KOTA KINABALU: The State Reform Party suspects that the Barisan Nasional government is trying to gain political mileage from the Lahad Datu standoff, using it to scare the people into voting for the BN in the coming general elections.
“It is even possible that this is an elaborate BN military strategy choreographed to achieve that purpose,” its state chairman, Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan said in a statement. “This new form of fear mongering makes sense knowing BN’s desperation in wanting to hold on to power in the light of the ruling coalition’s lowest level of popularity and support at the moment.”
He said the way the tense situation is handled supports this theory, pointing out to the facts that the prime minister appears to be not perturbed by the incident and had not made much effort in explaining the real situation in Lahad Datu in spite of the many inconsistencies on the information received by the people.
“The numerous rumours of disturbances like in KK and other areas spreading through social networks like Facebook add credence to the theory of the intrusion being orchestrated to frighten the people of Sabah.
“There are international reports which says the Sulu Sultan recognized by Manila had denied any involvement in the intrusion into Sabah, or that they are his army, while another sultan claims Lahad Datu to be his homeland and he and his people refuse to leave. The news had become an international intrigue while we in Sabah are still being denied the truth.
“The federal government has failed to show real seriousness and muscle in dealing with such a problem and we are becoming a laughing stock under the scrutiny of international observation,” Jeffrey claimed. “We are talking of an intrusion by military units in full gear and weapons like M-16, the deadliest gun in army warfare.
Why can’t they treat this as a flagrant criminal act, a breach of national security and a violation of Malaysian sovereignty?
“It is shocking that the government has failed to deal with this security issue effectively and quickly by taking the appropriate measures on the intruders. What the government had done is take unconvincing action such as negotiating. By negotiating the government is giving a lot of legitimacy to the intruders as if they have some sort of rights when in fact they have none whatsoever to negotiate for in the first place.”
“By the successful act of intrusion into Lahad Datu, it shows total failure of Malaysia’s security apparatus. The government must explain where were the navy, marine police and its security patrols? Where were the national military intelligence and tip-off of the impending intrusion or invasion so it could be pre-empted? On the other hand if it is not a real intrusion, the failings of the security apparatus shows that it is indeed an orchestrated show and drama because the other components of a real invasion are missing!
“We can see that the response of the government is appalling and pathetic. The army, navy and the whole security apparatus with helicopters, tanks and heavy artillery should have been called in. Instead, negotiations are carried out by the police on the so-called no-bloodshed basis. What it was they negotiated about, and why had the negotiation taken so long? How come it is the police doing the negotiating and why was the army excluded? Are the police equipped to deal with the militants who are not normal criminals?
“It’s not amusing that the story is unfolding to portray the heroic acts of the intruders instead and making the police and army look weak and indecisive.
“We haven’t heard any report of the police demanding that they lay down their arms. Why? Is it because the whole thing is really a scripted dramatic charade to frighten the voters? If that is the game, it is a double-edged sword because it can backfire and cause the people to vote against the BN for the obvious failure in flexing military muscle for the sake of national dignity and sovereignty.
“Another fact that supports the theory this is a fear mongering tactic is that there is little media coverage in the government-controlled mass and mainstream media although the intrusion is bordering on an act of war. Isn't Sabah important enough as Malaysians to deserve being kept posted on the developments on the standoff? Why leave to private news and internet portals to carry news about it? Why is there so much rumours of disturbances in other areas in Sabah but the police is not taking action on the rumour mongers. Is it because this spreading of rumours is being fired up by cybertroopers?
“The government has proven itself to be not serious about Sabah's security. If the government can prevent an Australian senator from coming into KL, there is no reason the government cannot stop an intrusion by armed militants into Sabah.
In sum, the government has clearly failed to give us confidence in our security capability or to give us pride as Malaysians in dealing with an international incidence which has now tarnished our international reputation.
“If the government cannot protect our country and deal with this problem in a way that will enhance our standing as a sovereign nation, maybe it’s time for Malaysia to ask for international intervention,” Jeffrey said.