SHAH ALAM, Sept 24 — Former inspector-general of police (IGP) Tan Sri Musa Hassan said today it was unbecoming for a politician to make disparaging remarks about security personnel who sacrificed their lives for the country during the Lahad Datu incursion in 2013.
The former top cop said everyone has the right to freedom of expression, but it does not mean they are free to insult or accuse others to bring about public discontent.
He was expressing his dismay at Lahad Datu MP Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi’s recent remarks during a ceramah in Sabah.
“If there are politicians who belittle the actions of our security personnel, this means they are traitors to the country because they dislike them discharging their duties to ensure our security.
“The freedom to speak, everyone has it. We acknowledge freedom of speech, no problem, but don’t use it to bring about displeasure in others.
“Do not politicise the issue because the next-of-kin of these people will be affected by such statements,” he said during a press conference at the Selangor police contingent headquarters here.
Mohamaddin, a Parti Warisan Sabah supreme council member, is running for the Segama state seat in the Sabah election.
He drew backlash after he purportedly likened the bloody battle between Malaysian armed forces fighting off Sulu terrorists in Kampung Tanduo, Sabah as “mere theatrics”. A 2.30-minute video of his speech was widely shared on social media.
Mohamaddin has since apologised but claimed the viral clip did not provide proper context. He claimed it did not show him explaining the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government’s failure to tackle the undocumented migrant issue.
As such, Musa also urged the authorities to expedite their investigations and take necessary action against Mohamaddin for insulting a public officer.
“Action must be taken so others will not do the same. This must be a lesson. Do not issue statements that will hurt the feelings of those who are merely performing their duties.
“Do not think just because one is in politics, one is above the law.
“In the eyes of the law, everyone is equal,” he said, attributing the country’s peace to the vigilance of its security forces.
Deputy Commissioner Mior Faridalathrash Wahid, deputy director of investigation and legal affairs in the Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department, previously said the former minister will be called in for questioning, with the case investigated under Section 505(b) of the Penal Code and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act.
Also present during today’s press conference were Gerakan Pembela Ummah (Ummah) chairman Mohd Zai Mustafa and death penalty advocate group Protect Malaysia spokesperson Christina Teng.
Echoing Musa’s statement, Mohd also expressed his disappointment at Mohammadin’s remarks which allegedly showed the politician’s disrespect for Malaysia’s security forces.
He also voiced his support to maintain the death penalty in order to strengthen existing laws as a deterrent to violent crimes and terrorism.
On capital punishment, Musa said he disagreed with the proposed abolishment, citing the lives lost to the invaders must be dealt with justice in accordance to the law.
Separately, Teng highlighted the death penalty which has been put on hold since a moratorium came into effect last October 2019.
She emphasised that the public must never forget the sacrifices of those who died protecting the country’s sovereignty and said such matters cannot be trivialised.
“Strict, tough law and order must be implemented to protect the rakyat and we need responsible leaders in Parliament to uphold law and justice.
“We must hold those who have committed a crime accountable and we cannot undermine the frontliners,” she said, stressing the need of capital punishment for heinous crimes.
In the February 2013 incursion, about 235 militants landed and surrounded the village of Tanduo in Lahad Datu, Sabah after arriving by boat from Siminul Island, the Philippines.
The group, calling themselves the “Royal Security Forces of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo”, was sent by Jamaul Kiram III, one of the claimants to the throne of the Sultanate of Sulu to assert the unresolved territorial claim of the Philippines to eastern Sabah.
At the end of the standoff, around 56 militants were killed, together with six civilians and 10 Malaysian security force personnel. The rest of the militants were either captured or escaped back to the Philippines.