KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 ― Local intelligence have indicated that the Sulu forces in southern Philippines are looking to stage another attack on Sabah as “revenge”, following its failed bid in 2013 to claim ownership of the east Malaysian state, according to Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed.
The deputy home minister told the New Straits Times (NST) today that local enforcement authorities are now working to try and neutralise the group's network here.
“We have been doing continuous and intensive monitoring. There are indications that the group is planning a revenge attack.
“We want to neutralise their network of sympathisers to prevent any such attack,” he was quoted saying in NST’s website.
According to the Pulai MP, many supporters of the Sulu forces have been assimilated into the local Sabah communities, making the task of identifying them harder.
“They are normal people, usually locals or non-Malaysians, with ties to the communities in southern Philippines. So, there are many of them.
“They have interwoven with the communities in eastern Sabah, which makes it more difficult to identify them,” he reportedly told NST.
During a visit two weeks ago to Sabah, Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar warned locals there to stop helping intruders from southern Philippines to commit cross border crimes.
The national police chief told Sabahans, especially those living on the east coast, to give the police their cooperation, adding a warning that those identified as complicit in the crimes will face serious action.
The Sulu “sultanate” in southern Philippines led by late former self-styled “sultan” Jamalul Kiram III organised a group of over 200 gunmen who launched an invasion on the peaceful Lahad Datu coastal township in Sabah in 2013.
The invasion, which was the sultanate's attempt to stake its claim over Sabah, later led to a bloody standoff between local security forces and the Sulu group, resulting in 10 Malaysian personnel dead.
On Thursday, the Sabah assembly approved a motion to ban all those associated with the Kiram clan and the Lahad Datu intrusion from entering the state.
The legislative House also agreed to continue the curfew in the east coast; ban PKR MPs Nurul Izzah Anwar and Chua Tian Chang from entering the state; and investigate their recent meeting with the late Jamalul's daughter Jacel Kiram.