So It Ends at Lahad Datu?


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(Just look at the fire-power in the back. Why it took so long to end this conflict? It is clear that these men were ready to defend their intrusion to the end and had push the authorities to back off until their demands are fully met. Why now? Why the sudden armed the intrusion after the Sultan getting payments from Malaysia for years now? Image source: http://news.abnxcess.com)

It has been almost 3 weeks and after the country’s sovereignty was molested by a couple of armed men and forced our mighty and well trained security forces to do “jaga” work – you know, the usual patrolling the perimeter to keep the unwanted media out whilst the armed men and his old Sultan continue to make undue demands on Sabah, it finally ends (well it is not the end of the armed men in Sabah though but rather the end of the passive treatment from the authorities – unfortunately no thanks to the armed men making the first move) today:-

The Prime Minister has confirmed that two police personnel were killed and three others injured during the clash between Malaysian armed forces and Sulu gunmen in Tanduo village near Lahad Datu, Sabah. Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the armed Philippino group had ventured 1.5km from their holed up area and opened fire at the Malaysian security forces.

“I have given the full mandate to the ground commanders, namely the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar and the Armed Forces Chief Tan Sri Zulkefli Mohd Zin to take necessary action deemed necessary,” he said.

Meanwhile, in Lahad Datu, Sabah police commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib told reporters that 12 Sulu gunmen were killed in the clash between Malaysian General Operations Force members and the gunmen. The number of injured among the Sulu group is unknown.

(Source)

Since the waiting has ended and unnecessary blood (at Malaysian side) have been spilled, I hope that the authorities would not waste any more time sweeping up / kill off the rest of the intruders and tighten the borders to avoid future incursion from remaining rebel members in Philippines who may now hold grudge against Malaysia. It may not be the end but could be the start of more armed conflicts with the rebels in South of Philippines and who now have a reason to create trouble in Sabah as well.

It is unfortunate that we had 2 of our men died in the conflict and they will forever be remembered for their heroic action defending the country. We probably could have prevented this tragedy if we had acted earlier and with a larger and stronger show of force with aerial and artillery bombing first before the military instead of the police move in to finish off these intruders – the use of mortar bomb by the intruders seems to be suggest a change of tactics and use of the military (with a couple of PT91 MBTs leading the way)  instead of the police would have been better option but it is too late to discuss about it now.

Of course, in the meantime the pro BN blogs are trying hard to do some damage control on the inaction of their politicians over this intrusion of national sovereignty.

One conveniently linked the armed intrusion with some mumbo jumbo conspiracy theory that implies the involvement of the US and get this, some fellows from PKR (ya, why not – general elections is around the corner) mingling with the CIA and some hidden hands making Sabah Ground Zero. Perhaps it is true but it does not explain inaction to use the military and the passive treatment by the Government for the past 3 weeks and of the various extensions of the deadline that was given to these armed men that expired with no positive outcome. If the rebels did not start the shooting, who knows, another extension of the deadline would probably been thrown for the pleasure of the armed men and time would have passed by with a part of Malaysia in the hands of foreign rebels.

Another said it is a good “PR” work and any move by the armed forces would cause massacre of “old and starving men and women” and that would be bad for protection of human rights in this country. Huh? Are we supposed to take pity on the armed intrusion just and abstain from any action just because there are old and starving men and women in the rebel group who not only cross into Malaysia heavily armed but also demand their share of this country? Or are we suppose to defend our country at all cost and show that Malaysia is not a place where anyone can simply walk in and poke their finger at the sovereignty of the country, no matter what their excuse or mission may have been. No one negotiates with terrorists and so remains the same here. The moment they walked in the country with arms and claim a stake on it – it is an act of war.

Certainly with the end of the initial fire-fight, there is no longer the question of granting the intruders more time and extensions of deadline to leave the country – rest assured, that one would have gone unheeded and died a natural dead too. In the meantime, the world is laughing at us for leaving our front doors open and do nothing when a group of armed men enters and refused to leave and claim a stake on the place. It’s time to get tough all around and ensure that it does not happen again. Sovereignty of this country cannot be taken for granted for anyone – in or out of the country.

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Malaysia’s New Approach to Foreign Armed Intrusion?


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(Still remember the PDRM’s courtesy in the previous Bersih rallies organised and in attendance by none other than fellow Malaysians? Why it is not the same strong treatment against unwanted armed foreigners who also wants a piece of the country? The real question to be asked perhaps is on which side does the police and the Government are when it comes to the situation in Lahad Datu. It is getting more suspicious by the day. Image source: Facebook)

A couple days ago, I was flying back – the MAS flight was not that full and the in-flight service from the award winning cabin crew was top notch as usual.

Just when we had passed Malaysian airspace and the plane started the descent, a short video on KLIA and Malaysia (hosted by the lovely Asha Gill) was shown on the overhead display and the foreigners around me seemed tantalized. One thing that Asha Gill said in the end and that brought tears to my eyes – she said she can go on and on Malaysia and there was a twinkle in her eyes when she said and I saw my fellow passengers had the same facial impression. I was feeling very proud indeed of my country and where it stands in the eyes of the world. For me, that is the truth and reality and I am sure it is the same for most of us.

But coming back to ‘tanah air‘, you will be confronted with unexplained insanity such as this:-

Police are still in negotiations with the 100-odd armed intruders, claiming to be from the Royal Sulu Army, who have been holding the authorities at bay in Kampung Tanduo, a coastal village 90km from Lahad Datu since Feb 12.

(Source)

Oh by the way, let’s not talk about the detention and the deportation of a certain Australian senator under the disguise of national threat which happened about the same time. That simply does not add up when one talks about national security. It is quite dumb if you ask me for the only overwhelming reason for this deportation seems to be the senator is pro-opposition and not because actual threat to national security (if you put this and the Lahad Datu intrusion side by side, what one lone unarmed elected lawmaker from a developed country could do?). In the end, it reflects rather badly on us (who claim that we have fair elections year in, year out) and with general elections coming up any time now, it appears to be nothing but dirty politics in play at the end.

But instead let’s look at the bigger boo-boo that is happening in Lahad Datu. Let’s take a step back and consider these things:-

  • These men are heavily armed
  • They are foreigners who insist that part of Sabah belongs to them and determined to get their wish done (even though how they going to do that is still a big mystery)
  • They had effectively ‘chased’ away Malaysians from their homes and basically turned them into refugees in their own country
  • Our armed forces are not weaklings and is a force to reckon with in this side of the continent and is ever ready to face any intrusion from in and out of the country (they have proven themselves many times over)
  • And yet the Government is still negotiating with these unwanted armed intruders and threat to national security with soft approach with plenty of deadlines that in the end went unheeded by the group.

Why?

Is it because they do not ‘upset’ other people from the same region in the past (probably ‘Malaysianised‘ under the project IC) and cause them to vote against the Government for the next elections? And all the sudden the number of votes had become more important than the sovereignty of the country? Or is it because the police have the inside information that the group had planted other intruders in other area in Sabah and will resort to mayhem if the security forces storm them with bloody consequences? That makes some sense but doesn’t giving longer time to this group only allows them to entrench even deeper?

TheSun reports:-

The Philippine Daily Inquirer also says Malaysia is in a no-win situation as a result of the standoff in Sabah. “If it uses deadly force on a small group of armed Filipino Muslims now holed up in the village … members of the fiercest of Philippine Moro tribe, the Tausogs of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, will retaliate. “If, on the other hand, Malaysia compromises with the armed group purportedly belonging to the Sultanate of Sulu, it will be perceived as a weakling by its neighbours.”

But that’s not all. A commentary by Ramon Tulfo in the same newspaper makes compelling reading because we are not talking about just the men and women who arrived by boat three weeks ago, but something more sinister. He says that even before the landing of 200 men in Lahad Datu, the Sulu sultanate had sent armed men in small groups to Sabah to escape notice from authorities. “The armed groups are being coddled by Tausogs in the Malaysian state,” he wrote.

Or is it because the government have screwed up things for these people (in the last peace deal) and feeling guilty (or rather worried the truth will be out) and buying time to sweep things under the carpet? Something seems not right indeed and the same echoed by the Pakatan politicians:-

The Barisan Nasional government could be using the Lahad Datu incident to divert people’s attention from the IC-for-votes Royal Commission of Inquiry proceedings and the Manuel Amalilio scandal, claimed PKR. PKR vice-president Tian Chua said that he found it bizarre that the Malaysian government was being lenient with the armed Filipinos now camped in Lahad Datu, Sabah.

“It’s been one week since they arrived. The BN government has a lot to explain,” Tian Chua said at press conference held at the party headquarters here today.

Tian Chua, who is also Batu MP, said that he found it irrational for the Sulu Sultanate to send armed men to intrude into Sabah just because of a historical claim. “I do recognise Sulu’s historical link to Sabah but to send 100 armed men to take over the state is not rational,” he said. Tian Chua also took a swipe at the immigration authorities for failing to stop the intruders from arriving at Lahad Datu.

“What are we negotiating? When they are leaving or something else? It all look very dramatic to me,” he said.

(Source)

And what kind message the government is sending out by continuing to negotiating with armed terrorist group? That any armed groups can waltz in and the armed forces of Malaysia will step by and will negotiate with them to leave peacefully? Didn’t they learned anything from the Americans in dealing with the terror groups?

What happens if one day, another armed factions from the neighbouring countries (mind you we still have a bloody conflict down south of Thailand) or worst likes of Al-Qaeda decide to do the same? What is the point of buying high-tech submarines, cream of Russian fighter interceptors and best of the military fire power when we are reduced to using roses and soft approach to armed men? Why we have not gotten some of our best snipers and take some of the ringleaders with a shot to the head (after giving one sole deadline of 24 hours of course) and move our commandos to sweep out the rest of the intruders from the country? After all, we already had these intruders cornered and we know where they all are.

And tactically, the delays by the armed forces in flushing out these intruders and sent them, back to whatever hole they crawl from may have dire consequences. Whilst it may have gained valuable time for the security forces to do their intelligence and reassess the correct tactics (do they need a small platoon or need to do carpet-bombing) to take down this group when the order finally comes, it had also allowed the group to dig in further defensively which may prolong bloodshed once the battle to flush out the intruders starts. A well defended area may take longer time to take down but it will be taken down eventually given our military might but at what cost?

The thing is when armed men storm into this country uninvited, chase away Malaysians from their homes and their way of life and continued to show their middle finger to the sovereignty of this country, the last thing we want the Government to do is to hold back the quick retaliation with the strongest measures possible and proceed instead continue to negotiate and imply that we are soft and weak and willing to do anything to avoid bloodshed on side of the armed intruders. So once again, question must be asked on whose side the Government and the police really are in this conflict? One hope that the Government will come to their senses and end this intrusion now and without further delays or further negotiations. We have given all the time to these intruders to make up their mind and they have made their stand very, very clear.