Sunday, 3 March 2013

CONSEQUENCES OF PROJECT M: Threat of migrant Filipinos in Sabah explodes

Monday, 04 March 2013 08:44
CONSEQUENCES OF PROJECT M: Threat of migrant Filipinos in Sabah explodes
LAHAD DATU - Sources from the Philippines authorities monitoring the Kampung Tanduo standoff said Friday's bloody clash that left 12 South Philippines gunmen dead may have provoked sentiments among their followers who have settled along the coastal villages between Tawau and Lahad Datu.
"These gunmen from the Sulu Sultanate are made up mainly of four tribes, namely the Tausug, Majuindanao, Badjao and Samal. These tribes have great brotherhood among them and regardless of their nationalities, they will rise in show of loyalty to their ethnicity.
"It will be no surprise if these tribes living in Malaysia join forces to fight the cause of their South Philippines counterparts.
"In South Philippines, these tribes also make up the bulk of MNLF and Abu Sayaf rebels, joining forces in an alliance of convenience to fight common causes. They are hardcore rebels who have battle in their blood and do not give up easily. It is not unusual for them fight to their death." said a source.
The sources said intelligence reports showed that the armed group of about 200 who are followers of self-proclaimed Sulu Ruler Sultan Jamalul Kiram III had planned the encroachment at least four months earlier.
"Jamalul held a meeting with his followers, members of the MNLF and remnants of the Abu Sayaf rebels in October last year and offered them land in Sabah if they fought along to capture the state. They have been entering Sabah undetected since before the standoff on Feb 12. Other large groups had also attempted to penetrate the Sabah coast since the standoff but it was thwarted by the Philippines navy that have deployed seven ships to keep them away from Malaysian waters."
It is learnt that Jamalul's brother, Raja Muda Azzimudie Kiram who is leading the armed group in Kampung Tanduo, had on Saturday pleaded for medical assistance for his injured men from the Philippines forces guarding their waters.
However, when he was told that aid would only be rendered if his group gave up their firearms and surrender, Azzimudie refused and remained defiant. It is also learnt that the group had been burying its dead members since Saturday.
Religious leader killed by police
Friday's clash ended the 16-day standoff that began on Feb 12 with two police commandos of the General Operations Force elite VAT 69 killed and their three squad members severely injured.
Meanwhile, Raja Muda Azzimudie Kiram, the younger brother of the self-proclaimed Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram, claimed during a telephone interview with a Philippines radio station that his men had captured at least five Malaysian policemen and seized a cache of firearms. His claims have yet to be verified with police.
Sources also revealed that three of the five policemen who were killed in the ambush at Kampung Sri Jaya Siminul in Semporna were ruthlessly attacked with parangs and keris by a dozen of people said to be Tausug villagers living there.
It is learnt that a prominent and religious leader who was part of the group that was ambushed and shot by the police party was killed when police returned fire, and this infuriated the rest who went on a rampage with knives and sharp objects.
The superintendent had led three dozen police personnel in an operation at Kampung Sri Jaya Siminul, about 180km from the original area of intrusion at Kampung Tanduo.
The operation was launched at 4pm on Saturday following intelligence reports of the existence of a cache of firearms in the village and that an uprising by certain groups of villagers believed to be of Southern Philippines origin and residing there was in the making.
About three hours into the operation, the team came under gunfire attack while it was scouring one village after another.
It is learnt that the superintendent who was the first to be hit by a hail of gunshots fired by hiding gunmen died moments later. – thesundaily

Monday, 04 March 2013 08:26
Valuable lessons from Lahad Datu

THE Lahad Datu drama and tragedy has taught us two valuable lessons. It is sad that our security forces suffered losses and lives. Our hearts go out to them for their bravery.
First, the security of our country needs to be beefed up with better surveillance. Though we have a large coastal line, our navy should be well-equipped to monitor the entire coastline of the peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak.
The ease with which the 180 armed men came and took charge of a village in Lahad Datu needs to be looked into seriously. Many questions need to be answered. How did our maritime forces allow the Sulu fishing vessels and boats to enter our waters? How did they evade our surveillance and tracking radars?
And why did we allow them to camp in the village for more than two weeks? We should have been firmer in our negotiations. The extensions of the deadline and time lapse only showed our weakness and indecisiveness.
The second and more important lesson is the issue of illegal immigrants. There are thousands of them in Sabah.
The overwhelming presence of these immigrants should be checked and reduced. Those without papers and valid documents should be deported.
These immigrants are also involved in crime and other undesirable activities. The government needs to check this menace.
Samuel Yesuiah
-          thesundaily