Published on: Thursday, February 21, 2013
THREE Al-Jazeera journalists and three Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) youths were detained off waters at Tanjung Labian, near here, adjacent to the area where more than 100 armed Filipinos are holed up in a stand-off with Malaysian security forces.
The six and a boatman were detained by the General Operation Force (PGA) at about 8am when the boat they were travelling in was approaching Kg Tanduo, the place the Filipino armed group gathered.
SAPP Tungku Central Liaison Committee (CLC) Chairman Suaib Mutalib said the three were accompanying the foreign journalists who wanted to cover the stand-off.
"SAPP Tungku Youth Chief Mohd Ahsraf Amir, another two SAPP youths, three Al-Jazeera newsmen and the boat man were detained.
"They were taken to the Chenderawasih Police Station at Tungku and only released seven and half hours later at about 3.30pm after police took their statements," Suaib said.
Suaib who is also SAPP Assistant Secretary General noticed that the situation around Lahad Datu at the moment was different with many parents reluctant to send their children to school while most shops closed early.
It seemed that the stand-off between Malaysian security forces and the Filipino armed group had scared the people, according to him.
Meanwhile, SAPP Information Chief Chong Pit Fah said the Government should allow foreign journalists and international news agencies to enter the area and cover the incident.
He said international and neutral coverage would enable the people to get the true picture of what was really happening.
"All this while we are fed BN government controlled media reports which might not be fully accurate," he said.
He added that journalists, either locals or internationals, should be allowed to enter certain areas near where the stand-off is taking place.