Wednesday, 6 March 2013

LAHAD DATU OVERKILL: Umno-BN's final debacle

Thursday, 07 March 2013 11:49
LAHAD DATU OVERKILL: Umno-BN's final debacle
Written by  Nawawi Mohamad, Malaysia Chronicle

We do not need rocket science to ensure that our sovereignty is intact especially from intruders like the ones who 'dropped by' in Sabah. No doubt they were armed but they were still a rag-tag rather unkempt bunch compared to our armed forces.
But UMNO ministers are either “kelam-kabut” (headless chicken mode) or couldn’t care less. Remember the tsunami threat last year when the various bodies and authorities issued irrelevant and conflicting instructions and information. It was just fortunate that the tsunami fizzled out before coming anywhere near to us but that is in hindsight.
The point is none of the ministers came forward to give assurance, guidance or to lead the people. We were left to our own perils while they were too busy attending the opening of the new National Palace, eating and drinking the best that money could buy while we worried and fretted. Why couldn't even one of the senior ministers take charge?
Lack of intelligence: Sitting duck for intruders
There must be an effort to make sure that we do not have real enemies capable of armed incursions. This could be achieved by having reliable and proactive intelligence that can pre-empt any such moves.
After establishing a reliable intelligence network, our authorities must act to nullify the threat, pacify or delay the efforts of our opponents so that we can move ourselves into a position of strength. In getting ready, the logistics, communications and central command are crucial, thus the first line of defense must be in place along the shores of Sabah both on land and offshore. This would entail having enough security personnel, patrol boats and naval vessels.
Therefore the two extremely expensive but non-useful Scorpene submarines bought by our government are a waste of money. Overpriced naval vessels produced in the Boustead Naval Shipyard that don't really conform to specifications won’t work either.
As such, when none of the above was in place, it was easy for foreign intruders to invade our shores, even such a ragtag group as the Lahad Datu 200. We not only left our front door open but even gave the key to the thieves, so to speak.
Political interference
Even so, we still have our security forces and they should still have been able to defend us if they had been allowed to act without political interference. This leads us to the next question. Was the decision by the Najib administration to use the police a wise or correct one?
Remember the PDRM is a peace-keeping and law enforcement force. Even its notorious unit FRU is not equipped to fight a full-fledged battle simply because they are not trained to do so. The PDRM can be a trigger-happy lot at times, but warfare is warfare. And the ragtag Lahad Datu group clearly contains many seasoned jungle warfare veterans.
In all probability, the six dead policemen were unsure of what to do. They may not even realize what hit had them! The PDRM has not been trained to operate in jungles or even in palm oil plantations! They cannot maneuver in such places, let alone have an action plan! The death of the six policemen is therefore wasteful and unnecessary.
We can conclude that both Najib and his cousin Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein are foolish and incapable of performing their ministerial tasks without major bungling and fumbling.
Political agenda
As for harboring some hidden agenda to ensure that Sabahans will vote BN, if true why go to such extent? Can’t it be less costly and less dramatic? Why take on so much risk? It appears Umno-BN might be more desperate than they let on. For sure, when someone is under extreme stress, that person will surely make the worst mistakes. Is this what happened to Najib in Lahad Datu?
Any right-minded army general would have known that hostilities would break out in Lahad Datu. The intruders were armed, dressed in military fatigues and they had even openly declared their intention to take Sabah by force. So the the right enforcement body to pick was surely the Malaysian military and Najib should not try to excuse his way out of this.
The PM should not try to negotiate with this group whether openly or covertly. Just give them the ultimatum - leave by Feb 22 - and when the time runs out, start shooting.
Our army has more than 50 years of experience and all troops are trained for warfare in the jungle and palm oil plantations. Given their capabilities, just two platoons of the Ranger Regiment could easily nullify the Sulu intruders without any lost of lives on our part.
But sad to say, Najib was not thinking of saving lives, money and time.
Despite all the Umno hoo-ha and attempts to pin the blame on Opposition leaders Anwar Ibrahim and Tian Chua, the fact is Najib needs this incident to raise his political image if he wants Umno-BN to win the GE-13.
Now, it is clear. Their last card in the sleeve has backfired and they are left with nothing but poor Tian Chua to crucify. Even Anwar is above their reach.
At lthe very best for Umno-BN, the effects of this conflict may erode some of support going to the Opposition side but it won;t be much. The big losers are Najib, Hisham, Defense Minister Zahid Hamidi and of course, former premier Mahathir Mohamad.
For sure, no one in Sabah will now allow Mahathir to get away without punishment for his Project I.C. The Lahad Datu intrusion and the resulting revenge killings underscore how dangerous it is to close an eye to allowing illegal immigrants to settle in the country in exchange for them voting for Umno-BN at elections.
As for Najib, he may have expected to achieve 'hero-status' over the Lahad Datu incident since it has an international angle to it. But as they say, hero and zero are just 25 alphabets away! This affair is slowly but surely reverberating across the Sulu Sea. It is not over yet by any means. The shabby way the Najib administration handled will erode Malaysia's image for decades. We will be a laughing stock in the region and for a long time too.
Perhaps, the only noticeable advantage to Najib is that the Lahad Datu debacle has overshadowed his other scandals that are being exposed by Deepak Jaikishan and P.I. Balasubramaniam.
Lastly, the Sabah debacle has once again established in the minds of Malaysians just how incompetent and politically dishonest are many of the UMNO leaders. Certainly, they are more capable of siphoning and carting away the wealth of the nation than keeping it safe and sound for the citizens.
Malaysia Chronicle