KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 — Former tourism, arts and culture minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi has apologised for his controversial remarks over the 2013 Lahad Datu incursion by Sulu militants.
He said they were made in reference to the then Barisan Nasional (BN) government and were not meant as an insult to Malaysia’s security forces.
He added that it was BN’s failure to ensure the safety of the nation’s borders that plausibly contributed to the intrusion.
“I wish to clarify that my comments during campaigning were misunderstood, as I have never belittled or insulted our security forces who fought to the death to defend the nation’s sovereignty from intruders,” Mohammadin said in a statement today.
He added that during the ceramah, he had wanted to highlight the difficulties faced by the security forces in safeguarding Malaysia, a situation which he said was the result of the BN government’s inability to resolve the issue of undocumented migrants.
“In fact, the entire video ought to have been played in full, and not just highlighting that specific part, which I condemn as a dirty game by certain parties to besmirch Parti Warisan Sabah.
“Nonetheless, I wish to apologise if the maliciously-viralled video has offended or caused hurt to the security forces as a whole,” Mohammadin said.
The video clip showed the Silam MP referring to “mass killing theatrics” in Kampung Tanduo during part of his ceramah yesterday. This subsequently drew censure from several other political figures, including former foreign minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, and demands from Perikatan Nasional leaders for Mohammadin to apologise.
The Lahad Datu incursion saw 235 militants land in Sabah after arriving by boat from Siminul Island in the Philippines. By the end of the standoff, around 56 militants were dead, together with six civilians and 10 Malaysian security force personnel. The rest of the militants were either captured, or escaped back to the Philippines.