Give the army a free hand and spare our boys’ lives!

KUALA LUMPUR, 12 March: DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang has taken the Malaysian government took task for its slow and inadequate response to the Sulu gunmen incursion into Sabah recently.

“If our security forces had been given free hand to deal with Sulu gunmen as militants instead of as “intruders, neither militants nor terrorists”, Sabah Sulu crisis would have ended faster and without loss of lives of eight police personnel,” he said in a press statement today.

“Thirty days after the invasion of the east coast of Sabah by a ragtag group of armed militants and terrorists, it has resulted in the death of eight police personnel in Lahad Datu and Semporna some three weeks later.”

Kit Siang poured out his grief on the fate suffered by the police personnel who died at the hands of the Sulu gunmen.

“We have witnessed the most gruesome, barbaric and savage mutilation of some of the police personnel who were still alive, including finger-chopping, eye-ripping and beheading,” he said.

From “intruders” to “terrorists”

Lim also chastised the Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Musa, who is also the chairman of the Sabah Security Committee for the sudden change in labels on the Sulu gunmen.

“He has suddenly realized that the ragtag group of Sulu killers was not “intruders” but “terrorists”! From yesterday, the media were directed by Musa to stop using the term “intruder” and to use “terrorist” instead.”

Lim said that not only was the mainstream media guilty of the misnomer, all the top political and security leadership were also guilty of the mislabeling too.

“Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, Defence Minister Zahid Hamidi and Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, to the security chiefs including the Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar and the Armed Forces Chief Gen Zulkifeli Mohd Zin were all guilty for more than four weeks in using the misnomer,” he added.

“Even the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak when he finally visited Lahad Datu on March 7, some 26 days after the first landing of Sulu terrorists on Feb. 9, also continued to talk about “intruders” instead of “terrorists” – betraying a serious problem of mindset of those responsible for managing the Sabah Sulu crisis,”

Hishammuddin’s misjudgment cost lives

According to Lim, many Malaysians have not forgotten about the the bloody and gruesome vignettes from the 30-day Sabah Sulu crisis.

He pointed to the one showing the Home Minister in his first visit to Lahad Datu on Feb. 18, peering at Kampong Tanduo through his powerful binoculars to survey the armed Sulu group and declaring “that although the group was armed, they were “neither militants nor terrorists”.

Lim said that the government’s misjudgment has cost human lives and coloured the mindset of the top political and security leadership.

“It was already known that the Sulu armed group was dangerous as they were wielding M16, M14 and Baby Armalite assault weapons and M203 grenade launchers,” he pointed out. -The Rocket

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