02 July 2013

BN MP slams govt guarantee to keep Sabah safe

Barisan Nasional MP Abdul Ghapur Salleh was upset. Upset enough to fire back at the government when it was stated that it could guarantee the safety of Sabahans. 

"But we don't feel it is guaranteed. We don't want you to say that our safety is guaranteed," he shot back at Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.  

At the heart of the matter was the recent Sulu intrusion of Lahad Datu, a confrontation that ended in the deaths of 10 Malaysian security forces personnel and 70 Sulu gunmen.

Wan Junaidi had said moments before that "the Emergency in Malaya lasted for 12 years, 1948 to 1960, but the government only took three months to resolve this," adding that the government can guarantee the safety of the people in Sabah with the Eastern Sabah Safety Zone (Esszone) in place.

However, Abdul Ghapur, the MP from Kalabakan, was already agitated. He had earlier scolded the deputy minister for his explanation on why the government had been slow to react and how they had tried to negotiate with the armed Sulu intruders.

"If someone enters my home with weapons, and on top of that, bullies me, will I negotiate? Of course I won't.  

"I will take my shotgun and shoot him immediately," he said to cheers from both sides of the divide.

Abdul Ghapur said he had raised the issue of the lack of security along the coast of Eastern Sabah in Parliament several times before but nothing was done.

"We in the East Coast cannot sleep at night because of this. This was an intrusion which means we were lackadaisical and to top it we let them negotiate?"

Wan Junaidi admitted the Malaysian government had been slow to react to the Sulu intrusion, but only in the name of "good neighbourliness".

He said the government also wanted to know the reason for the intrusion before acting.

"It involves foreigners from a neighbouring country," he said, adding it had not been easy to ascertain at the time what the intruders had wanted.

Wan Junaidi told the House that authorities only realised that the intruders were armed after the attack on Malaysian police on March 1.

"That was when we knew they were terrorists who wanted to lay their claim on Sabah," he said when questioned.

Wan Junaidi said the government also had to consult its counterparts in the Philippines, "to cooperate with them before doing anything".

The authorities first tried to negotiate with the intruders in the hope they would leave but negotiations broke down after the gunmen attacked Malaysian security forces on March 1 and it escalated from then on.

In the aftermath, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced the setting up of the Esszone which covers a coastline of 1,400km in the districts of Lahad Datu, Kudat, Kota Marudu, Pitas, Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu, Kunak, Semporna and Tawau.

Meanwhile, four Malaysians were among 30 people who were charged today under The Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) over the Sulu intrusion. 

One of them, Detective Corporal Hassan Ali Basari, 61, was accused of withholding terrorism information at the office of the Lahad Datu Special Branch chief.

The other locals are Norhaida Ibnahi, 46, Abd Hadi Mawan, 49, and Abdul Majil Jubin, 41.

Norhaida was charged with harbouring a group of terrorists while the other two were accused of being members of a terrorist group and treason against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

The armed intruders had first entered Kampung Tanduo in Lahad Datu on Feb 12. - July 2, 2013.


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