KUCHING: Sarawakians are questioning the defence ministry on the lack of effort in the search for two soldiers who went missing while on duty in Pulau Perak, Kedah.
Community activist Boniface Willy Tumek said the public are now making comparisons between how the defence ministry handled the search for these two soldiers and how the police handled the search for Irish teenager Nora Anne Quoririn, 15, who went missing in Negeri Sembilan on Aug 4.
“Why did the defence ministry not show the same level of commitment in the search for their own personnel who went missing while protecting the interests of the nation?”
He said police had poured in all the resources they could muster into the search for the teenager. This involved about 350 police personnel, working in shifts.
“Nora’s body has since been found, thanks to the most admirable commitment shown by the police.
“Even Singaporean Puah Geok Tin, who went missing on Aug 8 in Pulau Sri Buat, Pahang, was found after search-and-rescue (SAR) efforts by multiple agencies.”
Therefore, Boniface urged the defence ministry to immediately commence a full-scale multi-agency SAR effort for David Edmund Rapi and Moses Logers.
He said it had been 28 days since Rapi, 39, from Dalat, and Logers, 25, from Bau, went missing during an operation in Pulau Perak in Kedah.
“The agony that their family members are undergoing is becoming more acute,” he said.
“According to the information given by the remaining 13 soldiers, Rapi and Logers were present during dinner at 7pm on July 19.
“It is illogical to suggest that not one of the other 13 noticed the absence of the two until roll call, said to have taken place at around 10 pm,” he said.
Last week, the family members of the two Sarawakian soldiers had urged the government to resume the search for them.
Yesterday, Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu said the SAR efforts for the two soldiers would continue on land.
This clarification followed an earlier statement by the ministry that the SAR operation to locate both soldiers had stopped.
The Sarawak government had also asked the defence ministry to allow both families to retrieve the personal belongings of both soldiers.