Malaysia denies alleged fresh clashes in Sabah
DAVAO CITY – Malaysian authorities have dismissed a recent claim by an aide of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III about fresh clashes between the so-called Sulu Royal Security Force and Malaysian security forces in Lahad Datu.
Speaking over a Sabah radio station, whose broadcast was monitored here Tuesday, Eastern Sabah Security Command director Mohamad Mantek said it would be impossible to keep such incident from public knowledge if it indeed took place.
Earlier, Kiram spokesperson Abraham Idjirani reported that 400 members of the RSF, which have since made Lahad Datu their base, were moving about in Dengan Tungku area on Monday afternoon when they clashed with Malaysian security forces.
Idjirani said it was Agbimuddin, the younger brother of the Sulu sultan, who fed the information to him. “There had been no reported casualties,” he was quoted by Manila media as saying. “The problem is no such thing happened in Sabah after Ops Daulat was terminated in March,” Mohamad said.
Ops Daulat (Operation Freedom) was the all-out campaign that the Malaysian government waged against Kiram’s men and involved more or less 5,000 police and military forces backed by air, ground and maritime assets.
At least 80 combatants – including Malaysian forces – were killed during the month-long Ops Daulat and nearly 500 others had been arrested on suspicion of direct involvement or abetting what has since been known as the Sabah invasion.
A large number of those arrested in the course of Ops Daulat had been released but others, including people with Sulu ancestry, had been charged under Malaysia’s Security Offenses and Special Measures Act (Sosma).
“There had been no new intrusion and no movement from the Philippine side had been monitored so far,” Mohamad said.
He criticized Idjirani for making the claim, which he described as “mischievous and was meant to fuel unease” among Sabahans.
In Idjirani’s claim, the Dengan Tungku clash lasted for several minutes and it only stopped when the RSF “retreated to their base in Lahad Datu.”
Meanwhile, Mohamad said the campaign against terror attacks in Malaysia – similar to what Kiram’s men did early this year – was continuing and security had been tightened especially in the waters dividing the country with neighboring countries.
He said Malaysia has acquired sophisticated instruments that could monitor movements along its borders and sea and air crafts were on standby in case of fresh intrusions.
But Wilfred Madius Tangau, a member of the Malaysian Parliament, said the security blanket was not enough as many foreigners – many of whom might have aided the Sulu invaders – were already in Sabah.
Reported as speaking before the Royal Commission of Inquiry on illegal immigrants in Sabah, Wilfred, the 117th witness who spoke before the said body, said on Tuesday what the Malaysian government should do is to take back all Malaysian identity cards (Mykads) from all foreigners living on the state.
The RCI was formed by the Najib Razak-led coalition government in August last year in response to mounting criticisms that Malaysian citizenship was being handed to foreigners like hot cakes.
There was also the issue of massive forgery of Mykads by foreigners.
Wilfred said the Malaysian government could issue new Mykads to qualified foreigners but only after the entire IC system had been overhauled.
“This is an issue of integrity…We need to reset the entire thing to ground zero,” he was quoted as telling the five-man RCI by the Malaysian Insider.
Wilfred said when this had been done, the problem on illegal immigrants would also be solved.
“For those who feel they are really citizens, there is nothing to fear,” he added.