By Ida Lim
KUALA LUMPUR, March 2 — Malaysia’s failure to stop foreigners from entering and seizing territory here could endanger the future of Sabah and genuine Sabahans, Umno leader Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has said, amid warnings of a civil war in the state by a Filipino rebel leader.
Tengku Razaleigh (picture), popularly known as Ku Li, raised the alarm over the “foreboding” events in Sabah, including the siege in Lahad Datu by a Sulu rebel army.
“I had used the term ‘foreboding’ because the population structure has changed to the extent that a different dimension to the events is possible in future.
“The failure of those responsible to secure our border is so serious that I feel I had to raise this warning as I believe the integrity of Sabah and the genuine Sabahans must be protected at all costs as a political responsibility,” Tengku Razaleigh said in a statement yesterday.
The Gua Musang MP could likely be hinting at testimonies at an ongoing royal inquiry that Filipino immigrants living in Sabah had been given citizenship through irregular means.
Tengku Razaleigh also spoke of the grave concern over the breach of Malaysian borders and the government’s failure to secure the country’s sovereignty.
“All Malaysians and understandably particularly our Sabah brothers must be alarmed and concerned with the failure of securing our borders and safety of our sovereignty from foreign invasion.
“The seizure of Malaysian territory without any prior knowledge or measures to prevent this from happening must be of deep concern. The integrity and safety of Sabah is challenged as never before,” the politician said.
Yesterday, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad also said that security at the borders and territorial waters of Malaysia must be tightened.
“It was so easy for the unsophisticated group to enter our country. This means that we must upgrade security so that nobody can intrude,” he was quoted saying by state news agency Bernama.
Yesterday, a Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader reportedly warned that the Lahad Datu gunfight could spark off a civil war in Sabah, while the Sultanate of Sulu said its group of fighters, which had set foot here about three weeks ago, will continue their fight.