Malaysia Public Announcement
Issued by US Department of State
May 13, 2004
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 November 7, 2003 Public Announcement and expires on November 12, 2004.
Since 2000, there have been several kidnappings in eastern Sabah's coastal areas. The terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), based in the southern Philippines, has been responsible for some of these incidents. In April 2004, two Malaysians and an Indonesian were kidnapped from their vessel, which was in Philippine waters off the coast of eastern Sabah. Though the incident occurred in the Philippines, it is worth noting that it took place very close to eastern Sabah. In October 2003, six Indonesian and Filipino workers were kidnapped from a coastal resort in eastern Sabah. These incidents reinforce the United States' concern for the safety of travelers to this region of Malaysia. Sabah has extensive open waters between the mainland and offshore resorts, and emergency assistance may not always be available. For these reasons, American citizens should exercise caution when visiting the coastal areas of eastern Sabah.
The United States Government has designated Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. JI is an extremist group linked to al-Qaeda and other regional terrorist groups, such as the ASG, 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 http://travel.state.gov. 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.