KUALA LUMPUR, July 2 – Investigation that required a foreign government’s cooperation was one of the reasons for the delayed action to the intrusion by Sulu militants in Lahad Datu, Sabah in February.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaffar told the Dewan Rakyat today that since the intruders were foreigners, the police investigation focused first on the reason for the intrusion in the interest of relations between Malaysia and the Philippines.
“After the investigation started and when our police were attacked (by the intruders), only then it was discovered that the group’s intention was to invade and terrorise.
“Nevertheless, the investigation also looked at the country’s relations with the Philippines in the spirit of regional cooperation…that was why the investigation took time as it required cooperation between two countries.
“In such a situation, we need to be careful. After knowing their real intention, the government sent in troops to mount military operations and the intrusion ended,” he said in reply to a supplementary question from Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan).
Wan Junaidi said the people should also realise the situation in Sabah’s east coast with the coastline being 1,700km long and the short distance between Lahad Datu and southern Philippines which made security surveillance difficult.
“But now we have in place all the mechanisms and there have been discussions and cooperation with the Philippine government. So, I feel security is ensured in Sabah and the Borneo island with the measures taken,” he said, referring also to the setting up of the Eastern Sabah Security Command on March 7.
Earlier, in reply to Bung Moktar’s original question of whether the intrusion in Kampung Tanduo, Lahad Datu also involved Malaysians and the action to be taken, Wan Junaidi said the government had no intention yet to disclose more information as the thorough investigation was still going on.
However, he said, 30 individuals allegedly involved in the armed intrusion were being prosecuted in stages in the Tawau court since May 24 after they were charged under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012.
Four of them are Malaysians, one is a permanent resident and the rest are foreigners.