#Frankly Speaking* Is our country safe?

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FOREIGNERS cannot be blamed for thinking Malaysia is not a safe place to visit.

The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and last week’s kidnapping of two women from a holiday resort in Semporna, Sabah, are worrying signs of a decline in the country’s security surveillance.

MH370, which was en route to Beijing, turned back and flew across Peninsular Malaysia unhindered, although it showed up on the military radar. Did the military do anything to investigate immediately?  

The Royal Malaysian Air Force could have sent jet fighters to force MH370 to land in Kota Baru or Penang after the airplane shut down communications with the control towers.

Over at Semporna, a famous destination for divers from around the world, unidentified gunmen kidnapped a 29-year-old Chinese tourist and a 40-year-old Filipino worker from a resort off the Sabah coast last Wednesday night.

It is not known whether the gunmen are intruders who entered the state by sea.  

Tourists have been abducted in Sabah before and unfortunately, it seems to be happening more frequently. Bear in mind that the intrusion by armed Sulu militants was just about a year ago.

Following the disappearance of MH370, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein noted that there was a pressing need to upgrade the military’s assets and radar system. But will costly military equipment and radar system help if the officers on duty are not alert?

After these two incidences, Malaysians are beginning to wonder if anyone is keeping watch over our borders and airspace.

This story first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly Edition, on April 7 - April 13, 2014.