KUALA LUMPUR, March 4 – Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad(pic) said today the action of the armed intruders in Sabah was contrary to Islamic teachings. He said the group resorted to violence and caused bloodshed with the killing of eight policemen in two incidents, in Lahad Datu and Semporna.
“We tried to resolve the matter without bloodshed, but we find that these Sulu people are violent. They do not only kill soldiers but also mutilate the dead.
“They are supposed to be Muslims, but their actions are contrary to Islam,” he told reporters after opening the Global Muslim Conference on Unity and Economy organised by the Malay Chamber of Commerce Malaysia, here. Dr Mahathir said the government should act immediately to defeat the intruders and prosecute them for murder.
Eight policemen were killed, two in Kampung Tanduo near Lahad Datu and six in Kampung Simunul, Semporna, following skirmishes with bands of armed intruders claiming to be from the royal army of the Sulu Sultanate in the Philippines, on March 1 and 2. Eighteen of the armed intruders were also killed in the two incidents.
Dr Mahathir said he feared that the situation would deteriorate because the intruders would continue to engage in violence for the long term even if they lose the gun battles.
“As such, I hope the government will adopt firm measures so that the violence does not prolong,” he said, and expressed condolences to the families of the slain security forces’ personnel.
Meanwhile, Umno Information Chief Datuk Ahmad Maslan called on the government to settle the armed intrusion issue immediately because the intruders did not seem to value the lives of the security forces.
“Eight lives are too many as far as Malaysia is concerned. Malaysia is a peaceful country and places great value on every life. The intruders have no compassion and do not appreciate human lives. Maybe, for the intruders, eight lives are too small a number.
Siti Salwa Hassan, 49, said she had to put up temporarily at a relative’s house following the shooting incident on Saturday. Bernama has learned from the local residents that all schools in the Semporna district had been ordered to be closed since Friday after the gun battle.
A student, Mohd Nusairi Umar, 17, lamented the closure of the schools.
“My school is closed and the school bus is not operating,” he said.