Malaysia Public Announcement
Issued by US Department of State
Nov 13, 2003
This Public Announcement reiterates the Department of State's ongoing
concern about the safety of American citizens and interests, especially
along the east coast of the Malaysian state of Sabah, due to the presence of
terrorist organizations in Southeast Asia. This supersedes the Public
Announcement of May 14, 2003, and expires on
June 6, 2004.
The October 5, 2003, kidnapping of six Indonesian and Filipino workers from
a resort along the coast of eastern Sabah reinforce the U.S. concern for the
safety of travelers to that region of Malaysia. In 2000, armed gunmen
associated with the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group based in the southern
Philippines took hostages from the islands of Sipadan and Pandanan in
eastern Sabah and transported them to the Philippines. Since then, the
Malaysian government has substantially increased its police and military
presence in the region, notably near popular Western tourist destinations.
Nonetheless, the region is large and remote and in many locations, which
include open waters between the mainland and offshore resorts, emergency
assistance may not always be available. For these reasons, American
citizens should avoid eastern Sabah.
In October 2002, the United States Government designated the Jemaah
Islamiyah (JI) a Foreign Terrorist Organization. JI is an extremist group
linked to al-Qaida and other regional terrorist groups and has cells
operating throughout Southeast Asia. Extremist groups in the region have
demonstrated their capability to carry out transnational attacks in
locations where Westerners congregate. Terrorist groups do not distinguish
between official and civilian targets.
Americans planning to travel to Malaysia are encouraged to register with the
U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur and to consult the Department of State's
Consular Information Sheet for Malaysia and the Department of State's most
recent Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, both available at
. Americans planning to travel to Sabah should
also contact the U.S. Embassy before departure by telephone at (6-03)
2168-5000, or by e-mail at [email protected]
. Up-to-date information on security
conditions may be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United
States and, from overseas, 317-472-2328.