Lahad Datu intrusion – sovereignty compromised

Through my aging eyes
By Dr Edwin Bosi
Borneo Post
3rd March 2013

I received a surprise call from DAP National Advisor Sdr Lim Kit Siang on the evening of 18th February 2013, first asking me about the “armed intrusion” in Lahad Datu and then telling me that he is flying into Tawau tomorrow and to proceed to the flash point in Kg Tanduo. I have booked my flight earlier to Tawau for the 20th to attend the Tawau DAP Chinese New Year gathering and later the next day to see some cattle in Kabalakan. Kit Siang’s plan caused me to re-schedule my flight.

Deputy DAP Chairman Fred Fung and I managed to get a flight to Tawau on 19th evening, arriving Tawau just 20 minutes earlier than Kit Siang. At the airport, DAP Chairman Jimmy Wong, Chan Foong Hin and few others were waiting for him. We went to one of Tawau best seafood restaurants where he was briefed on the plan to Lahad Datu. All along we were in the dark about the incident and could only refer to the articles in the main stream and alternative media.

We left for Lahad Datu at 6am the next day in three vehicles. We had a quick breakfast at Lahad Datu town together with DAP leaders from Sandakan Stephen Wong and George Hiew. We made contact with the District Police to make a courtesy call on the OCPD but unfortunately he was not free to meet up with Kit Siang.

There was nothing amiss in Lahad Datu town. Everything seemed to be normal as far as I can observe. I spent a lot of time in Lahad Datu when I was with the Wildlife Department and SOS Rhino (USA) and it reminded me of my lucky star when a group of armed men attacked and robbed the bank in town. That was in 1985. We had left Lahad Datu town in search for rhinos at Danum Valley and was shocked upon returning to Lahad Datu a week later to learn of the gun battle.

Seeing Kit Siang so cool and composed made me worried. My mind was at times confused. Without any arms and no Police escorts, I was practically praying that nothing bad would happen. We heard a group of journalists were inside the “battle zone” and were unable to get out. They were not allowed to leave. We did ponder what happen if Kit Siang and the group cannot leave after visiting the site? We even made some jokes of Kit Siang been kidnapped and what would happen. We refused to think of been caught in a running gun battle.

We passed through three Police road blocks and those manning them were looking serious. We settled ourselves at a coffee shop in a small town in Felda Sahabat where Kit Siang was again given a more detail information by some locals. After that we left for the Felda Sahabat Resort, about 120km from Lahad Datu where we were met by reporters from the local and national newspapers. They have been “holed up” at the Resort to cover the incident. We were surprised that they too were also in the dark about what was happening in Kg Tanduo, just 13km from the resort.

We held a press conference where Kit Siang emphasized how critical it is for the government to update the people on this important incident. He argued that the government should not keep the people in the dark. Hence his presence in the Felda Sahabat to get a better idea and picture of what was happening. Here we have a National opposition leader who is concerned about the people. He has made a trip that many would not do because of the high risk involved. Kit Siang is not impressed that the nation’s sovereignty has been compromised. He was shocked that the Prime Minister had time to go politicking in Beaufort, Tuaran and Papar but could not even find time to visit Lahad Datu and assured the people that everything is fine and well. Now that we see the security threat is in the east coast of Sabah, DAP leaders asked if the naval base and submarines should be better located in the east coast.

The armed intruders who now claimed to be the followers of the Sultan of Sulu have stayed put, saying that this land (Sabah) is their land and that the Malaysian government is still paying them “pajak” or rental. For an ordinary man in the street, this payment basically confirms their claim. But it has a long history. I was told that the payment was supposed to be in gold pieces and later it becomes monetary. I was also told that the claim is only confined to the land from Kudat down to Kunak in the east coast. I leave it to our able legal team to handle and manage this claim issue.

With the RCI on illegal immigrant hearing on-going, we heard from those who knew about this “project IC” and whose account finally put the “truth” before us. All the while we were speculating. Despite the many books written and sold openly concerning the ICs, no Police action was taken against the authors. The best part is when former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir himself admitted to give away Malaysian ICs to these illegal immigrants. His public confession was enough for the people of Sabah. His reasoning is beyond reason. As a leader he has not complied with the Federal Constitution on how Malaysian citizenships are to be granted. It was nothing but a political move, a now no more a hidden agenda to topple the PBS government and to ensure political dominance and continuity of UMNO in Sabah.

It cannot be denied that the Suluks have a place in North Borneo and Sabah. Many were in the country when Malaysia was established. Somehow they are always on the move between Sabah and the southern Philippines. Some have decided to make Sabah their home. But our Constitution says they cannot have dual citizenship. The 1963 time frame must apply and the new Suluks entering the State will not be entertained. They have to follow and respect the law of the country. Unfortunately, our Immigration department is rendered ineffective when thousands of illegal immigrants continue to flood the country. They, including those from Indonesia and Pakistan became useful politically by the BN government. Many of them are now Malaysian citizens as revealed in the RCI hearing.

The Suluks think that Sabah belongs to them and we cannot blame them for that. We learned of an incident in Lahad Datu where they flew the flags of the Sultan of Sulu in town and burned the Sabah flags. Therefore even when you talk to some of them they will give you a straight answer that Sabah belongs to them. How extensive is this view among the Suluks? Nobody knows. Nevertheless, I am surprised why the government would issue them with Mycards knowing that the claim on Sabah is not settled. Their big number in Sabah may have legitimized their claim and I dread what the outcome would be if there is a referendum for Sabahans whether they like to be in Malaysia or the Philippines. A short term political gain has led us into trouble water. We have lost precious life in this incident. My take is that the Kg Tanduo incident will not end quietly or it may not end at all.

  1. #1 by monsterball on Friday, 15 March 2013 - 9:08 am

    LKS cool as a cucumber..visiting Lahad Datu…while his DAP counterparts…nervous and jittery…with wild imaginations swimming around their heads.
    All went well.
    Mahathir had 22 years to solve the Suluks claims.
    He ignored….but instead…. he gave out some 800,000 citizenship to foreigners…sort of making true Sabahans..insignificant….including the Suluks.
    This conflict exposes what BN is….in so many ways.

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Friday, 15 March 2013 - 9:40 am

    Another time-bomb involving foreigners is going to explode! 40,000 Nepali migrant workers are planning to hold a street demonstration on 17 March 2013 (Sunday) after their employers refused to implement the minimum wage policy.

  3. #3 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Friday, 15 March 2013 - 9:51 am

    “In a reference to the tribal tensions between the Hutus and Tutsis that were at the center of the genocide, Bill Clinton explained the Foundation’s goals: “I want people to revel in our diversity and respect it without thinking that we have to refer to each other in negative terms. That is, I can be proud of my heritage without dismissing yours.”

    Hello Mahathir, Racist No.1 in Malaysia, are you listening?

  4. #4 by yhsiew on Friday, 15 March 2013 - 9:59 am

    Suluks versus Nepali migrant workers (一波未平, 一波又起).

  5. #5 by Dap man on Friday, 15 March 2013 - 10:32 am

    I have known Kit personally since the early eighties and I can bet my last ringgit that he is TRUE PATRIOT, a genuine Malaysian son, unsurpassed by all the BN Ministers today.

    Even Najib and Mahathir and all their horses and kinsmen can never measure up to Kit’s love for this country.

    Can you imagine at this ripe age he can still fly to Sabah at the risk of his own safety. Even Najib, the coward dared not do what Kit did.
    Kit enjoys more trust and adulation than even Mahathir, who is being vilified everyday and even called a barking dog and devil.

  6. #6 by cseng on Friday, 15 March 2013 - 12:01 pm

    1. Lahad Datu Intrusion, Project IC – sovereignty compromise
    2. Tanda Putra “Racist Rated” screening – racial integration compromise
    3. Kalimah Allah, FAMA ‘muslim only’ events – religion integration compromise
    4. National debt near 56% of GDP – nation finance stability compromise
    5. Lies of GNI data – data integrity compromise
    6. Charge Tian Chua with seditious – prosecution process compromise
    7. Bersih demand and electorate roll exposes – democracy process compromise

    What else not compromise, if PM had free option to answer only those he can, and dodge those he can’t.

    But, when racist architect talked – everything compromise.

  7. #7 by lee tai king (previously dagen) on Friday, 15 March 2013 - 12:27 pm

    40,000 nepali going on strike? No worries. House them all in chengho’s home in malaysia and feed them rambutans (thanks cintanegara). Get their personal particulars and then issue blue ic to them so that they can vote umno.

  8. #8 by Jeffrey on Friday, 15 March 2013 - 1:46 pm

    I am not convinced at all up to now that the so called Sultan Kiram III has any leg to stand on in his claim on Sabah. His main basis is ownership ie proprietary claim. He says Malaysia pays rent on the “pajak” ie lease. Admittedly that is a point against Malaysia – from the proprietary angle. However it must be borne in mind that in international law proprietary claims grounded on interpretation of historical treaties is only one of the many basis that is often subordinate to 2 other considerations: (1) right of people within theb territory to self determination (2) acts of sovereignty. On (1) there was the Cobbold Commission in 1963 that determined the people of Sabah wanted to join Malaysia. No matter the criticism of its lack of representativeness, there hasn’t been any referendum thereafter to either contradict its original findings or say that by majority they want to join Philiipines or the Sulu Sultanate.

  9. #9 by Jeffrey on Friday, 15 March 2013 - 1:48 pm

    Continuing: On aspect (2), for 50 years Malaysia has exercised sovereignty rights to govern Sabah. That this is recognised by ASEAN, UN for last 50 years is indisputable. In the dispute on Sipadan Island the ICJ already obliquely made a ruling based on assumption that Sabah is part of Malaysia. To give ICs to Sulus in Sabah under Project IC may compromise the security of Malaysia, as is playing out now, but it does not sovereignty. The Sultan faces two other problems: (a) his position as rightful heir is disputed; there are other contenders (b) even if there’s no contention, he still has no legal standing to dispute Malaysia’s sovereignty before ICJ. The ICJ has jurisdiction to hear the dispute brought by a nation state within UN (klike Phillippines) but not a non styate actor like Sulu Sultan who could not convince his own country (Philippines) to bring the dispute to ICJ. I am not saying all these – that the Sultan has no standing in international law- just because as Malaysian I side my country. I am saying this because this is fact in international law. The Sulu Sultan seems to ignore it or just selectively uses the payment of annual rent to argue his position.

  10. #10 by john on Friday, 15 March 2013 - 10:07 pm

    That MaMak Kutty is at his ‘best’ theatrical acting again !
    Where by in actual fact he should be asking himself instead ( his same ammo like the past ) (He knows ‘best’ being 22years till now, always there, here,,,)
    ” How the Sulu Head got the Monies ? ”
    – who in full control, access of the money bags ?
    Is the ONE in power all this while ie. MMKutty-
    Bumno, or ?
    – who has been in contact all this while – “ditto”
    and big business there, MMKutty’s son or ?
    – who tend to gain more ? a full diversion.
    Must get to the bottom. Precious lifes being lost and those responsible must be held accountable.

  11. #11 by chengho on Friday, 15 March 2013 - 11:59 pm

    Kit went to seafood restaurant first, ABCD

  12. #12 by Noble House on Saturday, 16 March 2013 - 12:59 am

    This country is in one big mess. You name it. If Malaysians aren’t doing anything about it now, we are going to lose it all.

  13. #13 by john on Saturday, 16 March 2013 - 3:43 pm

    In order to sandiwara Kit picked to go to a roadside stall and insisted on only white rice with ikan bilis, belacan for lunch and later, same for dinner ! Since for the sake of sandiwara, the rest of entourage obliged happily. It was on front page ‘Star’ , as they would have easily opted for a nice sea food restaurant as well.
    News report by Chengho @ DumbHo.

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