Pakatan calls for Parliament session on Sabah standoff

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Pakatan Rakyat leaders are calling for a special parliamentary sitting to discuss the recent security incidents in east Sabah, said Anwar Ibrahim.

In addition, they want a roundtable discussion between themselves and the government "in an effort to reach an understanding on the issue."

"While we are convinced that national security transcends political divides and all citizen  must support the security forces' efforts, it does not abrogate the federal leadership for its lax treatment of the whole affair," said the PKR de facto leader.

He said the decision to call for the parliamentary sitting was made earlier today, and a letter is being prepared to inform Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and parliament speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia of it.

Anwar was speaking at a joint press conference with DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang and PAS secretary-general Mustafa Ali at the PKR's headquarters today.

'Gov't failed to disburse accurate information fast'

While expressing confidence in the abilities of the security forces, the opposition leaders criticised the government for failing to present a clear plan to overcome the violations of Malaysia's sovereignty and for failing to pass accurate information quickly, thus allowing rumours to run rife.

Lim ( left ), who claims to have been in Lahad Datu speaking to the reporters at the scene, quoted one such rumour, saying, "There is no political will to resolve this. Uniformed personnel (are) frustrated with top Kuala Lumpur decisions".

He commented that the incidents, which is in 23rd day since the Sulu intruders have landed, should not have dragged on for so long and the opposition leaders "have full confidence in the security forces to resolve this problem, if they have the fullest power to do so."

In the meantime, the Pakatan Rakyat leaders appealed for calm and urged the people not to take reckless measures that could endanger fellow citizens.

Earlier today, PAS vice-president Muhfuz Omar had made a similar call for a parliament sitting to discuss the issue of Sabah's security.

A group of over 100 intruders claiming to be from the armed forces of the now-defunct Sulu Sultanate had landed in Kampung Tanduo, Lahad Datu on Feb 9, triggering a standoff with security forces starting Feb 13.

At least eight police officers and 19 Sulu intruders have died so far in clashes around Kampung Tanduo and Semporna, while an armed group is believed to have landed in Kunak.

24-hour ultimatum

Meanwhile, the three opposition leaders also denounced allegations that Anwar is behind the incidents, saying that Najib's call to investigate Anwar is an attempt to "distract the people from his own failures in this security situation."

When asked about allegations that Anwar had met former Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader Nur Misuari several months ago and instigated the Sulu Sultanate's incursions, the Permatang Puah MP replied, "Nur Misuari met many leaders and I met him last year, but this group is not Misuari's but the Sulu Sultan's".

Nur Misuari had also been quoted in the Philippine media condemning the Sulu Sultanate's move and offering to mediate peace talks.

In a separate press conference earlier today, PKR vice-president N Surendran and legal bureau chief Latheefa Koya announced that they have issued a 24-hour ultimatum to TV station TV3 and Malay-language daily Utusan Malaysia to retract and apologise for its reports implicating Anwar in the security incidents.

They say letters of demand have already been faxed to the two media outlets at 9.30am today.

If a favourable response were not forthcoming, they would initiate legal proceedings as Anwar's counsels to sue the publications RM100 million each for alleged defamation.

Although the two publications quoted Philippine newspaper The Philippine Inquirer in their reports, Anwar said there would be no legal proceedings against it because the person implicated in the actual report was "one member of the Malaysian political opposition allied with Anwar (who) was running for a post in Sabah," rather than he himself.

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