By : STEPHANIE LEE
KOTA KINABALU: The Suluk community here fully support the government's move to end the Tanduo stand-off between security forces and followers of the self proclaimed Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III.
The Tawau Suluk Bajau cultural association vice president Abdul Ali Erilis, Secretary of the Sabah Suluk Ethnic clan association Mohd Zaki Harry Susanto and Ruhil Sailajan representing the Suluks in Sabah came out in support of the government's action Tuesday to forcibly end the nearly three week stand-off.
“Although we are said to be from the same clan, our country, loyalty and support lies with Malaysia,” he said.
“We fully denounce what the intruders have done and brought to Sabah, they have intruded into our homeland and are very cruel and uncivilised people,” he said after paying a courtesy call to Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman on Tuesday.
In the Philippines, these intruders are called Tausug but in Sabah, they are referred to as the Suluks.
Adding to this, Mohd Zaki said the actions of the intruders were not what a true Suluk' was like, and none from the over 300,000 Suluks in Sabah should follow in their lead.
Likewise, Ali assured the state government and the people of Sabah that they are not linked in any way with the intruders as claimed by many quarters.
“We will not help them or support them in any way at all. This is our country and we want to maintain the peace and sovereignty,” he said.
“We want the intruders out and gone,” he said, adding all Suluks in Sabah should come forward and pledge their loyalty to the government.
Earlier on, Musa said the Sabah government is fully behind the Federal government's move to evict the Sulu gunmen who intruded into Lahad Datu and other areas of the east coast.
He said ample time had been given to the intruders to leave to avoid blood shed but they insist on staying.
“We will do all we can to ensure the safety of our armed forces and the people,” he said.
The operation started at 7am and Prime Minister Najib Razak announced in a statement, that it had to be done in order to "defend the dignity and sovereignty of the country".
Meanwhile, Ruhil who is president of the Kota Kinabalu handicraft association hopes other Sabahans know that Malaysian Suluks “have drawn a line” and do not want to be associated in any way with the intruders.
“All we want is for everything to return to normal as business is also affected from this incident,” he said.