KOTA KINABALU: Malaysian armed forces and police have the capability to repel the 100-odd armed intruders at Tungku, Lahad Datu, said former chief minister Datuk Seri Panglima Yong Teck Lee.
He said this is because the Malaysian armed forces have long prepared for this and other similar possible sea borne invasions by foreign forces against Sabah.
“I had witnessed, as the then Chief Minister, a full scale military exercise conducted in 1997 by paratroopers and ground forces in the same locality at Tungku with the specific strategic objective to repel a foreign armed invasion. That is why a few days ago, I said that the people should have every confidence in the security forces of Malaysia to eventually repel this intrusion.
“But the lack of decisive action so far by the authorities has exposed the absence of political will at Putrajaya to defend Sabah and Malaysia’s sovereignty. As a result, Malaysia is fast losing credibility in the eyes of the people and our international neighbours,” added Yong.
Meanwhile, 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 yesterday.
“This new form of fear mongering makes sense knowing BN’s desperation in wanting to hold onto power in the light of the ruling coalition’s lowest level of popularity and support at the moment.”
Labuan PKR chief Simsudin Hj Sidek criticised the government’s lenient stance over the armed gunmen.
He said the government should explain to the people, especially to Sabahans what the real demand was by the invaders as the people were wondering what the government was doing in dealing with the situation.
“This matter is not a light issue as it involves the sovereignty of the country. The Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the group was not a militant group.
“Is the government trying to hide the truth? The gunmen are fully armed, in army uniform and they had entered the country without permission.
“What if we do a similar action and enter the gunmen’s land without being invited? This shows that the defence system in Sabah waters is weak and under threat,” he said.