31 March, 2013


The Chinese should put aside their sentiment to punish Barisan Nasional in the general election and vote rationally, said former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin. In an interview with China Press, Daim said he believed that the Chinese would make the right choice by voting Barisan.

“If you want to punish Barisan, what will you get in return? If the Chinese are not satisfied with the Government, let's see from another perspective. Are they dissatisfied with every issue? 

“Economic stability, a peaceful, harmonious, developed and progressing country. It is impossible to get everything you want. I also tell that to the Malays,” he said. 

Daim pointed out that if everyone was satisfied with certain issues while dissatisfied with others, it only showed that the Government had done the right thing because it could not exist just for a certain group of people. 

In contrast, he said the three parties in Pakatan Rakyat had their own agenda, adding that they could not even properly manage the state governments, let alone the Federal Government. 

Based on his analysis, Daim said Barisan would be able to form the next Government, with an even better overall performance compared with the 2008 general election.

“Barisan may lose some of its seats in Johor, Sabah and Sarawak. But the overall results will be better than that in the last elections. This is because Barisan will be able to win back some of the seats in Selangor, Kedah and Kelantan,” he said. 

Barisan, said Daim, also had a chance to wrest back Selangor and Kedah if the coalition could come up with suitable Menteri Besar candidates. However, he admitted that it would be an uphill task for Barisan to get back Penang and Kelantan. 

“As long as Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat is there, the people will vote for PAS. It is very difficult for Barisan to win the state,” he said. Daim also said that in Perak, although there would be a stiff fight, Barisan had the upper hand. (The Star)

30 March, 2013


By Sanat Vallikappen and Klaus Wille - Mar 26, 2013 Bloomberg

Bhupendra Kumar Modi, chairman of Spice Global, poses for a photograph in Singapore on March 14, 2013.
 Photographer: Munshi Ahmed/Bloomberg
Billionaire Bhupendra Kumar Modi, who became a Singapore citizen last year, is urging his adopted nation to end a ban on young singles owning state-built homes because it hurts one of the city’s key goals: making babies.

Modi’s Global Citizens Forum, which the Spice Group chairman started this year to help youths worldwide, will ask the government to change a policy that only allows single adults over 35 to buy flats built by the Housing & Development Board. Modi says lowering the age to 25 would encourage sexual relationships and earlier marriages, helping to counter a slump in the birthrate that’s depriving the economy of workers. 

“Most of the girls and boys these days would like to have sex before they marry,” said Modi, 64, who has three children and five grandchildren. “There are no virgin marriages.”

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is treading a line between reining in soaring property prices that put housing ownership beyond the means of many Singaporeans, and encouraging more citizens to settle down and start a family sooner. Over the past decade, Singaporeans are marrying later and now barely produce enough children to replace one parent.

Modi’s proposal may touch a nerve in Singapore, especially among religious leaders and others who oppose premarital sex. “There will be two sources of resistance -- the conservative groups who would see this as a challenge to the traditional family unit and those worried about the costs,” said Bridget Welsh, a political science associate professor at Singapore Management University. 

More Grants With 82 percent of Singaporeans living in apartments built by the state, housing policy has been used to encourage the development of families. Grants are given to married couples buying their first homes, with additional funds for those living close to their parents, according to HDB’s website. Singapore raised childcare subsidies and cash bonuses for parents this year, spending S$2 billion ($1.6 billion) a year to encourage larger families. To curb speculation, it increased downpayments and sales taxes on property and tightened restrictions on purchases by foreigners. 

The HDB is building about 25,000 new homes a year, up from 13,500 units in 2009. Singapore this month announced rules allowing singles over 35 who are first-time buyers and don’t earn more than S$5,000 a month to purchase new two-bedroom HDB apartments that are 45 square meters (484 square feet) or smaller. Previously, they could only buy state-built flats that are being re-sold. Additional Pressure The government will unlikely lower the age for singles as it will “put additional pressure on property prices,” said Carmen Lee, head of research at OCBC Investment Research Pte. 

The median price per square meter for condominiums rose to a record S$11,056 in the fourth quarter. Singapore’s home ownership rate was 90.1 percent for resident households, according to government data. “While families will continue to be our top priority, singles have housing needs too,” National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said in Parliament on March 8. Helping singles move out of their parents’ homes earlier will accelerate decisions on marriage and parenthood, Modi, who estimates his net worth at $2 billion, said in an interview in Singapore on March 14. His Singapore-based company has invested in telecommunications and financial services. 

The former Indian citizen has 14 homes around the world, including in Beverly Hills, California, and a penthouse on top of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, according to his company. Modi said singles who earn at least S$2,000 a month should be able to buy public housing. Good Proposal “This is a good proposal as it will help people start an independent life and set up a family at an earlier age,” said Kenny Loh, 29, an unmarried research analyst. “But few singles can afford a flat. There must be more subsidies in place.” 

An HDB apartment sold for more than S$1 million for the first time in September, and the median price of a three-room HDB flat has risen 30 percent in the past three years, to S$353,800, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The median income has risen 19 percent to S$3,480 a month, according to government data. 

“Having one’s own flat may facilitate establishing relationships, marrying and procreating at an earlier age,” said Tan Ern Ser, a faculty associate at National University of Singapore’s Institute of Policy Studies. 

“Having an apartment could raise the probability of earlier family formation.” Singapore’s birthrate was about 1.3 children per woman in 2012, and handouts and extended maternity leave haven’t stemmed a decline in fertility. About 36,000 babies were born to residents in 2011, compared with nearly 50,000 in 1990. 

First Encounter The island, smaller than New York City, may have 6.9 million people by 2030, 30 percent more than now, with about half being foreigners, the government said in a white paper in January. The report prompted a backlash against immigration and the biggest political demonstrations since a ban on such protests was lifted in 2000. The average age for Singaporeans’ first sexual experience was 23, compared with 18 in the U.S., according to a 2007 survey of 26 countries by Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc (RB/)’s condom unit Durex. 

Only respondents in India and Malaysia started at a later age, according to the survey. The company didn’t provide more recent data. Measures to boost the birthrate “should not compromise on building strong families,” said Lim Yu Ming, executive director of charity Focus on the Family Singapore.

“Encouraging premarital sex as a way to increase Singapore’s fertility rate only opens the door to more relationship and health issues.” Even those who do marry often delay starting a family. Peak fertility was in the 30-34 age group for women in 2010, compared with 25-29 in 2000, according to the government’s National Family Council.

“We’re just not ready at the moment for the responsibility,” said Lim Yi Shan, a married 27-year-old business development executive at an engineering company. “It’s a mindset thing.”

21 March, 2013

Chinese IP address behind South Korea hacking

By : Spandas Lui

The hacking attack in South Korea on internet service provider LG Uplus, which crippled several TV broadcasters and banks, originated from an IP address in China, according to South Korean officials. The cyberattack occurred on Wednesday and caused disruptions to TV networks YTN, MBC, and KBS. 

Meanwhile, Shinhan Bank and NongHyup Bank were also affected. During a press conference, a South Korea Communications Commission spokesperson said that the malicious code used for the attack came from an IP address in China, reported Reuters.

A previous cyberattack on South Korea had been traced to North Korea using a Chinese IP address. At the time, North Korea blamed the US for the hacking. South Korea has yet to point fingers at North Korea for the most recent incident. The country had been ramping up its cybersecurity after threats of physical and virtual attacks from its Northern Communist neighbours. 

South Korea's police are still investigating the latest hacking. The US were also victims of an online attack in January on news agencies New York Times and Wall Street Journal. China was blamed for the hacking, but the country denied those accusations.

Spandas forayed into tech journalism in 2009 as a fresh university graduate spurring her passion for all things tech. Based in Australia, Spandas covers enterprise and business IT.


LEAVING MICROSOFT TO CHANGE THE WORLD "AN INFECTIOUSLY INSPIRING READ" John J. Wood is the founder and board co-chair of Room to Read, a global non-profit organization focused on literacy and gender equality in education in Asia and Africa that has reached over 6 million children. 

He is also the author of Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur's Odyssey to Educate the World's Children and the children's book Zak the Yak with Books on His Back.

He is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative's Advisory Board and is a frequent lecturer at Harvard's Graduate School of Education and NYU's Stern School of Business.Wood took a vacation from his work at Microsoft in 1998 to trek through the Himalayas.

While trekking, he met a "resource director" for the schools in the Annapurna Circuit of Nepal, with whom he visited a primary school that contained 450 children and only a handful of books—none age-appropriate.

Upon seeing Wood's reaction to the lack of books, the school's headmaster suggested, "Perhaps, sir, you will someday come back with books," which inspired Wood to solicit book donations from family and friends via email sent from an Internet cafe in Kathmandu. 

A year later, Wood returned to the school with 3,000 books—all donated in response to his email appeal to friends and family. Soon thereafter, he left his job at Microsoft entirely to devote himself full-time to Books for Nepal, a side project that would eventually form the foundation for Room to Read. 

Leaving Microsoft was published by Harper Collins in August 2006. It was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2007, with "Oprah's Book Drive" for Room to Read raising over $3 million.

Leaving Microsoft has been published in 20 languages. It was named one of the Top Ten non-fiction books of 2006 by Hudson's Booksellers and a Top Ten business narrative by Amazon.com. The sequel will be published by Penguin in early 2013.

11 March, 2013





10 March, 2013


 (The Philippine Star)
The “excursion” of Sultan Jamalul Kiram’s “royal” security forces into Lahad Datu is one more major problem faced by our military which, for so long, has been perceived as one of the weakest among nations in Southeast Asia. To intel observers, the fact that a big number of armed men were able to sail virtually undetected to Sabah showed a disturbing “failure of intelligence” on the part of the Philippine military, in particular our naval forces and the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom). 

Not long ago, newly appointed Army chief Lt. General Noel Coballes himself said — during his stint as Westmincom chief — that the technology and training provided by the Americans is complemented by the fact that “we have good human intelligence on the ground so we have a good picture of where, when and how the enemy will strike.” Apparently, our military intelligence missed out on the excursion party planned by the Kirams, outbound as the men were. And despite the denials of current Westmincom chief Lt. Gen. Rey Ardo, one cannot discount the possibility that more Tausugs or Suluks might have really sailed to Malaysia to help their besieged brothers, as claimed by former ARMM governor Nur Misuari. 

 Ironically, the Philippines is supposed to have a National Coast Watch System (NCWS) to monitor the movement of vessels that go in and out of our maritime territory. The NCWS is a network of coastal radar stations in Eastern and Western Mindanao — an offshoot of the Coast Watch South or CWS which is a major component of a defense project started sometime in 2008 between the Philippines and the US (with support from Australia) to promote the country’s “maritime domain awareness” particularly in the waters of Mindanao. 

In July last year, the NCWS figured prominently during the 18th Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercises between the United States and the Philippines, participated in by about 1,000 troops from both countries’ Navy and Coast Guard. At the time, Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao chief Commodore Philip Cacayan (now AFP deputy chief of staff for personnel) even noted that the coast watch system enables the Navy to monitor all vessels, big or small, fast or slow, with or without computers, going in and out of our waters. Yet it is so strange that no one detected any unusual movement or abnormality — like perhaps the high number of small watercraft from Sulu or Tawi-Tawi sailing towards Sabah on the second week of February. 

 As summed up by defense expert Dr. Peter Chalk (senior analyst at the US think-tank group RAND) in his report titled “Sealing the ‘back door’ in the Philippines,” the main operational task of Coast Watch South is to counter threat groups including the NPA, the Abu Sayyaf, renegade MILF and MNLF members and criminal elements through surveillance of the Philippines’ maritime territory — noting that our porous borders have been a “major conduit” for terrorists, firearms and drug smugglers, human traffickers, pirates and other criminals. In fact, a lot of notorious foreign terrorists have been frequent “visitors” in the South — such as World Trade bomber Ramzi Yousef, 9/11 architect Khalid Sheik Mohammed, and Bali bomber Dulmatin of the Jemaah Islamiyah. 

It’s an open secret that anyone who wants to escape justice can simply use the “backdoor” to go to Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia — with Sabah being a favorite destination not only because of its proximity but due to the lax security which many are aware is deliberate because of the so-called “Project IC” of the scandal-ridden Malaysian government to bring in “flying voters” by giving “identity cards” to illegal immigrants — majority of whom are Filipino. 

The Lahad Datu incident obviously also exposed Malaysia’s security lapses and operational weaknesses, with five battalions (about 3,500 soldiers) sent to go after 200 men. There are allegations however that the standoff was “encouraged” by the UMNO party of Prime Minister Najib Razak to create a situation that would turn them into heroes in the eyes of Malaysians — in the process weakening the popularity of the opposition led by former deputy minister Anwar Ibrahim. 

There is no doubt the Aquino government has made a lot of inroads domestically with its “daang matuwid” — but the “daang palabas” on the international front needs a lot of attention now despite the recently signed New AFP Modernization Act aimed at boosting the government’s shift from internal security operations to territorial defense. Sadly, corruption scandals have tainted the image of the Armed Forces in the past decade, with a recent Transparency International study naming the Philippines one of the most corrupt in the defense sector. 

No question it will take a lot of resources to boost our maritime fleet. Currently, we only have about 70 Navy assets (only two operational frigates — the rest are old patrol vessels). Despite the recent acquisition of four choppers and 18 trainer aircraft, the Philippine Air Force continues to suffer from an “all air, no force” image. 

The road towards AFP modernization will be long and arduous, but more than ever this is something we urgently need to do. We may count on allies like the US to help us achieve a minimum credible defense posture, mostly in terms of intelligence sharing, training and joint exercises, but at the end of the day we are on our own especially with the US armed forces facing budget cuts.

Clearly, we have to start by building a strong intelligence network around our porous borders and identify vulnerable spots. Heaven forbid, one day we might just wake up with foreign soldiers in the middle of Metro Manila — coming in like “a thief in the night.”


Mohit Kumar - www.thehackersnews.com

 A series of websites defacement has been conducted between Philippines and Malaysia over the dispute in the land of Sabah. Hackers claiming to be part of Anonymous group from Malaysian and Filipino and attacking websites of each other. 

It was believed that the first online attacks were made by Malaysians and defaced the government-owned site of the municipality Moal Boal, Cebu, hours after a skirmish erupted between police and Sulu gunmen on Friday. 

Meanwhile the online shop of Philippine mobile services provider Globe Telecom was defaced by hackers claiming to be from the "MALAYSIA Cyb3r 4rmy". 

On other side Philippine Cyber Army hackers claiming to have attacked 175 Malaysia-based sites,“Greetings Malaysia! Greetings Government! Stop attacking over our cyberspace or else we will attack your cyber world!” the Philippine hackers. 

Today story take another angle, when Several websites of Philippine local governments have been hacked by the so called “Anonymous Malaysia” 3rd group of hackers with the message: “Well, its time for us to PEACE and stop attacking each other. 

To end up this way, this is our last defacement and from now on none of us will step or touch ur (sic) country site and none of you are able to touch our country site. If u against (sic) this agreement, we wont accept any apology or excuses #wewillnotgodown.” 

A statement by hacktivist group Anonymous on pastebin also called for hackers of both countries to stop. "The petty cyber-war will gain us nothing but wrong impressions from ordinary people. Our goal is to peacefully unite the collective consciousness of humanity. 

We urge our brothers from both countries to sit and talk Not blabber out words then fight like kids. We have no place for petty arguments and to surrender to provocative actions that we know we can answer with a larger and bolder approach." 

As far now, Individual hackers from both parties are appeared to have started the attacks on each other.

09 March, 2013



MANILA - Seorang pastor yang dikenali sebagai Saycon tampil mengakui beliau adalah penasihat kepada Sultan Sulu Jamalul Kiram III dalam membuat tuntutan ke atas Sabah. Saycon berkata beliau bekerja untuk sultan atas kapasiti peribadi dan bukan sebagai Setiausaha Agung Majlis bagi Hal Ehwal Filipina (Copa). 

Dalam temu bual dengan media tempatan Saycon berkata, beliau terpanggil untuk menerangkan keadaan sebenar selepas pengikut Sultan Sulu dan pasukan keselamatan Malaysia menemui jalan buntu untuk menyelesaikan masalah itu di Lahad Datu, Sabah hingga mencetuskan keganasan. 

Saycon mendakwa sebagai pakar strategi politik dan berperanan ketika penggulingan bekas Presiden Joseph Estrada pada 2001 dan berpengaruh dalam pentadbiran bekas Presiden Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. 

“Sebagai seorang penasihat kepada sultan, saya membantu beliau mengumpul bukti dan dokumen yang akan membantu dalam tuntutan Sabah kepada Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu (PBB). Saya juga membantu beliau menyusun strategi supaya beliau dapat fokus kepada usaha untuk mendapatkan semula Sabah,” katanya dipetik Globalnation Inquirer. 

Ditanya sama ada beliau juga menasihatkan Jamalul untuk menghantar Azzimuddin dan bilangan pengikut ke Sabah untuk menuntut sebahagian wilayah Malaysia, beliau mejawab: “Tidak." Namun beliau mengakui bahawa mengetahui tentang rancangan menuntut Lahad Datu sejak Ogos lalu. 

Saycon berkata, terdapat empat percubaan untuk memasuki Lahad Datu iaitu pada Ogos dan September lalu. “Ketika itu, saya juga mendapat tahu tindakan nekad memasuki Lahad Datu disebabkan terdapat pengikut mereka di Tausung Sabah tertindas ini menyebabkan Sultan Sulu berasa malu kerana tidak mampu berbuat apa-apa. 

Beliau juga menerima laporan bahawa terdapat pengikutnya dipukul anggota keselamatan Malaysia sebelum dihantar pulang ke Sulu dan Tawi-Tawi,” katanya.

Menurutnya, selepas kerajaan menandatangani perjanjian damai awal dengan Barisan Pembebasan Islam Moro pada Oktober 2012, terdapat ketegangan dalam pentadbiran kesultanan, tetapi tiada rancangan untuk menduduki Sabah. Namun, Jamalul khuatir dan kecewa kerana permintaan mereka kepada kerajaan termasuk tuntutan Sabah dalam rundingan damai dengan Bangsamoro itu tidak dinyatakan.

“Percubaan ketiga adalah pada November selepas Jamalul mengeluarkan 'dekri diraja' membenarkan Azzimuddin pergi ke Sabah, perintah itu dikeluarkan semasa mesyuarat puak di Bandar Zamboanga. 

Beliau berkata, sebelum Disember lalu beliau mendapat tahu Azzimuddin telah mengumpulkan senjata untuk penyokong dan pengikut menyeberang ke Sabah. 

“Segala tindakan beliau dari awal tidak saya setuju, malah saya meyakinkan beliau supaya mengumpul dokumen dan sokongan untuk dihantar kepada jawatankuasa Kehakiman PBB kerana itu usaha terakhir bagi mereka,” katanya.

Saycon berkata, Kiram menjelaskan kepadanya bahawa Kesultanan Sulu tidak mempunyai pilihan tetapi akan melakukan apa sahaja yang didesak oleh pengikutnya.

“Mereka akan kehilangan maruah jika gagal untuk melakukannya, sebagai pengikut mereka hanya mahu merebut kembali Sabah dan perkara itu memberi tekanan kepada sultan,“ katanya.


By : DZIRHAN MAHADZIR - A freelance defence journalist and analyst based in Kuala Lumpur. He was a guest lecturer at the Malaysian Armed Forces Defence College from 1999-2003.
From : The Star 

A military cannot specifically equip itself and purpose itself towards a specific role or mission; it has to cover every possible eventuality. 

ONE of the chief problems in this country, and globally for that matter, is that the vast majority of people have very little idea of how military operations are really run. And it's not just due to what many call the Hollywood influence, but also even books, magazines and comics all focus on what is known as the “pointy end of the spear”, namely the combat aspects while ignoring the unglamorous but essential aspects of logistical, medical, administrative, engineering and transportation in the military. 

Understandably, such topics are dry and not as exciting as combat operations and equipment and hence the lack of material as such. But anyone who wants to comment on military operations and criticise why some things are done or not done, should understand wholly all of the other factors behind military operations before commenting.
I'm going to address three of the questions being posed publicly in regard to it. 

What use are our submarines when they cannot prevent the Lahad Datu incursion? 

The first thing anyone needs to understand is that militaries are multi-mission organisations. They have equipment for any eventuality, ranging from a full-scale war to border incursions or humanitarian assistance and disaster relief among others. 

The Royal Malaysian Navy's (RMN) submarines are not suited for the role of preventing border incursions, but they do play a key role in other tasks and missions. The RMN doesn't much like to talk about what its submarines actually do as navy chief Admiral Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar sees maintaining operational security on our submarines activities as vital. And before anyone starts screaming “cover up”, just remember every nation in the world generally keeps the operational activities of their submarines a secret. 

All I can say on the role of the RMN's submarines is for anyone to look at the history of submarine operations and you will get an idea of what our submarines are for. Every piece of military equipment has specific roles and while the trend is towards multipurpose platforms, sometimes there are missions that a platform is not suited for.

The RMN's CB90 combat boats are great for chasing down pirates and border raiders. But put those boats up against a frigate in a war and the CB90s will be blown out of the water. Likewise, a submarine isn't much use for preventing border raiders, but they are the perfect tool for sinking any ship from a frigate to an aircraft carrier. The point is that a military cannot specifically equip itself and purpose itself towards a specific role or mission.

It has to cover every possible eventuality and thus there is always a situation where there will be some part of the military inventory that will not be of much use in a particular situation. 

Why do we use AirAsia commercial aircraft to ferry soldiers to Sabah. Does the RMAF have no aircraft?

First, the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) does have aircraft to transport troops. But bear in mind that like all air forces, the RMAF has a finite number of aircraft. 

The RMAF has 14 C-130 Hercules, each of which can carry around 90 soldiers, assuming all aircraft are available, which is always never the case in any military since some aircraft may be down for maintenance or be tasked for other missions. This means we have a lift capability of 1,260 troops in one go. 

Now we know that the military has moved anywhere from two to five battalions of troops from Peninsular Malaysia to Lahad Datu (one battalion has around 700 soldiers). So if you do the math and look even at a minimum number of two battalions totalling 1,400 soldiers, we are short of aircraft. Yes, we can fly multiple flights, but the issue is time and getting the soldiers there quickly, and hence the Government charters AirAsia, with which it has a standard arrangement for such contingencies. 

The use of such charters isn't unusual. The United States and other countries also carry out the same usage of civilian aircraft for transporting large number of troops. Some will now ask why we do not have enough aircraft. But bear in mind the number of transport aircraft a country possesses is a trade-off on economy. 

An air force has to also spend on other aircraft and equipment. At the same time, each aircraft entails a support requirement of maintenance personnel and parts. By using AirAsia, the RMAF's C-130s are free to transport other things such as the Condor armoured personnel carriers, which you cannot put on any ordinary plane. The RMAF is also transporting other crucial equipment and other necessities such as food and water. 

Why do we need so many troops, don't we have enough in Sabah? 

The security forces are conducting a sweep- and-cordon operation, which naturally entails having a lot of manpower. In addition, while we have troops in Sabah, they have to maintain their own positions and tasks. It would be foolish for the country to pull troops away from current positions and tasks in Sabah and send them to Lahad Datu when we do not know if additional militants will show up elsewhere in the state. 

Furthermore, there is a need to secure other parts of Sabah, even more so in light of the current situation, and hence the additional deployment of troops.

08 March, 2013

Lahad Datu: It’s high time to clean up our act and stop taking things for granted

By WONG CHUN WAI in Lahad Datu 

JUST 50km outside Lahad Datu, one has to pass through Silabukan, which has a picturesque coastline. On a clear day, one can see a mass of land which is part of the Tawi-Tawi islands off the Philippines. Bongao Island, the capital, is clearly visible. Originally a backwater village, Bongao, where the majority of the population is Muslim, is rapidly developing. It takes only 20 minutes by speedboat for the Filipinos to reach our shores. 

That's how close we are physically. But there is also another dimension to our close proximity. The locals are fond of telling outsiders that it is normal for their Filipino relatives to come to Malaysia for a game of football or volleyball, and then return to the Philippines on the same day. Obviously we are not even talking about clearing Immigration. The Filipino influence on our side is so strong that some of the grocery shops are referred to as “sari-sari”. 

At the Danggan Tungku fishing village, one can look across and see Sibutu, which is also part of the Tawi-Tawi islands. From where I stood, the villagers were talking excitedly about the fighter jets bombing Kg Tanduo. I arrived in this east coast Sabah town yesterday as the Malaysian police and army continued their mop-up operations after a massive attack on Tuesday.

The waters of the Sulu Sea and Sulawesi Sea have always been a dangerous area, well-known for piracy. The pirates not only prey on fishermen but also huge container ships. They are reportedly well-armed and use high-speed motorboats. 

But there are also more dangerous elements the host of Muslim radicals fighting for an independent Mindanao Islamic state being one of them. Their long history includes kidnapping of tourists and attacks on Sabahan towns. In 1996, Semporna was attacked twice, which included an assault on its police station by 10 to 20 pirates armed with M-16 rifles.

In 2000, Abu Sayyaf militants arrived on the Sipadan resort island and kidnapped 21 people comprising tourists and resort workers, for ransom. Lahad Datu is located in the Tawau division. It's an hour's flight from Kota Kinabalu, some 400km away. Many orang semenanjung, as the locals call Malaysians from the peninsular, may have heard of this place but would have trouble pinpointing its location.

On Feb 11, heavily armed militants arrived in Lahad Datu and took over the village of Kg Tanduo. Inevitably, the whole world then came to know about this place. The Sabah attacks have also provided history and geographical lessons for Malaysians. Most of us are learning, for the first time, about the lesser-known ethnic groups that exist in Malaysia, like Bajau, Bisaya, Kadazan Dusun, Murut, Dumpas, Illanun, Kwijau, Maragang, Orang Cocos, Orang Sungai, Rungus and of course, Tausug or the Suluks.

It would even surprise many Malaysians, who have only read about the controversial Project IC to naturalise the foreigners in the 1980s, that many Filipinos who settled in Sabah came from as far back as the Chinese from the southern seas. 

In fact, in the 1970s, when the late Tun Mustapha was chief minister, he allowed more Filipinos, fleeing the fighting in the Philippines, to settle in Sabah. But it is also this familiarity and even possible ties with their local kin that might have given the intruders the advantage. 

According to military intelligence sources, they knew the terrain around the village well. The conclusion is that they had visited the area before and were well acquainted with the heavy undergrowth and foliage in the hilly terrain. The team of six Malaysian policemen which walked into a group of 30 intruders, which had used a white flag as a ruse, were surrounded and shot at by two snipers. Two of the Malaysians died. 

About 130km away, where the Semporna water village is located, there are at least 300 homes on stilts and some have been suspected to provide support for these terrorists, who killed six other Malaysian security personnel in another encounter. These Filipinos showed no mercy, beheading two of our men, and carrying out extremely cruel, gruesome acts on our men before killing them. They also gouged out the eyes of one of their victims. It is the fanaticism in these intruders, with their readiness to die for their cause, which has startled our authorities. 

But there is an expensive, if not, painful lesson, to learn from here. The Sabah coastal line is porous but the reality is that we have exposed our lax security along our coast. This is not the first time, but unfortunately this is also the worst security crisis in years. The authorities' mantra of assuring Malaysians that “all is well and under control” will only be greeted with cynicism unless we take a really concerted and serious effort to beef up our maritime security along the coast. 

We need to invest well to guard our 4,675km of coastline and our waters (including the Exclusive Economic Zones claimed) of 574,000sq km. The fact is that the waters that Malaysia has to maintain security and sovereignty over are nearly twice the size of peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak combined. That's not all, the distance between the peninsula and the two states is about 1,200km. The intrusions have shown how vulnerable we are when facing external threats. 

This time, the intruders were a rag-tag but well-trained team of rebels. A full-fledged conventional military attack would be more worrisome. We cannot take for granted that Malaysia is free from any external threat.

We have been blessed with peace and stability but the wake-up call has been sounded. In fact, the alarm bells are ringing out loud. Let's clean up our act we owe it to our fallen heroes who have sacrificed their lives for the nation. Don't let their deaths be in vain.

04 March, 2013


Rumah Anak Yatim Kampung Che Bema, (Rumah Nur Assadikin)
Lot. 1717, KaMpung Che Bema, Sg. Layar, 08000 Sg. Petani, Kedah Darul Aman. Tel : 019 480 2907 Fax : 04 421 4998 akan mengadakan: