Parliament and Sabah State Assembly should meet in urgent sessions

Parliament and the Sabah State Assembly should meet in urgent sessions if the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, is incapable of protecting the sovereignty of Sabah and Malaysia and the rights and safety of Sabahans.

Malaysiakini has quoted the Sunday report of Philippine Daily Inquirer today that despite the Malaysian authorities declaring an end to negotiations with more than 100 armed Filipinos who landed in Sabah early this week and saying they will be deported, the group's leader insists that they will stay put.

Jamalul Kiram III, who claims to be ruler of the now defunct Sulu Sultanate, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that he authorised the 'incursion' and that his men would remain in Lahad Datu as long as needed.

Jamalul said the group, led by his younger brother crown prince Agbimuddin Kiram, would remain in Sabah for "as long as necessary" in their bid to reclaim the state, which was formerly a territory of the Sulu Sultanate.

"I sent my brother to Sabah in the name of peace and in the exercise of our historic, ancestral and sovereign right over Sabah," Jamalul, who is in Manila, is quoted as saying by the Philippine national daily.

"It is upon us, the leaders of Sulu, to claim back what is ours," he added

The Philippine Daily Inquirer also quoted Agbimuddin as saying that his group, holed up in a village in Lahad Datu, is equipped with an assortment of weapons, including M-14, M-16, M203, Baby Armalite and no one could make them leave unless his elder broher Jamalul decreed that they do so.

Agbimuddin added that more men, supporters of the Sulu Sultanate, were expected to join them in Sabah soon.

This report in the Philippine Daily Inquirer has made nonsense of the statements by the Bukit Aman Internal Security and Public Order director Datuk Salleh Mat Rasid and the Sabah police chief Comm Datuk Hamza Taib that negotiations were over with the more than 100 Filipino gunmen holed up at the seaside village of Tanduo in Lahad Datu and that the Malaysian authorities were ready to deport the armed group back to southern Philippines.

It has also put the Home Minister in a very bad light as the patience and confidence of Sabahans and Malaysians in Hishamuddin’s ability to resolve the stand-off at Lahat Datu speedily and in a peaceful manner have run very thin, especially as the Home Minister seems more interested and pre-occupied in playing political games in the run-up to the 13th general elections than fully focussed on security issues affecting the people and the nation, like:

  • Trying to give credence to the “tall tale” that the lives of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the Korean K-pop superstar Psy were threatened during the Barisan Nasional Chinese New Year bash in Penang on Monday, when there is no iota of evidence or ounce of truth;

  • Defending the outrageous detention and deportation of Australian Senator Nick Xenophon for taking up the cause of fair and clean elections in Malaysia and attracting world-wide condemnation; and

  • Disseminating lies about the DAP not having submitted party election returns to the Registrar of Societies when this had been done before the Chinese New Year, raising questions whether he is preparing the grounds for the UMNO/BN government to declare DAP as an illegal and unlawful political party.

If Hishammuddin is incapable of single-mindedly focussing on resolving the stand-off with the armed Filipino group in Lahad Datu in a speedy and peaceful manner, he should let others who are capable of giving proper priority to national security issues as distinct from concocting politically-inspired controversies to do the job.

It will be most unfortunate if Hishammuddin is associated in the minds of Malaysians, particularly Sabahans, with the saying: "Nero fiddled while Rome burned".

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timur