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No solid evidence of Sulu’s planned attack on Sabah, says Malaysia’s armed forces chief

No solid evidence of Sulu’s planned attack on Sabah, says Malaysia’s armed forces chief

Malaysia's armed forces stand ready in defending the country’s and Sabah’s security and sovereignty from any foreign threat, its chief says. (File photo: Bernama)

KUALA LUMPUR: There is no solid evidence of the reported plans by Sulu militia to invade Sabah, said Malaysia’s Armed Forces Chief Affendi Buang. 

In a statement on Friday (Dec 10), Gen Affendi said the armed forces viewed issues that could threaten Malaysia’s sovereignty and jeopardise bilateral relationships seriously. 

“Currently, through the implementation of operation and intelligence gathering, there is no clear indication or solid evidence on what has been reported,” he said. 

On Thursday, South China Morning Post reported that a secret meeting among 19 mayors in the southern Philippines province of Sulu was held to discuss the recruitment of 600 armed fighters and to set up a “Royal Sulu Army” to invade Sabah. 

Quoting a regional security source, the report alleged that spies had been sent to scope out coastal towns and that February 2022 was seen as the best time to invade to “commemorate” the Lahad Datu incursion in 2013.

The Sultanate of Sulu claimed Sabah as its territory. In the 2013 incident, nine Malaysian policemen and soldiers as well as six civilians were killed. 

Gen Affendi said in his Friday statement that the armed forces stand ready in defending the country’s and Sabah’s security and sovereignty from any foreign threat. 

“(Our) main role is to protect the country’s interests, especially in defending the territory’s sovereignty and integrity from traditional and non-traditional security threats,” he said.

On Thursday, Inspector-General of Police Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani said there has been no confirmation over the reported invasion.

“PDRM (Royal Malaysia Police) takes the matter seriously and will take immediate action to increase preparedness at the highest level in Sabah to face any eventualities and the threat of intrusion.

"We give our commitment in this matter to prevent any recurrence of incursion incidents in Sabah. PDRM has good relations with the Philippine authorities and shares intelligence information on any activities that could threaten the close relationship and security of the two countries," he said in a statement, according to Bernama.

Mr Acryl Sani added that the police were always ready to deal with any threat, and efforts would be intensified to detect and identify sleeper cells in Sabah, which may be involved in the conspiracy.

Sabah Police Commissioner Idris Abdullah also denied the news report. "Not true. Nonetheless, we (Sabah police) will beef up security," he said in a WhatsApp message to Bernama on Thursday.

Source: CNA/Agencies/tx(ih)

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