Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Lack of firm action will lead to ‘copy cat’ invasions in future
According to a former Sabah chief minister, 'the military's hands are tied by the politicians' thus the gentle handling of the Lahad Datu incursion.
KOTA KINABALU: The lack of firm action by the authorities to end the incursion by a Filipino militia group from Sulu in Lahad Datu may encourage “copy cat intrusions” in the future, former Sabah Chief Minister Yong Teck Lee warned.
“If the intruders are seen to have gotten away with this blatant challenge to Malaysian sovereignty, then the Malaysian government must be ready to face copy cat intrusions in the future.
“In the longer term, the government, the armed forces, the police and other security agencies will lose moral and political authority over its own people,” he said in a statement here.
Yong, who hails from this east coast town, said the lack of decisive action has also exposed the absence of political will in Putrajaya to defend Sabah and Malaysia’s sovereignty.
“As a result, Malaysia is fast losing credibility in the eyes of the people and our international neighbours,” he said.
Yong also questioned why the Malaysian armed forces and police which have the capability to repel the armed intruders, said variously to number between 100 and over 300, had not been aware of the invaders’ presence until the group had set up camp.
“I had witnessed, as the then Chief Minister, a full-scale military exercise conducted in 1997 by paratroopers and ground forces in the same locality at Tungku with the specific strategic objective to evict a foreign armed invasion.
“That is why a few days ago, I said that the people should have every confidence in the security forces of Malaysia to eventually repel this intrusion,” he said.
He said the federal government’s explanation that the armed group were “not militants or terrorists” and that since they had guns it was important that the government’s response did not lead to bloodshed was absurd.
“Whether the intruders are militants or Abu Sayyaf or some kind of royal outfit is irrelevant.
“The fact remains that an organised armed group has openly challenged Malaysian sovereignty and declare war on the Yang di-Pertuan Agung and on Malaysia.
“These intruders are now saying ‘so what are you going to do about it?’ Our armed force is being humiliated by a meagre force of 100 men just because the military’s hands are tied by the politicians.
“So much money has been spent on training, equipment, logistics and manpower to face this type of intrusion, and yet when it happened, Malaysia can do little about it,” he said.
Posted by JOE at 4:51 PM