Published on: Thursday, July 17, 2014
Kota Kinabalu: Kepayan Assemblyman Dr Edwin Bosi feared the kidnapping of Constable Zakia Aleip in Mabul could set the stage for a prisoner swap as Filipino insurgents may be pining for the release of Sulu gunmen now imprisoned here.
He questioned what actions the Government would take if such situation were to arise, after 36 members of the so-called Sulu Sultanate Army were captured in the aftermath of the Tanduo incursion.
"This includes many of those suspected of abetting the incursion.
Although the country has also lost several security personnel, many of the armed intruders are now being held in Kepayan and being tried in court here," he said.
With the recent Mabul development, Bosi said it would be hasty for the government to place a shoot-on-sight order, when one of "our boys" is under their captivity.
"I have said that the Government and the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) must be creative and innovative in tackling the menace across the Sulu Sea and within the mainland," he said.
He said the present dilemma is historically related where the Sulu Sea is never safe due to pirates. The Suluks, he said have been in North Borneo longer than many other citizens. That is why they are defined as native of Sabah and believe that Sabah belongs to the Sulu Sultanate.
This is further reinforced by the RM5,300 cessation amount paid yearly to the sultanate.
He said their peaceful co-existence here is one of convenience and Sabah had accepted thousands of refugees from the Southern Philippines in the 70s and provided them with citizenship and made them voters.
Bosi argued that the case of Tanduo is the start of a very complex and protracted conflict and that it is their stand to claim Sabah back by force.
"The intensity of their effort is akin to the Palestinians wanting to claim back their land. We have to expect more problems," he said.
While the government should have pursued a political solution, the decision to provide citizenship to illegals from the Southern Philippines has aggravated the situation, he said.
"For a short-term political gain we are now facing one threat that can explode in our face," he said.
At present, he said there is no way to identify enemies and the Tanduo episode is another case where many of the intruders are also Malaysians.
Bosi called on the government to pursue a political solution to resolve the issue, while pressing for economic activity via the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines-East Asian Growth Area.
He also called for a re-issuance of MyKads for all Malaysians under a strict procedure after the outcome of the Royal Commission of Inquiry on Illegal Immigrants is made public.
Lastly, Bosi said the country must beef up security in the East Coast areas including reviving the Sabah Rangers.