Saturday, March 16, 2013

Agbimuddin's Escape

On Thursday, The Star reported that MNLF's chairperson, Muslimin Sema had declared that they respect Sabah's decision to join Malaysia and that the MNLF had nothing to do with the armed incursion (p 12). I think this is comforting news because it means that the Lahad Datu fighting is unlikely to spread to the rest of the state and we should not expect it to turn into an intractable insurgency that will certainly not benefit the country. Sabahans have already suffered so much, kan?

And on the following day, Utusan Malaysia screamed that the armed Sulu insurgents who intruded into Lahad Datu had actually intended to launch their attack as soon as Parliament is dissolved! Quoting unnamed sources, the UMNO-owned Malay daily reported that the intruders, supported by local residents, had wanted to take advantage of the election process to throw the country into chaos.

“We are grateful that they were detected earlier and efforts to thwart them are under way.”

This is yet another piece of trashy journalism from the newspaper that habitually distorts the truth!

Bernama already quoted Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin of accusing the opposition of wanting to stir disorder to disrupt the elections. While in the Philippines, where mid-term elections are scheduled in May, President Benigno Aquino III has also claimed that a "conspiracy" was behind the Sabah journey of the sultanate's followers.

Meanwhile, former Sabah chief minister Harris Salleh has pleaded to the police to cease action against the Suluk community in Lahad Datu and Semporna. According to Harris, Suluk leaders have reported that police are taking identity cards, and IMM13 documents (of the Suluk people) and destroying them. He pointed out that the police have no powers to destroy federal government documents except with confirmation from the National Registration Department, and doing so would only breed animosity between Sabah and the Sulu people.

Also on Friday, Tawi-Tawi governor Sadikul Sahari informed The Star that he was told that a group of fifty Filipinos had fled Sabah and landed in his province’s Taganak island. He didn't think these were the Lahad Datu intruders but mere ordinary folks.

Today, at 6:30 AM, Malaysian security forces picked up an unarmed Sulu "terrorist" in the Ops Daulat offensive zone in Felda Sahabat and they again let it be known that less than 50 “terrorists” are still there. Our soldiers must be very thorough, very careful and very deliberate – they have yet to finish their mopping up ops. Maybe we should give them another month or so. Or better still, half a year!

Also today’s The Star reported Armed Forces Chief Zulkifeli Mohd Zain as saying that Sulu “terrorist” leader Agbimuddin Kiram has fled to his native southern Philippines (p 04). Sabah police commissioner Hamza Taib also seemed to agree but he also said that he did not discount the possibility that he may be still lurking in Sabah (Star Online published March 16, 2013 at webpage I wish they speak the same language so that identical news are being conveyed to the general public.

And I don’t get it at all! Do you mean to say that the Sulus can still move with impunity? Assuming that the report above is to be believed.

But of course, the other side is disputing this. Abraham Idjirani, spokesperson and secretary-general of the Sulu sultanate, dismissed the reports as "propaganda". He insisted he last spoke with Agbimuddin on Friday and was told the crown prince is still in Sabah, where he has continued to evade operations by Malaysian security forces.

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