Mar 3, 2013

Anwar mulls legal action against Utusan, TV3 over Filipino militant link

KUALA LUMPUR, March 3 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim may sue Utusan Malaysia and broadcaster TV3 for linking him to Filipino militants engaged in a deadly clash with police forces in an ongoing Sabah standoff.

The opposition leader has directed his lawyer to study yesterday’s news reports by the two Umno-controlled media for legal action.

“Datuk Seri Anwar (picture) has instructed his lawyer to study the statements... if there is any action, we will inform you,” Najwan Halimi, special officer to Anwar, told The Malaysian Insider when contacted last night.

Other media reported Anwar, who was speaking at a public rally in Penang last night, as being visibly upset at the allegations, which he said was an attempt to detract attention from genuine concern over national security issues.

The PKR advisor was reported by news portal Malaysiakini as telling a 2,000-strong crowd in Seberang Jaya that he had nothing to with the Filipino Muslim clan claiming lineage from the Sulu sultanate that grants them ownership of Sabah.

“Even if I met them, what’s the issue? Who in the government has never met with Haj Murad Ebrahim, the leader of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front or Nor Misuari?” he asked.

Nor Musuari, sometimes spelled Nur Misuari, heads the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), another Filipino Muslim faction seeking autonomy from Manila.

“What is important is: was there any discussion or encouragement or tacit approval for the insurgency or the encroachment into our borders?” he was quoted as saying.

He denied he had anything to do with the talks, and added he had only issued one statement on the matter, which was directed to the federal government.

“The only statement that I issued was to ask them to explain why our borders are so porous, why they took so long, as I think the security of Malaysia cannot be compromised.”

Malay daily Utusan Malaysia and TV3 had both picked up a news report from the Philippine Daily Inquirer, titled “Philippine govt intel eyes 3 groups abetting Sulu sultan’s claim”.

The Philippine news report on Friday cited unnamed intelligence sources there when reporting that the Malaysian opposition here was allegedly one of three groups that could have backed the Sulu rebels’ claim on Sabah.

It said that a Philippine intelligence officer pointed to an unnamed individual from the opposition allied to Anwar, adding that the figure was looking to contest a Sabah seat in Election 2013.

“Apparently, this politician was one of those who spoke with the Kirams. He supposedly gave the opposition’s support to the Kirams’ claim to Sabah,” the source who declined to be named said, in reference to the family of self-styled sultan Jamalul Kiram III.

Utusan also cited a February 14 report from newswire Reuters, where a Philippine military officer reportedly said a Malaysian opposition politician had invited the Sulu men to discuss land matters.

The Manila Times was also quoted by Utusan where it was reportedly claimed that the incursion was related to the Malaysian opposition’s campaign to give Sabah autonomy if they win.

Malaysia will be heading for national elections in the next few weeks where three main opposition parties, PKR, DAP and PAS, have joined forces to form the Pakatan Rakyat pact to go toe-to-toe against the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.

Sabah’s colourful opposition front now includes the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), State Reform Party (STAR), three PR parties — PKR, DAP, PAS, and two new PR-aligned movements APS (Angkatan Perubahan Sabah) and PPS (Pakatan Perubahan Sabah).

A policeman was killed and another injured in a shootout with armed militants in Kampung Selamat, Semporna. Police said two others were wounded in gunfight in Pulau Simunul, an island near Semporna.

These incidents around Semporna are 150km away from another coastal town, Lahad Datu, where there is still a tense standoff between Malaysian security forces and Filipino militants a day after 14 people were killed in a gunfire exchange.

The Filipino militants have been here for nearly three weeks, claiming that Sabah belongs to them although the land has been part of Malaysia for decades. - source


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