Mohd Ariff Sabri Aziz | March 12, 2013
Free Malaysia Today
The bigger fear among Umno leaders is that any drastic military action would have destroyed the reservoir of potential voters among the Filipinos with Malaysian Identity Cards.
Umno Baru godfather Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government misread the situation in Lahad Datu.
He said: “At first we did not think the intrusion was as an external threat for they [Sulu gunmen] were on our shore. But now that it is clear that the invasion is an attack from outside, the military was ordered to move in.”
Since this was an invasion by a group of foreign nationals threatening the safety of our country and citizens, the army should have stepped in from the very begining.
Why was the Malaysian government dilatory in dealing with the Sulu invaders?
Mahathir claims the government “acted cautiously” because the intruders were Muslims.
But the likelihood is greater that the bigger fear among Umno leaders was that drastic military action would have destroyed the reservoir of potential voters among the Filipinos with Malaysian Identity Cards, beneficiaries of Mahathir’s “Project IC” in Sabah.
To unleash our military might would be to destroy a fixed deposit that has kept Umno-Barisan Nasional in power here for decades.
What perhaps is needed now is an investigation into the links between the Sulu intruders and Umno.
Investigate the story that the invaders were invited to Lahad Datu by Umno members.
Investigate the tale that one Umno local leader is related to the Sultan of Sulu and that he had lost a court battle with Felda and was miffed enough to ask the Sultan of Sulu to come to Lahad Datu to reclaim land taken by Felda.
Some local quarters have claimed that the Umno leader was given 15 acres of land and a contract to cut and collect palm oil fruits from the entire Felda schemes in Lahad Datu.
Investigate, too, claims by some parties that it was Umno president and Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak who had invited these Sulu men to Lahad Datu.
Najib was quick to say that investigations will be made to ascertain whether there were links between the Sulu invaders and opposition leaders, especially Anwar Ibrahim.
This same quickness and fairness must be extended to probing Umno’s links with the Sulu intruders.
The writer is a former Umno state assemblyman but has now joined DAP. He is a FMT columnist.