(2 June 2000)

KOTA KINABALU: Although it is the job of the National Security Council to handle security aspects arising from the Sipadan hostage crisis, the State Security Committee should call on the Federal Government to deploy more patrol crafts, personnel and funding commitments to tackle the security menace in Sabah.

Datuk Yong Teck Lee, former Chief Minister and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) said here Thursday the State should highlight border patrols, implement more joint patrols and step up anti-crime operations.

Yong, who is also MP for Gaya and State Assemblyman for Likas, said the State Security Committee should also have a systematic plan to keep people well informed (on security situations in the State) and that the State Government should refocus its attention on BIMP-EAGA development programmes.

The State Security Committee is under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister.

Referring to the demand made by the Abu Sayyaf for the Malaysian Government to set up a Commission to investigate mistreatment of illegals in return for the release of Malaysian citizens and tourists held hostage by them, Yong said: "The Abu Sayyaf, the most extreme and violent of the many rebel groups in the Southern Philippines, has the cheek to demand for such a Commission and to demand for special treatment of these illegals.

"They are really testing the limits of the Malaysian people and our Government."

He said it was "utterly disappointing" to see the Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia had even hinted that Malaysia might consider the demand for such a commission.

The SAPP President said it must be made known to all that Malaysia, though being humane, had a fundamental duty to look after the local Malaysians and the Philippine Government, likewise, also had a duty to look after their own citizens in their country.

Yong said the Sipadan hostage drama has once again highlighted the gravity of problems arising from the presence of illegals in Sabah, which SAPP often referred to as the "Mother of All Threats".

He noted that bomb blasts were common in Cotabato, Zamboanga, Jolo and Manila.

"So, when Kota Kinabalu City had its own explosive blast last Sunday, near the Filipino market, the people, including the Chief Minister did not rule out the connection between the blast and the Sipadan hostage drama.

"The Police was quick enough to dispel public fears that the Abu Sayyaf has finally surfaced in our State capital."

He recalled that in July 1999, his request to speak on the illegals issue in the form of a motion for an Adjournment Speech at the State Legislative Assembly was rejected.

Instead, the SAPP presented a position paper on the illegal immigrants in Sabah, entitled, "Mother of All Threats", to the State Government for its attention in August last year.

It is believed that the party had highlighted in the document a number of threats resulting from the presence of these illegals in the State, including the threat to national security.


Datuk Yong Teck Lee
Member of Parliament for P150 Gaya / State Assemblyman for N13 Likas

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