Umno members among armed group?
STAR chairman Jeffrey Kitingan says he has also received reports that some of the armed men are holding dubious Malaysian documents.KOTA KINABALU: The State Reform Party (STAR) wants the government to investigate claims that some of the more than 130 armed men currently surrounded by Malaysian security forces in Tanduo, Lahad Datu, are in fact Umno members.
STAR chairman, Jeffrey Kitingan, said he has received disturbing reports that these men could also be holding dubious Malaysian documents as many of them had been here in the past and had sometimes been living in the east coast of Sabah.
“I have been receiving reports that some of the armed foreign men currently holed up in Lahad Datu could be holding dubious Malaysian documents and, in fact, could be members of Umno or other Malaysian political parties,” Jeffrey said when met by FMT at his residence in Penampang last night.
He said the authorities including Umno must clarify the allegation so as to quash the rumours.
The group landed in Lahad Datu earlier this month and settled in an oil palm plantation near the Felda Sahabat area. A tense stand-off has since ensued between the group and Malaysian police as well as the army.
The group, which claimed to be a detachment of the Royal Sulu Army from the southern Philippines, is said to be armed with weapons that were already in the state, according to one of its leaders.
The police have formed a perimeter around the village and the army is on standby. Malaysian authorities have said they wished to give the “invaders” a chance to withdraw without bloodshed.
The latest deadline was yesterday.
Jeffrey, who has called for decisive action to end the siege in Tanduo, said: “We must instil confidence in public security and [ensure] that this country has not been infiltrated by enemies.”
He said he has also received reports that, besides women, there was also quite a number of old men in the armed group.
He said that members of the group could be holding dual citizenship, which is against the law in both Malaysia and the Philippines.
Jeffrey, who is also chairman of United Borneo Front (UBF), said the indecision by Malaysian authorities was putting the security of Malaysians and bona fide Sabahans at risk.
“Not that we will not defend ourselves but we do not want to go to war with our neighbours,” he said, adding that Sabahans are patriotic and ready to defend the sovereignty of Sabah.
“Sabahans do not accept excuses for letting our state be so vulnerable to rogue foreign incursions, more so by those who claim ownership to Sabah,” he added.
He also said that those who collaborated with the armed group that undermined the safety of the state must be dealt with at the ballot box in the coming general election.