The government's 'unconvincing actions' via negotiations had 'legitimised' the Sulu army's demands and made us a laughing stock, said STAR chief Jeffrey Kitingan.
KOTA KINABALU: Is the incursion of more than 100 armed Filipino men from the alleged royal Sulu army an elaborate federal level Umno strategy to scare Sabahans into voting back the Barisan Nasional in the 13th general election?
Is that why the federal government and its top leaders – Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak included – seem unperturbed by the threats and demands of the Manila-acknowledged Sultan of Sulu Jamalul Kiram III and his men led by brother Raja Muda Abimuddin who are holed up in Lahad Datu since Feb 9?
Isn’t it possible that Putrajaya and Manila are in cahoots? After all, it has been reported in the Philippine media that President Benigno Aquino was “informed of the incursions from Day One”. Also noteworthy is that Malaysia took credit as peacemaker in the long-drawn insurgency in the southern Philippines.
Furthermore, Najib, who was in Sabah on a whirlwind visit during the landings in Lahad Datu, had said nothing.
This would explain the police and security forces’ gentle handling of the situation when it would otherwise be treated as a breach of national security.
It all seems to point towards an orchestrated siege, said Sabah State Reform Party (STAR) chief Jeffrey Kitingan today.
Said Jeffrey: “This new form of fear-mongering makes sense knowing BN’s desperation in wanting to hold on to power in the light of the ruling coalition’s lowest level of popularity and support at the moment.”
He said the way the tense situation is being handled supported this theory, pointing out to the fact that neither Najib nor Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein had made any effort to explain the real situation in Lahad Datu in spite of the many inconsistencies on the information received by the people.
“The numerous rumours of disturbances like in Kota Kinabalu and other areas spreading through social networks like Facebook add credence to the theory of the intrusion being orchestrated to frighten the people of Sabah,” he said.
Jeffrey added that international reports of various Sulu Sultans claiming Sabah as their rightful homeland and the intruders as members of their royal army as well as the Malaysian government’s tentative handling of the incursion have only lent intrigue to the situation.
He also pointed out that by the government’s “unconvincing actions” via negotiations, it had “legitimised” their actions.
“We are becoming a laughing stock under the scrutiny of international observation.
“We are talking of an intrusion by military units in full gear and [the use of] weapons like M-16, the deadliest gun in army warfare.
“Why can’t they treat this as a flagrant criminal act, a breach of national security and a violation of Malaysian sovereignty?
“By negotiating, the government is giving a lot of legitimacy to the intruders as if they have some sort of rights.
“It’s also not amusing that the story is unfolding to portray the heroic acts of the intruders. It’s making the police and army look weak and indecisive,” said Jeffrey.
He also questioned the efficiency of Malaysia’s security apparatus in the incident.
“Where were the national military intelligence and tip-off of the impending intrusion or invasion so it could be pre-empted?
“The government must explain where were the navy, marine police and its security patrols? Where was the whole security apparatus with helicopters, tanks and heavy artillery? They should have been called in.
“[Everything points to] an orchestrated show and drama because the other components of a real invasion are missing,” he said. - FMT