Shock, dismay in Sabah over gunmen's intrusion

Locals alarmed by security lapse, govt's lax response to Filipino men Funding for firms to train S'poreans for process engineering services field

Royal Malaysian Navy craft patrolling near the beach of Tanjung Labian, near an area where the armed men are holed up, on Borneo island yesterday. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR - The "invasion" that took place just over 400km from their capital city of Kota Kinabalu has left many Sabahans shocked and incredulous about how more than 100 armed Filipino men could have entered the state undetected.

The people are also dismayed by what many consider to be a lax response by the authorities to the incursion on Feb 9.

"Malaysia is the easiest country to invade without even firing a shot... just ask the Philippines," Mr Kenneth Goh, 34, a software programmer in Kota Kinabalu, told The Straits Times yesterday.

As negotiations to end the stand-off continue, many want a firmer response by the Malaysian military to the gunmen, who are holed up in Tanduo village some 165km from the town of Lahad Datu, which has 160,000 people.