Thursday, May 2, 2013

Name the "3 opposition leaders"!

Yong Teck Lee (April 30, 2103)
Ever since the irresponsible "startling disclosure" by the defence minister that 3 opposition leaders were involved in the Philippine Sulu incursion last February, several enquiries have been directed at me by people who wonder if the "one Sabah opposition leader" were me.

As a matter of fact, I have been speaking on this subject of the Philippine Sulu incursion at KK, Tawau and Sandakan. I displayed Philippine territorial maps in which Sabah is visible. The maps, bought in the Philippine book shops years ago, are a constant reminder to Filipinos about the place called Sabah/North Borneo. It is relevant that the maps do not label Sabah (Malaysia) but merely Sabah (North Borneo). The maps keep open the issue of the Sabah claim in the mindset of Filipinos.

But when the defence minister out of the blue and without details made the startling claim publicly that a Sabah opposition leader is involved in the Philippine incursion, instantly I got queries and even from an international media. In order to clear any shadow of doubt before the polling day, I had wanted the defence minister to retract the "disclosure" or else to name the "3 opposition leaders".

The defence minister's "disclosure" has casted a heavy psychological burden on me and indeed very worrying. Realising how lies and trumped up charges have been used before to discredit opposition leaders, I have every reason to be concerned.

This is because I have been informed that recently there was indeed a report to the police that I was involved, partly financed and met the leaders of the intruders, including one of the Kiram family, in Kota Kinabalu last year. If true, the involvement in the Philippine Sulu incursion is treason against the country and war against the Agong which is punishable by death.

I am not involved in any way whatsoever, whether directly or indirectly. I have never met any member of the Kiram clan in Sabah or anywhere else. All contacts that I had with the Philippines authorities, the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and MNLF leader Nur Misuari were under the purview of the National Security Council when I was the Sabah Security Committee Chairman (and Chief Minister). Any subsequent contacts that I had later with the Philippine ambassador and officials relate to the presence of illegal immigrants in Sabah, not the Sabah Claim. I have already made this clear to the top ranking police officer from Bukit Aman when I was first hauled up for investigation earlier this month. I even turned down attempts by a senior official of the Philippine foreign ministry, who was ambassador to Malaysia during my term as Chief Minister, to meet me in the aftermath of the Sulu incursion.

Due to the sensitive nature of the case and in order not to jeopardise ongoing investigations, I had kept this investigation to myself. But when the defence minister publicly made the allegation of a Sabah opposition leader being involved, I am truly concerned that the false allegation has been laid to discredit and to nail me very soon. After all there are not that many Sabah opposition leaders; much less Sabah leaders speaking on the Philippine Sulu incursions and its long term implications.

If there is no retraction or identifying the Sabah opposition leader concerned, then I have no choice but to make public my innocence against the false allegations about me and remove all doubts in the minds of the people and the security forces and police. This I will do on Wednesday, May 1 evening, although it is already too late for the benefit of the security forces and police who have casted their votes by May 1.

It is no coincidence that the defence minister had made the "disclosure" on the eve of postal balloting by the security forces who had to bear the brunt of the Philippine Sulu incursion. The defence minister is guilty of playing politics with national security.

Yong Teck Lee, President of SAPP

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