Sulu forces 'planning revenge attack in Sabah'

A Malaysian special forces trooper on standby at Lahad Datu in Sabah on Mar 5, 2013.
A Malaysian special forces trooper on standby at Lahad Datu in Sabah on Mar 5, 2013. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia's Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed said local intelligence has indicated that Sulu forces in southern Philippines are planning a "revenge attack" in Sabah following the group's failed attempt to claim ownership of the state in 2013.

He told the New Straits Times newspaper that the ministry was monitoring and working to neutralise the group's local network of sympathisers.

"We have been doing continuous and intensive monitoring. There are indications that the group is planning a revenge attack. We want to neutralise their network of sympathisers to prevent any such attack," he said.

The intrusion in 2013 led to a deadly stand-off between the troops of self-styled Sulu sultan Jamalul Kiram III and Malaysian security forces in the town of Lahad Datu. Datuk Nur Jazlan said many of the sympathisers of  the Sulu group have been assimilated into the communities.

"They are normal people, usually locals or non-Malaysians, with ties to the communities in southern Philippines. So, there are many of them. They have interwoven with the communities in eastern Sabah, which makes it more difficult to identify them."

Immigration Department deputy director-general Sakib Kusmi said the movement of people with links to the group was being monitored by enforcement agencies, including the Eastern Sabah Security Command.

On Thursday, the Sabah state assembly passed a proposal to ban foreigners associated with the self- proclaimed Sulu sultanate from entering the country.

Legal action was also proposed against opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat lawmakers Nurul Izzah Anwar and Tian Chua following their meeting earlier this month with Ms Jacel Kiram, daughter of the late sultan.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 29, 2015, with the headline 'Sulu forces 'planning revenge attack in Sabah''. Print Edition | Subscribe