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I've nothing to do with Lahad Datu, decries Anwar
Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has strongly disclaimed allegations that he played a role in the Lahad Datu intrusion by a group of Sulu gunmen which resulted in 14 killed on Friday, including two police officers.
Visibly upset, Anwar said last night he had instructed his lawyers to initiate legal action against two Umno-linked media organisations - TV3 and Utusan Malaysia - over the accusations.
When asked by journalists if he had ever met with any member of the Sulu sultanate, leading them to stake a claim on Sabah or intrude into the country's borders, Anwar replied, "No, no."
"(And) even if I have met (them), what is the issue? Who in the government has not met Moro Islamic Liberation Front leader Al Haj Murad Ebrahim or (Moro National Liberation Front leader) Nor Misuari?" he asked, after addressing the crowd at a ceramah in Seberang Jaya, Penang.
"What is important is: Was there any discussion or encouragement or tacit approval (from me) for the insurgency or the encroachment into our borders?" said the livid PKR supremo after his ceramah, attended by a 2,000-strong crowd, ended past midnight.
"In fact, I have nothing to do (with it). The only statement that I issued was to ask them (the government) to explain why our borders are so porous, (and) why they took so long (to take action), as I think the security of Malaysia cannot be compromised."
Anonymous intelligence sources
A group of Sulu gunmen had on Feb 12 abruptly seized Kampung Tandou, about 130km from the town of Lahad Datu in the eastern tip of Sabah.
The three-week standoff resulted in a gun battle two days ago and the death of 12 intruders and two police commandos, who died from a mortar attack launched by the Filipinos.
The remaining gunmen are still holed up in the village, which is under siege by Malaysian police commandos.
The heavily-armed intruders, who are estimated to number between 100 and 300, sailed from their remote islands in southern Philippines to press Sulu sultan Jamalul Kiram III's claim to Sabah.
Kiram (left), 74, claims to be the heir to the Islamic sultanate of Sulu, which once controlled parts of the southern Philippines and a portion of Borneo.
The sultanate leased the land in 1878 to the British North Borneo Company, which passed it to Malaysia in 1963. Kuala Lumpur currently pays the sultan RM5,300 per year in token rent.
Yesterday, Utusan dragged Anwar into the affair by quoting a pro-government blog, which in turn quoted the Philippine media on the opposition leader's purported role in the intrusion.
Philippine Daily Inquirer, citing Philippine intelligence sources, revealed on Friday that a Sabah opposition leader had met with insurgents.
This leader was said to be a "member of the Malaysian political opposition allied with Anwar Ibrahim."
"Apparently, this politician was one of those who spoke with the Kirams. He supposedly gave the opposition's support to the Kirams' claim to Sabah," the source said, according to the Inquirer.
Utusan also cited a Reuters report quoting an anonymous Philippine army personnel saying the intruders had come on the "invitation" of the Malaysian opposition.
The Reuters article cited a Manila Times report which claimed that "the incursion is linked with the promise by the opposition in Malaysia to give autonomy to Sabah if it succeeds in forming the next government".
A case of ¡®Wag the Dog'
Meanwhile, TV3 news programme ¡®Buletin Utama' dedicated 30 minutes of its airtime last night to Lahad Datu, where five minutes were on Anwar and his alleged involvement in the intrusion.
Another five minutes was targeted at PKR vice-president and Batu MP Tian Chua for saying the intrusion was a 'sandiwara' (shadow play) planned by Umno, which earned him the wrath of Umno leaders.
Anwar said he had instructed his lawyers to look into allegations by both TV3 and Utusan, which insinuated he was party to the crisis in Sabah.
"These are highly irresponsible statements. They are purely cheap political gimmick to create uncertainties and to apportion the blame (on us), to deflect from the utter weakness and failure of the leadership in this country," Anwar said.
"(It is) ¡®nakal' (mischievous) because the issue of the country's security is not something to play about," added the Permatang Pauh MP.
"The situation reminds me of the movie 'Wag the Dog' where political leaders try to create issues to divert attention from the real crisis."
Perkasa dah bersiap sedia untuk mengembeling seluruh tenaga mereka - untuk mengutip derma untuk membantu Otosan Meloya yang akan di saman. Tabung Selamatkan Islam 8.0 itu akan di lancarkan oleh Beraim Ali di Tasik Titiwangsa esok.