Saturday March 9, 2013
Lahad Datu: PKR’s Rafizi slams Government’s handling of conflict
PETALING JAYA: PKR has criticised the Government’s handling of the Lahad Datu intruders, claiming that it had initially been too soft on the Sulu terrorists.
Party strategy director Rafizi Ramli said the decision to send the army in only after the gunmen had started shooting and killing police commandos on March 1 had come too late and was politically-motivated.
“If the full mandate had been given to the police and military to begin with, we could have safeguarded the lives of the policemen and servicemen,” he said.
Rafizi also slammed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak over reports that the Malaysian and Philippine governments had given the gunmen a free exit pass earlier when they first landed in Sabah on Feb 12 before violence escalated.
Filipino newspaper Philippine Daily Inquirer reported on Thursday that the secretary to the cabinet Rene Almendras had claimed that Azzimudie Kiram and his armed followers were offered an exit pass by Malaysia to lay their weapons down and leave Sabah.
“Until the time the President (Benigno Aquino III) spoke (on Feb 26), there was this window where Malaysians agreed that the only thing they had to do was get rid of their weapons – either bury them, hide them – and come home. No charges would be filed here in the Philippines; no charges would be filed in Malaysia,” Almendras said.
He also claimed both the Philippine and Malaysian governments had agreed that the discussion on the claim to Sabah would be revived.
Rafizi also renewed calls for the Prime Minister to convene a special parliamentary sitting to debate the intrusion.
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