Published on: Sunday, March 17, 2013
BAGAN DATOH: Foreign media representatives, especially those from the Philippines, are allowed access to the media centre at Felda Sahabat in Lahad Datu, Sabah to obtain updates on the latest development there.
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said, in addition, the armed forces or police could accompany them to the operations area to get the 'real picture', in the light of accusations of cruelty and human rights denial against the terrorists.
"I will discuss with the Foreign Minister, Wisma Putra and police to permit the Embassy of the Philippines in Kuala Lumpur and consulate to visit those who are detained, upon completion of interrogation," he said.
According to a news portal Saturday, the Philippines Daily Inquirer reported that Malaysia stopped a Philippine humanitarian team and the Philippine media from gaining access to Filipinos detained in an evacuation centre in Lahad Datu, Sabah.
On the latest development in Lahad Datu, Ahmad Zahid said, the terrorists were in a desperate situation and had run out of food after being surrounded in a small area.
"Their leader has abandoned them, their morale is extremely low now and the communities in Sabah are not supporting their action.
This means they are not getting information and the moral support of the Sulu people in Sabah," he added.
The Minister said the development had made the terrorists so desperate that they even resorted to stealing food from a 'kongsi' house and food outlets.
"We hope the local communities would exercise more care because they (the terrorists) are hungry and their actions could be more aggressive.
"This is also because the Philippine Government has given us very good co-operation. The Philippines will also provide us with information on the 35 people who were detained by its coast guards and navy recently," he said.
He said Malaysia would share information and other details with the Philippine Government on the detainees and stooges of the terrorists, who were detained after 28 days to facilitate investigation. - Bernama