PAPAR: The government will do its best to resolve the intrusion of a group of Filipino men into Lahad Datu amicably to prevent any bloodshed, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Describing the situation in the east coast of Sabah as under control, the prime minister said it was important that the issue be resolved through negotiation to ensure that the group comprising between 80 and 100 men “leave peacefully to southern Philippines.”
“This is what we want because they also have relatives here. Hence, we do not want any loss of life and that is why we have asked them to go home peacefully,” he told reporters after attending the people’s gathering at Padang Pekan here, yesterday.
Clad in military fatigues, the group, which made their way to Lahad Datu in pump boats on Tuesday, has been confined to a secluded area by the security forces, who had told them to lay down their arms and surrender.
Najib, who had been briefed on the situation by Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar on Wednesday and Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib yesterday, said “the police formed the first circle to cordon the area while military personnel made up the second circle.”
“In terms of strength, we have the upper hand in combat power to arrest them, but the government opts for negotiation to break the stalemate so that they leave peacefully to southern Philippines,” he said, adding that, “We have more and less identified the group.”
“But let the police negotiate with them and hopefully, it will bear fruit and succeed. This is because they cannot go anywhere, they have been surrounded… They have no choice and have to find a solution,” he said.
Asked whether the group is armed, the prime minister said the police had knowledge about it and “do not make speculations”.
“We do not disclose inside information … let the police do their work without hindrance from any party. What is important we achieve the results that the matter will be resolved without any bloodshed,” he said.
On the security of Malaysian waters and shoreline, Najib said as they were wide, what was important was “we get fast information as we cannot be at all places 24 hours”.
He said the Philippines government had been informed on the incident. — Bernama