KINABALU, August 16, 2016 (Datuk Yong Teck Lee): The absence of the Sabah
Chief Minister at a major security event in Kuala Lumpur last week casts a
doubt on what the priorities are of the Sabah Government in protecting
Sabah from external and internal threats.
Of direct relevance and importance to Sabah's well being is the security
situation in the Southern Philippines. Yet, the Chief Minister, who is
also the Chairman of the Sabah State Security Committee, had missed the
launching of "The Implementation Phase of the Mindanao Peace Agreement
Between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation
Front" last Saturday at Kuala Lumpur. Did the Chief Minister have other
more important duties at the time?
Despite its good intentions for peace in Mindanao, Malaysia's continuing
efforts to implement the agreement on Bangsamoro signed in October 2012 in
Manila has not brought about peace and stability. In fact, as seen in
recent years, the peace agreement has done nothing to improve the security
situation in the Southern Philippines. As a result, cross-border crimes
such as kidnappings have increased, not to mention the infamous Tanduo
Incursion of February 2013, four months after the signing of the Manila
The proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, which purported to give exclusive
powers to the MILF to the exclusion of other groups like the MNLF (Moro
National Liberation Front), has failed to be passed by the Philippines
legislatures last year. As a result, the MILF is terribly upset. On the
other hand, the MNLF, which is recognised by the Organisation of Islamic
Conference (OIC), has been snubbed and excluded in the peace agreement.
This is a lose-lose scenario that aggravates the security situation right
at our maritime borders.
In the last two months, the new Philippines administration has repeatedly
stressed that the MNLF must be brought onto the peace process without
which there can be no peace. And yet, we see that Malaysia is still
insisting on the MILF peace agreement which has been rejected by
Philippines lawmakers. These are troubling facts.
Is the federal government making Sabahans fearful so that Sabahans will
continue to believe that the federal government is here only to protect
us? Protect Sabah from what and from who? And why is it that we see no
efforts by the federal government to counter the Philippines propaganda
for their "Sabah Claim"?
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Datuk Yong Teck Lee
ex-Chief Minister 1996-1998