18-day countdown to 13GE – Cautious welcome for RCI on Suluk intrusion into Sabah
DAP welcomes the announcement by the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak would be announcing the formation of a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to investigate the Sulu intrusion of Lahad Datu and that details of the RCI would be revealed tomorrow.
DAP's welcome is however tinged with caution as the RCI into the Suluk intrusion in Lahad Datu and Semporna, which has caused the lives of 10 national heroes from the police and army, must be an independent, impartial and professional one, and should not be become a political and electioneering tool to serve the political agenda of any political interests, whether Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat.
In fact, this is an occasion for all political forces, whether Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rayat, to put aside their partisan differences and unite as one patriotic Malaysian movement not only to pay tribute and honour the ten national heroes who gave their lives in the defence of national sovereignty and to ensure the safety of the people of Sabah, but also to give unstinting support to the security forces to adopt all necessary measures to protect national sovereignty and defend security of the people and security forces personnel.
Let us not blemish the great sacrifices of our 10 national heroes with petty divisions and agendas. Let all Malaysians, including the PM, DPM, Cabinet Ministers, political leaders whether BN or PR, rise above their partisan differences and unite as one patriotic Malaysian people on this issue.
Pakatan Rakyat leaders are prepare to do this. Are Barisan Nasional leaders, including the PM, DPM, Cabinet Ministers and the Sabah Chief Minister, prepared to do the same?
This is why Pakatan Rakyat leadership had called for an emergency meeting of Parliament and an all-party roundtable conference to fully pay tribute and honour the fallen heroes, declare full support to the security forces in all necessary measures to defend national sovereignty and ensure the safety of the people of Sabah including security personnel stationed in Sabah; give national commitment that the bereaved families and their children will be taken care at state expense for life, including education to university level, by the Federal Government, whether BN or PR; condemn the intrusion and invasion of the Sulu gunmen into Lahad Datu and Semporna causing the loss of Malaysian lives; demand the cessation of payment of the annual rental of RM5,300 to descendants of Sulu Sultanate; and to call on the Philippines Government to demonstrate ASEAN community and spirit by officially dropping all claims to Sabah.
I want to urge in the strongest terms possible that Malaysian political leaders whether in government or opposition, should not debase and demean the sacrifice of the 10 fallen heroes, by reducing the RCI into a a witch-hunt or defamation campaign against PR leaders.
For this reason, DAP wishes to make the following proposals by the RCI into the Sulu invasion:
Consultation with PR leaders on formation of RCI
– The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak should consult with Pakatan Rakyat leaders on the formation of the RCI into the Sulu invasion, especially with regard to the composition, terms of reference and the time-frame and mode of operation of the RCI.
Members of the RCI into Sulu intrusion should be Malaysians of impeccable character commanding undisputed respect and authority from all strata of society, including all political parties. There should be adequate Sabah representation on the RCI.
This is particularly relevant as the present Barisan Nasional Federal government is an “expired” government, having exceeded the five-year natural life of Parliament on March 8, 2008.
Terms of Reference
Widest and most comprehensive terms of reference, not only into the root causes if any of the invasion, but how there could be such a major security and intelligence lapse that a ragtag group of some 200 armed Suluks could intrude into Lahad Datuk on Feb. 9, and to entrench themselves at Kampong Tanduo for 23 days, before the stand-off deteriorated into shoot-outs; why the various agencies did not to stop the intrusion of the Suluk armed men on Feb. 9; whether the loss of lives of ten security personnel could be avoided; whether there had been political interferences preventing or deterring the security chiefs from dealing with the Suluk intrusion in the most satisfactory manner as not to cause any loss of lives or to land the country in a protracted national and international crisis inimical to Malaysia's interntional image and reputation.
In the past weeks, there have been allegations implicating Malaysian personalities, both the Perime Minister Najib and the Parliamentary Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in the Suluk invasion.
The RCI should investigate into all these and other allegations in the greatest depth, neutrality and impartiality.
Time-frame for RCI
Public hearing should only begin after 13GE so as to avoid accusation that it is set up as a political ploy to serve partisan interests of the ruling political parties to ensure their election in the 13GE – debasing and demeaning the loss of lives of the 10 security forces as well as the security concerns of all loyal and patriotic Malaysians.
From dissolution of Parliament to polling day normally takes about a month. There can be no reason why the RCI into Sulu intrusion cannot be held after the 13GE if the purpose is to establish the truth and nothing but the truth about all aspects of the Sulu intrusion – taking into consideration that the RCI into illegal immigrants was only formed after more than three decades of public pressure and more than six months after a formal Cabinet decision had been taken.