Not right to link Bajau, Suluk in Sabah to Filipino militants


SEMPORNA: Sabah Assistant Finance Minister Ramlee Marahaban today hit out at certain quarters for linking the state’s Bajau and Suluk communities to the harbouring of southern Philippine militants due to family ties, describing it as inappropriate.

He said any statement with ethnic sentiments over such criminal activity was unfair and sensitive.

“Logically, any bad action should not be protected.

“The criminal activities carried out are the doings and responsibility of those involved, and not because of ethnicity or having family ties.”

He said this when met by reporters after a korban event of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) with the Simunul Zone community here today in conjunction with Hari Raya Haji.

He was responding to a national newspaper report, quoting an unnamed source, as saying that the militants from the southern Philippines who fled to this country were harboured by their Bajau and Suluk family members who had for long been residing in Sabah.

Ramlee said such a negative perception and ethnic sentiments should not be directed against the local Bajau and Suluk communities as they are a cultured people, just like other communities.

He added that such allegations, as though they were in cahoots with the militants, could tarnish their image.

He said these two communities were loyal and had struggled for the good of this country.

Meanwhile, Ramlee said ESSCom’s main asset in monitoring the security of the country’s waters was the people’s participation in ensuring its sovereignty.

He said the public should continue cooperating by channelling information to the security forces.

They should learn lessons from the tragic incident at Kampung Simunul, Semporna, where six policemen were gruesomely killed in an ambush by Filipino militants in March 2013.

Present at the korban event was Esscom chief executive officer Noor Alam Khas A Wahid Khan.

Noor Alam said so far, the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone) community had been giving good feedback on the programmes implemented by ESSCom and involving the local community.