role with the end of the confrontation. Then in October 1997, the VAT 69 and UTK were merged to form the special force team. Meanwhile the GOF which was previously known as the Jungle Company, has been specifically trained and equipped to maintain the peace during emergencies. Its personnel are also trained to seek out criminals who are hiding in the jungles as well as conduct patrols along Malaysia’s coastal borders, islands within Malaysian waters and remote areas. Each GOF personnel has to undergo police training and indoctrination before being accepted into the force. They also have to undergo and successfully complete a basic jungle warfare course which means that a GOF personnel is not only an infantry personnel but can also do police work if needed. GOF personnel are also trained in anti-demonstration duties and the Force will send its PORU unit to assist the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) when the need arises. With their training in special warfare in the jungles, coastal and urban areas, close range combat and guerilla warfare, GOF personnel can be deployed in all situations and terrains. Following the handing over of the Sungai Manila police post two days ago, the GOF’s duties and responsibilities will increase. IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan said the Sungai Manila police post was just the beginning as the GOF 15th Batallion will be taking over command of all police posts in Sabah’s interior areas. These include the ones in Pegalungan, Nabawan and Kanibongan, Kota Marudu. Musa also disclosed that the marine police will be taking command of two island police posts, namely Bait in Semporna and Jambongan in Beluran. The move is necessary as the posts are located far from the city centre and by being so close to the State’s borders, they are exposed to higher outside threats and risks, he said adding that the GOF and marine police with their special training will be able to carry out their duties more effectively and consistently. He also disclosed that the GOF posts in Inderasabak, Tawau, Tronglit, Sandakan, Gum-Gum, Sandakan, Inderason, Kudat, Sahabat 16, Lahad Datu and Tanjung Labian, Lahad Datu will be upgraded to police posts which will function not only as a border post but as a normal police post with facilities to receive reports.