Lahad Datuk stand-off getting curioser and curioser – why is Hishammuddin passing the buck to Wisma Putra and not to the Defence Ministry?

The Lahad Datuk government stand-off with some 150 Sulu intruders is getting curioser and curioser.

Today, the Home Minister Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein said that the Home Ministry has left it to Wisma Putra to decide on the Philippine government’s request of an extension on the deportation of a group of intruders in Lahad Datuk but such an extension “should not be too long, as the ministry will not compromise on matters which could potentially threaten the sovereignty of the nation”.

Clearly, the Home Minister is not on the same wavelength as the overwhelming majority of Sabahans and Malaysians who are one in feeling that the sovereignty and security of the nation had been compromised right from the beginning of the intrusion of and standoff with the 150 Sulu militias into Sabah territory at Kampong Tanduo in Felda Sahabat, Lahad Datuk since February 9.

Just on the issue whether the nation’s sovereignty and security had been threatened by the intrusion and standoff with the so-called Royal Sulu Sultanate Army, the overwhelming majority of Malaysians have proven that they are more patriotic and nationalistic than the Home Minister himself.

In fact, the question more and more Malaysians are asking is why Hishammuddin is passing the buck to Wisma Putra instead of to the Defence Ministry?

Can the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak explain why he is insisting that Hishammuddin and the police should be handling the stand-off with the Sulu intruders when it should be the Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and armed forces?

Up to now, Sabahans and Malaysians have been kept in the dark as to how there could be a serious security lapse in the first place involving the navy, the armed forces, the maritime and the police that resulted in the intrusion and stand-off with the Sulu militias.

Who is prepared to step forward to assume responsibility for the security lapse and the stand-off which is entering into its third week, threatening not only the nation’s sovereignty and security but giving Malaysia such a poor international image when government leaders had repeatedly boasted that Malaysia is the safest country in South-East Asia – the Defence Minister, the Home Minister, the Prime Minister or some lowly officers down the line whether in the armed services or the police, who will be made to take the rap?

All that the Sabahans and Malaysians have learned is the fizzling out of a series of vague deadlines for the return of the Sulu militias to the Philippines in the past two weeks.

It is sad and shameful that in the past fortnight, Sabahans and Malaysians have to search the Internet to read about what is happening with regard to the Lahad Datuk standoff from the Philippines media as there is a serious information blackout of the issue in the Malaysian media – another international black-eye for Malaysia!

I call on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to lift the information blackout on the Kampung Tanduo stand-off in the Malaysia media and the Malaysian government should start telling Sabahans and Malaysians what is actually happening in Kampung Tanduo, starting with a personal visit by the Prime Minister himself to “Listen, Listen, Listen” to the people in Lahad Datu.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timur