Home Ministry grilled over Lahad Datu intrusion

(The Sun Daily) – Several Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs from Sabah took the Home Ministry to task today and grilled its deputy minister over the delay in responding to the Lahad Datu intruders.

Datuk Bung Moktar Radin asked why the government took such a long time to investigate and act on the intrusion and questioned why there was a need for negotiations with the intruders.

To this, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Wan Jaafar (picture) replied the intrusion in February involved foreigners and it took a while for the government to identify the situation.

“At that point we did not know, only after our initial investigation that we found out they were armed and wanted to destroy the country.

“After that, the police started its investigation and when our policemen were ambushed, only then we knew it was a terrorist attack,” said Wan Junaidi during the question and answer session in the Dewan Rakyat today.

Wan Junaidi further explained that since Malaysia has bilateral ties with the Philippines, and in the spirit of Asean camaraderie, there was a need to get the neighbouring country involved in the matter.

“This is why our investigations took a long time because we (initially) did not know who they were when they attacked us.

“We have to work with the Philippines during the investigations… it is not easy (to just take arbitrary action without the Philippines),” he added.

This, however, did not sit well with Datuk Ghapur Salleh (BN-Kalabakan) who said the security situation in the state has always been an issue.

“Why did the government take two weeks to know that the intruders had weapons?

“If people armed with weapons enter my home, what will I do? Negotiate with them? Definitely not. I will take my shotgun and shoot them.

“This shows that we were careless and we had negotiations with them. They wanted to claim Sabah, but what took us such a long time to defend?

“When will the government give us a satisfying answer to make us feel safe because even with the formation of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM), we don’t feel safe,” stressed Ghapur.

To this, Wan Junaidi said there are certain procedures and guidelines that must be followed and assured that the government took swift action on the intrusion.

He added that the intrusion was also a wake up call to the government, which is why ESSCOM was swiftly formed.

“The emergency in (then) Tanah Melayu from 1948 to 1960 took a long time to end. The emergency in Sarawak took 12 years to end. But in Lahad Datu, it only took the government three months to solve the matter.

“Also, with the increased cooperation with the Philippines, we are safe and I want you YB and the entire Borneo to also feel safe,” said Wan Junaidi.

Ghapur then interjected and said: “We are not safe and I don’t want the Deputy Minister to merely state that we are.”

Earlier, Wan Junaidi said the government has prosecuted 30 individuals under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 as they were involved in the Lahad Datu attacks.

“Out of that, four are Malaysians, one is a permanent resident, while the rest are not Malaysians.

“Their cases were mentioned at various stages at the Tawau High Court in May.

“Another individual is in the hospital and that case will be heard on July 25,” he said in reply to Bung who asked if the intrusion by the Sulu terrorists in Tanduo, Lahad Datu were followers of Sultan Kiram III and if there were Malaysians involved.

Wan Junaidi also said he did not want to divulge more details on the incident as the police are still conducting their investigations on the matter.