24th September 2020
ALLEGATION OF PROMISED LAND TO LAHAD DATU INTRUDERS IS SHOCKING
It irks to see the ghost of the 2013 Tanduo, Lahad Datu incursion returns to haunt during the current Sabah election campaign. Painful memories of the operational bungling and the lost of precious lives among our brave men of the security forces resurface that we would rather forget with lessons learnt. A new allegation on the facts of the incident necessitates further investigation and the truth must be told.
Over the last two days the usual faultfinders of Patriot were abuzz, criticising us for not telling off the Warisan MP who said, “Tanks were sent to the villages to fight with chickens”. Patriot would like to remind our critics that we have enough wisdom when it comes to semantics and use of rhetorical language in politics, and more so during an election campaign. The barrage of criticism from political opponents should have taught the careless MP his lesson.
Patriot is of the view that the conduct of our security forces during the incident in February/March 2013 was magnanimous. They had followed orders. What bungled was the interference of ministers who behaved like generals. The real generals and ground commanders should have been given a free reign without political interference. Orders should have been to shoot-to-kill and no negotiation with armed foreign intruders, as we have mentioned in our previous statements.
However, there is also the latest startling allegation about the incident that is of serious concern. It has been alleged that land was promised to the so-called armed intruders and that they had come to claim the land. It was also alleged that the incident happened because certain factions of the Moro were unhappy with the peace deal; and unfulfilled promise in the Moro peace talks in Kuala Lumpur and the Moro peace agreement in Manila in October 2012, where our nation played a part.
A check in the Reuter report around that period regarding what was reported in the Philippines did not corroborate with what was reported in our country. It is shocking if the allegation about land in Sabah being promised to the ‘foreign intruders’ is true. Key cabinet members at that time have a lot to answer. They were – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, and Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman.
The ‘pendatang tanpa inzin’ (PTI) issue in Sabah has dragged on for decades. The Lahad Datu incident, which was linked to the PTI issue, should not have happened if only there was political will to solve the problem. Lessons must be learnt, and it must start with integrity and honesty in governance. Furthermore, the presence of PTI is also a security threat that feeling sorry in the future will be too late.
The people of Sabah and all Malaysian want answers regarding the Lahad Datu incursion.
BG Dato Mohamed Arshad Raji (Rtd)
Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan