Monday, February 18, 2013

Intruders & Animal Instinct

Almost a week ago, a group of over 100 Filipino gunmen from the Southern Philippines, claiming itself as the Sulu Sultanate Army, arrived on our shores in Lahad Datu on the east coast of Sabah, Malaysia, as reported here. The Malaysian Security Forces swiftly surrounded the area and began negotiations with the intruders. Amongst others, the latter demanded that the illegal Filipinos in Sabah to not be sent back to the Philippines. But after a few days' stand-off and "negotiations", the Sulu Sultanate Army has agreed to leave. 

It is interesting to note the comment of the Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib regarding that demand. He said:

"There is no negotiation because they are demanding on a wrong platform and should do it on a specific forum."

I find that statement rather surprising and appalling, to say the least. Right or wrong platform, specific or non-specific forum, the response to that demand should have been a stern "NO", plain and simple. Is the Police Commissioner implying that there is at least a remote chance that the answer might be a "YES" if the demand were made on a "right platform" via a "specific forum"?

Reading the news for the first time a few days ago, my immediate reaction was for our local forces to rain bombs and bullets upon the foreign gunmen. Our police and so-called special forces have the reputation of treating seemingly peaceful Malaysians who assemble to seek fair elections in Malaysia as a threat to national security. So one has to wonder if the police sees the Sulu Sultanate Army as at least of similar level of threat to national security.

Over the years there have been a number of hostile visitors from our neighbour in the Southern Philippines. They came in speedboats. They arrived at our shores and grabbed civilians; and brought them back to the Philippines. They then made demands—mostly money. As recently as last year, 2 people were taken from an oil palm plantation in the east coast. Maybe these are different groups of people from the Philippines, but to the ordinary Sabahan in the street, they are all the same. It is so tempting to just terminate them all! I should add that from a fair number of postings I've seen on facebook, it seems that such is the popular sentiment of many Sabahans.

Then yesterday, I decided to unwind at the movies—I spent  my afternoon watching A Good Day To Die Hard. At the end of that movie, I had an even more brilliant idea; it would be even better to send the McClanes, Senior and Junior, to Lahad Datu. I'm sure they can do a better job than our police?

But that's the danger when people decide with the heart, and not the mind. This morning I woke up and started thinking again, this time with my mind. Sadly, the more I think about it, the more I agree with the police. You see, it is so very easy to just bomb all these animals to kingdom come—it would be over within a few minutes. But then to do that would also mean that we have to bring ourselves down to their level—in fact, it would make us animals too!

The simplest and most obvious solution is not always the correct decision. Some of us still believe in being civilized; every human life is worth something. I guess however insignificant is the worth of that life, it is only right to try to save it as much as we can. If anything, that is one of the few things that makes us different from animals.


Juin Yi Ng said...

From my interaction with my Filipino friends, it seems that while Sabahans have largely forgotten or put aside the ruckus about Sulu Sultanate, they haven't. In fact, one of them actually told me: "When I become a politician, I will ensure Sabah gets rightfully restored back as part of Philippines."

Which then bring us to this question: does us the Sabahans want to be 'restored' back as part of Philippines? Back when they first initiated the idea of forming Malaysia, Sabah was given a chance to vote on whether to join this new formation or not. And obviously the answer was yes. Are we going to fare better off as a Filipino instead of as a Malaysian? And why haven't they even consulted the Sabahans in this matter? It's not like we're in desperate need of liberation. It's a twisted form of invasion.

I would love to elaborate more on this issue. But I have an exam in a few hours' time, so maybe I'll do so when I have more ample time.


Cornelius said...

Hi Juin Yi Ng,

Thanks for your comment.

If there is anything I've noticed about "uncivilized" people is that they almost ALWAYS can't be trusted in their dealings!

Apparently, the latest news is that they refuse to leave, because they're saying why should they leave their own home?

History reveals a short-sighted Sultan who ceded his land in perpetuity, meaning permanently, in return for an annual rent. There is no provision for the termination of that agreement. Sabah is no longer under his control, even if he is receiving an annual rent. He has given away his rights to rule over the North Borneo long ago, and Sabah is no longer his home. The "Sultan of Sulu" is still living in the past, thinking that he can conveniently ignore the fact that he had surrendered his rights over North Borneo a long time ago.

If the Sultan of Sulu can go back against his own promise, why, then the Sultan of Brunei should also be allowed to go back on his words and claim the entire Sarawak and Sabah... because this whole land belonged to the Sultan of Brunei once upon a time. But it doesn't quite work that way, you see.

If it were me, there is just no way I would want to be a part of the Philippines. Sabah is a part of Malaysia, and I am a Malaysian. What's more, I am proud to be a Malaysian!