DIGOS CITY—Malaysian Defense Minister Ahmad Hamidi on Wednesday claimed that at least three Malaysian opposition leaders were behind the Sabah invasion by “Sulu terrorists” in February.
The foray into the Malaysian state by armed supporters of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III had caused a month-long security crisis in Sabah. At least 70 people were killed in military operations and more than 400 people, many of them with Sulu origins, were arrested. But the leader of the Sulu gunmen, “crown prince” Agbimuddin Kiram, remained at large.
Ahmad told a Sabah-based radio station, whose broadcast was monitored here Thursday, that he would not name the opposition leaders until the Malaysian general elections are over because it might be construed as politically motivated.
“Certain parties might claim it is a political ploy by (the Barisan Nasional or ruling coalition) or a political drama by (the United Malays Nationalist Organization), which is why all action pertaining to the intrusion incident would be taken up after the 13th general election,” he said.
Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim of the Parti Rakyat Keadilan (People’s Justice Party) said he believed that Ahmad’s statement was indeed a political ploy against the opposition, particularly those in Sabah.
Ahmad is a stalwart of the Najib Razak-led Umno, the dominant political party in Malaysia’s ruling political coalition.
Ahmad said pieces of information pertaining to the alleged involvement of the opposition leaders—two from Sabah and one from the Malaysian mainland—in the invasion were now being consolidated and would be forwarded to the Attorney General’s Chamber “for further action.”
“Legal action will be taken after all the necessary evidence had been gathered. We already have some,” Ahmad said.
But Anwar recently told reporters that he wanted to know what proof Ahmad has in linking opposition figures to the Sabah invasion.