Pakatan urges public to stand together, tells Putrajaya to stop witch-hunt
UPDATED @ 02:39:01 PM 04-03-2013PETALING JAYA, March 4 — Pakatan Rakyat urged Malaysians today to rally around the security forces in the face of the Sabah security crisis and slammed Putrajaya for engaging in a political witch-hunt against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
The opposition coalition also asked for a special parliamentary session to debate the current situation in Sabah as well as an immediate roundtable meeting with government leaders for joint solution to the problem.
In a joint statement today, PR leaders alleged today the investigation order on Anwar’s supposed link to the Sabah incursion by Filipino militants was an attempt to distract voters from Putrajaya’s weak handling of the situation.
“Pakatan Rakyat (PR) urge that the issue not be made into a blaming game and the country’s leadership should focus instead on national security including not distracting the public from their own weaknesses,” the opposition leader said in joint statement by the federal opposition bloc read out to the press here.
“The right honourable prime minister is attempting to distract the people from his own failures in handling this security situation.”
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had said the government would investigate allegations that Anwar had “instigated” the Sulu Sultanate’s claim of ownership of Sabah which led to the militant intrusion of Lahad Datu and a deadly standoff with Malaysian security forces that have left eight police officers and one civilian dead.
The allegation first surfaced when Malay daily Utusan Malaysia and TV3 had both picked up a news report from the Philippine Daily Inquirer titled “Philippine govt intel eyes 3 groups abetting Sulu sultan’s claim”.
The Philippine news report on Friday cited unnamed intelligence sources there when reporting that the Malaysian opposition here was allegedly one of three groups that could have backed the Sulu rebels’ claim on Sabah.
It said that a Philippine intelligence officer pointed to an unnamed individual from the opposition allied to Anwar, adding that the figure was looking to contest a Sabah seat in Election 2013.
Anwar has denied the allegation and has demanded an apology from Utusan and TV3. His lawyers said they would sue the two organisations for RM100 million should they fail to do so.
The opposition leader said the focal point of the security situation should be placed on the Najib administration’s alleged failure to prevent the intrusion which he said was tantamount to “betrayal” and a “rape” on voters’ trust.
“The failure to defend the country’s sovereignty and the security of its people is a betrayal and a rape on the people’s trust.
“Therefor PR intends to remind the national leadership to be stern in defending the sovereignty of our territories… every inch of Sabah land and the safety of its people must be defended,” he said.
Last night, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar said six policeman were killed and several others injured in a shootout with armed militants in Kampung Selamat, Semporna.
The incidents around Semporna took place just 150km away from another coastal town, Lahad Datu, where there is still a tense standoff between Malaysian security forces and Filipino militants two days after 14 people were killed in a gunfire exchange.
The Filipino militants have been here for nearly three weeks, claiming that Sabah belongs to them although the land has been part of Malaysia for decades.
Anwar said whether or not the claims by the Sulu Sultanate were valid should be addressed only after the security situation there is contained, adding that the federal opposition coalition backs calls for strong action against the militants.
Najib had said that the time for negotiations was over in urging the secessionists to surrender while leaders like former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the only solution to the standoff is through military action.
Anwar said his coalition was confident in the security forces’ ability to deal with the situation but took a swipe at Putrajaya, claiming bureaucracy had prevented the military from dealing with the militant group earlier.
“I believe in our commanders and I believe they would surely be able perform their duties professionally if given the freedom to act without any political interference,” he said.