Sovereignty threatened by armed foreigners in Sabah

Borders without protection – FMT

The bizarre drama starring 100 Filipino gunmen exposes the weakness of our border defence.

On Feb 12, a group of 100 gunmen landed in the east coast of Lahad Datu, Sabah, and shattered the sense of security in the state. They breached the borders of Sabah and carried a frightening message: the state is not well protected and any armed group can walk in and wreak havoc. There is nothing much the people can do in the face of such a large, aggressive force. The genuine citizens of Sabah depend on the state apparatus for protection, but it appears that even the security personnel were taken by surprise over the brazen act of the 100 intruders.

It is unbelievable that the gunmen could have landed unnoticed and unchallenged. They should have been stopped dead in their tracks. Where were our security forces? One would have thought that security had been tightened and strengthened following past incidents of intrusions and kidnappings. Did not the government deploy extra security personnel along the borders? If the borders cannot be defended, then Sabah is open to attacks and can easily be overwhelmed. The 100 gunmen gave a preview of future incursions.

But again the government did not want to address the security issue directly. Instead, it chose to sidetrack it. Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi came up with a ridiculous version: the armed group might have the backing of Malaysians with political motives. The Malaysian backers want to portray the country in a bad light with the help of the armed group. It smacks of political expediency considering that the general election is drawing nigh. Perhaps he is pointing his fingers at the opposition politicians to score points with the local population. In the absence of concrete proof, the defence minister is not doing a good job at keeping the country safe.

Neither did Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein sounded convincing when he proclaimed that the government would not compromise the rights and safety of the people of Sabah. But the security of Sabah has been breached and Hishammuddin’s statement was an afterthought. His assurance has a hollow ring to it. The 100 heavily armed men had made a mockery of our defence shield. How can the people go about their business in peace when, day and night, the cold fingers of fear touch them from across the sea?

Serious problem

Not too long ago a navy regional commander boasted that the Royal Malaysian Navy had deployed 2,800 personnel to patrol Sabah waters, carrying out operations 24 hours a day and seven days a week. They can defend the state from any serious threat. Yet 100 gunmen were able to slip in under their very nose. They have set up “base” in a seaside village and are even negotiating with our security forces for a solution to end their “stay”. They are being treated with kid gloves.

Who are these gunmen? The government called them “intruders”. Others labelled them “invaders”. Where did they come from? They are Filipinos who style themselves the Royal Sulu Sultanate Army. This implies they have the capability to wage war and “establish military and administrative control over Sabah”. All this resurrects the ghost of history: the Sulu sultan’s claim on Sabah. If these fighters are descendants of the sultan, they cannot be treated as mere intruders but invaders out to stake a claim on Sabah. They are challenging the sovereignty of the country.

Borders without protection
February 19, 2013 – FMT


Full weight of law must fall on Lahad Datu intruders – Malaysiakini

COMMENT ‘The Sulu Sultanate invasion of Lahad Datu’ – That is the term I consider most appropriate to define the standoff between some 100 heavily armed intruders from the now defunct Sultanate of Sulu and the Malaysian security forces in Kampong Tanduo, Lahad Datu.

The intruders have made clear that they are there to stay for as long as necessary and more of their kind will be joining them to claim a piece of Sabah that they perceive to belong to their ancestors.

They have also made it clear they are not going to budge even when threatened with deportation.

If the first batch of 100 or more can infiltrate into our territories without being detected by our security forces, then their back-up forces can row their boats across easily without any resistance as well.

There was without any doubt a security lapse in Sabah waters.

There wouldn’t have been an intrusion of such magnitude otherwise.

If we are expecting the Philippines armed forces to assist us in preventing them from coming here, we might as well forget it.

If we played them out at the last minute in handing over Manuel Amalilio (left) the most wanted conman who has allegedly cheated some 15,000 Filipinos of almost Rm1 billion, then we cannot expect sincere cooperation from them.

While it is not wrong for some BN MPs to question Senator Nick Xenophon’s role in visiting Malaysia, it is also not wrong for Malaysians to demand both the defence minister and the home affairs minister to explain the security lapse in Sabah waters which resulted in the Kampong Tandou stand-off.

We have lost Pulau Batu Putih (Pedra Branca) to Singapore due to the carelessness and lapse of alertness by some civil servants.

We cannot afford to lose any more of our lands nor surrender our sovereignty to criminals nor show our weaknesses.

Not so different from Sauk incident

There’s not much difference between the stand-off in Kampong Tandou, Lahad Datu and the one that happened in Bukit Jenalik, Sauk, Perak in July 2000.

The only difference is in the numbers. There were less than 30 in the Sauk incident whilst in Kampong Tandou there are now at least 100 and more expected to join them.

If the Sauk case was classified as “waging or attempting to wage war against the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, a Ruler or Yang Di-Pertua Negeri”,which is an offence against the state, then the citizens can demand the same law be applied to the Sulu invaders.

If our own citizens involved in the Sauk incident can be forcibly disarmed and even killed by the security forces and later charged in the court of law and a few was eventually hanged, then the rakyat has the right to voice their outrage should the prime minister who was the defence minister during the Sauk incident, treat the Sulu invaders with kid gloves.

Full weight of law must fall on Lahad Datu intruders
Mat Zain Ibrahim
Feb 18, 2013 – Malaysiakini


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