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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Come clean on Sipadan kidnapping, Yong urges

Former Sabah chief minister says time to put a stop to kidnap-for-ransom in and off Sabah.

KOTA KINABALU - The authorities in Malaysia and the Philippines must come clean on the April 2000 Sipadan island kidnapping, former chief minister Yong Teck Lee says.

He also suggested the number of kidnap-for-ransom cases that had taken place had raised fears that Malaysian security forces were unable to protect Sabah.

Referring to the allegation by Moro National Liberation Front Chairman Nur Misuari that Malaysia was using the Moro people in the kidnap-for-ransom activities, Yong said: “There is public interest now to know whether it was true or not that Malaysians or Malaysian leader(s) were involved (in the Sipadan kidnapping) as alleged.”

The Borneo Post quoted him as saying it was not sufficient for Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman to merely ask for proof and for the Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar to give a simple denial.

“Six days after the allegations first surfaced, the authorities should have, by now, offered more facts such as the names of the gangs involved, their leaders and background and what actions have been taken against these people and what had happened to them.

“Further, what actions have been taken to ensure that there would be no repeat of such cross-border crimes. It is reasonable to assume that the facts of the 2000 Sipadan case are available in government files and records,” he was quoted as saying.

He said the admission by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Shahidan Kassim in Parliament that kidnaping had become a lucrative business reinforced “the legitimate fears of Malaysians that our security forces are failing to protect Sabah despite the huge amount of budgets allocated”.

Calling for urgent action, Yong said the visit of the Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte today gave fresh hope of a permanent stop to the cross-border kidnappings and other crimes, and also “burying any hope of the so-called ‘Sabah Claim’ by the Philippines”. - FMT

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