Malaysian Propaganda: Navy killing 35 Sulu Royal Army Supporters denied by the Philippines

photo: Malaysiakini.com 

Though Malaysian Defense Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi confirmed press reports that 35 Sulu Royal Force supporters were shot dead by the Philippines Navy, the latter denied any knowledge of the incident.

Confirming an Utusan Malaysia report today, Zahid told reporters in Penang that Sulu Royal Force supporters were shot in Sibutu Island in Tawi-tawi Province.

He said based on intelligence reports and information, the militants had "intended to enter Sabah to create chaos" in the days before the May 5 general election.

He said that the Malaysian security personnel "would have taken them out" if these militants had bypassed the Philippine forces.

"We will defend our country," the minister said.

Utusan reported that the Philippine security forces shot dead 35 members of the Kiram terrorists, led by its senior leader Kalling Amirul, in a fierce battle at Sibutu Island last Saturday.

The report claimed that the group was planning a strategy to encroach and attack the Sabah east coast to obstruct the GE13 process.

It also claimed that the Philippine security forces had seized 20 M16 and Grand Rifles.

Zahid went on to even thank the Philippines Navy and its coastguards.

But strangely enough the the Philippines Navy has denied any such incident.

Philippine Navy branded as "mere propaganda" Malaysia's claim

Malaysia Caretaker Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. Photo from Malaysiakini.com

It's peaceful here Philippine Navy Captain Renato Yonkey said. "Only evacuees from Sabah have been arriving in Tawi-Tawi," he said.

"There's no news because if there is something big it would explode."

 "Our Task Force Commander in Tawi-Tawi said that he does not have any such information pertaining to the reported death of 35 RSF supporters," said Col. Edgar Arevalo, spokesman on the Sabah issue. The Naval Task Force based in Tawi-Tawi also categorically denied the report, adding that the prevailing peace and order environment in his jurisdiction remained "favorable."

"We have not monitored of any incident transpiring in Tawi- Tawi as the situation here is peaceful," Navy Capt Renato Yonke, Commander of Task Force 62 tasked to guard the southern back door shoreline of any RSF supporters departing for Sabah.

Yonkie said that if the report was true, the information would surely spread quickly among the residents in Taw-Tawi and as far as Basilan and Jolo.

The Sulu Sultanate likewise laughed off Zahid's claim, saying a shootout between the Philippine Navy and the Sulu Royal Force Supporters would not have escaped the attention of the Philippine government, much more the local media.

"That's funny, really. It seemed they (Malaysians) had ran out of wild stories. Their past propaganda has not been successful so they are trying to create a story so we Filipinos would fight each other," Idjirani said.

The Sultanate official said he had just returned Wednesday night from Jolo, Sulu where he witnessed the public demonstration of thousands of Tausugs against the Malaysian government.

"I was in Jolo since Thursday last week. If something happens in Jolo, we will certainly know it, and fast," Idjirani said.

"We've been saying all along that we would not cause any trouble to the Malaysian elections," Idjirani added.

The May 5 Malaysian general election will have Prime Minister Najib Razak running against opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. Najib is running under Barisan National (BN) against Anwar's Pakatan Rakyat party,

In his campaign speeches, Najib and BN party candidates had emphasized the importance of the military offensive to end the armed conflict in Sabah.

Unlike the BN government, Najib said Pakatan Rakyat has been batting for the other side by "meeting up with those who don't like Sabah to remain within Malaysia".

But the Sultanate said that whoever wins the elections in Malaysia, it would continue to fight for the ownership of Sabah.

"Even if Najib lost in the elections, we will maintain our position on a win-win process, that is to reclaim Sabah," he added.

He said the electoral process in Malaysia is also important for the sultanate since many Tausug people, who are supporters of the Sultan have settled in Sabah and will cast their votes.

Agbimuddin will allow the Tausug and Malaysian people to participate in the elections peacefully, according to Idjirani.

With report from, Manila Standard Today, Free Malaysia Today and Malaysia Kini

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