Epic fail: Philippine and Malaysian govts continue to botch the handling of the Sabah crisis

The fighting in Malaysia’s Sabah province could be turning into a massive humanitarian crisis the likes of which the otherwise prosperous region hasn’t seen in decades. As sketchy reports of abuses perpetrated by Malaysian security forces allegedly purging the state of Filipino nationals get traded amongst “concerned” individuals on the Net, the Philippine government has issued its strongest statement (as far as Philippine government statements on the matter go) to the Malaysian government so far…

The Philippine Foreign Affairs Department said in a statement that it “views with grave concern” Philippine news reports alleging Filipinos have been rounded up in Lahad Datu, the coastal district where the gunmen are believed to be hiding, and other Sabah areas.

“The allegations are alarming and should be properly and immediately addressed by concerned authorities,” the statement said.


Part of the problem stems from a lack of transparency around the events unfolding in the Sabah crisis which had severely degenerated over the last several weeks following an incursion into Malaysian territory by the “royal army” of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, claimant to the throne of the Sultanate of Sulu. This lack of transparency seems to be a result of a reluctance on the part of the Malaysian government to disclose authoritative updates on their police operations against the intruders and a lack of international media coverage on the ground.

Evidence is mounting that the situation in Sabah is far from being “under control”. The Philippine government is reportedly having to start to deal with a steady stream of refugees fleeing the violence…

[…] Philippine authorities continued to receive Filipinos fleeing from the conflict in Sabah, intercepting lately at least 130 more refugees on board a motorboat in the waters of Tawi-Tawi, reports reaching the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) leadership in Cotabato City said yesterday.

The reports quoted Lt. Commander Lawrence Roque, commander of the Philippine Coast Guard station in Bongao, as saying that the latest refugees – mostly women, children and the elderly – were taken off Taganak Island, also known as Turtle Island, near Sandakan, Sabah.

The refugees were escorted to Bongao, the capital of Tawi-Tawi, where they were assisted by Task Force Tabang, which was formed to help civilians displaced by the hostilities in Sabah, according to ARMM’s social welfare and development officials.

They claimed to have escaped from Sabah for fear that they would be rounded up by Malaysian security forces reportedly raiding houses of residents with Filipino-sounding surnames.

Up to 800,000 Philippine nationals currently reside in Sabah, many of whom trace their ancestry to Tausug tribes who once formed the vast majority of the subjects of the Sultanate of Sulu. Armed operations against the Filipinos by Malaysian security forces have continued and have even been stepped up after calls for a ceasefire coming from Kiram were rejected by Kuala Lumpur last week. But the ethnic ties of many Sabahans with southern Filipinos have complicated things for the Malaysian armed forces. Reports abound of reenforcements coming from groups left out of the loop in a peace deal brokered by Kuala Lumpur between Manila and the militant Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) coming to the aid of the intruders in Sabah.

According to a report by Philippine Defence Secretary Voltaire T Gazmin to Malaysian Defence Minister said Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, the Philippine Navy has poured more resources into a naval blockade to stem the flow of assistance to the Sabah intruders coming from Mindanao…

[Hamidi] said the Philippine government had launched an operation to prevent residents from the Sulu Islands to cross over to Sabah.

Malaysia appreciates the effort done by Philippine government, he told reporters after opening a carnival organised by Barisan Nasional (BN) and Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in Gopeng here today.

The crisis is a stark reminder to the Malaysian and Philippine governments of the failure of their politicians to take a long and broad view of what is at stake for the people most impacted by the upheaval. Successive Philippine presidencies, for one, have sat on the issue of the Philippine claim on Sabah for decades. The Malaysian government, for their part, have allegedly been providing logistical and training support to armed Islamic rebels in Mindanao since the 1970s which, in an ironic karmic twist, now finds them having to deal with elements amongst the intruders who are familiar with the Sabahan terrain. And, more recently, the much-hyped “framework agreement” brokered by Kuala Lumpur that would’ve paved the way for peace between the MILF and Manila left key stakeholders out of the loop.


Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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48 Comments on "Epic fail: Philippine and Malaysian govts continue to botch the handling of the Sabah crisis"

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P-noy is as predictable as a pulse asia survey. The die was cast when the sultan was left out of the peace talks, compounded by the arrogance of malacanan, and finally exacerbated by p-noy’s naivete, sheer incompetence and ostrich syndrome. Only him and his interns could make a crisis out of something which others saw coming a mile off. So much for a huge intelligence fund. Better to spend it on what it was meant for rather than senator bribes and electioneering. Caught yet again with his pants down. Only this time just with himself. Excuses and conspiracy red herrings… Read more »
Thomas Jefferson
I saw the headlines from the Philippine Star dated March 11, 2013. The article title is ‘Even women, children targeted in Sabah’ Here is the excerpt: “DAVAO CITY- Tawi-Tawi has been overwhelmed by refugees who have fled Sabah amid horror stories of Malaysian forces targeting even pregnant women and children in a security crackdown. Small boats have been docking in Tawi-Tawi, loaded with refugees fleeing the crackdown. A worker who asked not to be named said even pregnant women and children who were long-time residents of Sabah have been hunted down and killed as the Malaysians fire mortars and embark… Read more »
Johnny Derp

It seems that aquino is now deep in yellow colored shit thanks to his continued bungling. The yellow trolls and apologists are in trouble now since their propaganda can’t hide the fact that aquino has blundered yet again.

Thomas Jefferson

@Johnny Derp

I wonder… Who gave the extremist policy advisory to the Malaysians to commence genocide and “voluntary” ethnic cleansing in Sabah?


You wonder who wipes p-noy’s ar$e now that mummy is not around.
By his age he should be potty trained and not blame everyone else for his incontinence, and incompetence.

Another fiasco today with comelec appointments. All par for the course. Sh!t everywhere and p-noy in hiding. Pathetic little wimp.

Let us all wake and understand better, who is better than the 2 evils. Ask ourself a simple question, is this so-called “sultan” recognized as such In our country? Which territory does he Control In our country, the philippines? Under what law was he appointed “sultan”? I didn’t know, Phillipine have have this system of Monarchy governemnt. Which provinces are placed under the charge of hereditary “sultans”! When we adopt this wierd system where you have sultans and governors ruling the provinces. How much monetary emolument does this “sultan” receive from the philippine govt? My point is: if we do… Read more »

as long as Filipinos delude themselves into thinking that we could reverse 50 years of history of self-determination, and that a pretender to the sultanate is the key to “retaking” Sabah, we can’t ever move on. Pnoy might have committed a lot of mistakes, but the spoiled brat of philippine society didn’t give anyone any choice, and the President took the unpopular but brave act of calling the terrorists’ bluff. any blame should fall on Kiram and those behind him.

Hyden Toro

It’s a crissis that Aquino cannot handle. Now, he is hiding again….in fear….more tranquilizer, he is taking now…


the business links exposed today between cojuangco, ang and malaysia specifically in the oil, gas and airline deals could explain a lot regarding the malacanan desire to please malaysia more than its own people

Thomas Jefferson

Here is more truth for the yellow trolls who love the repeat the big lie principle… From the Manila Times:



Just as I figured, the followers of the Sultan are getting whacked, by the Malayasians! All of you who think Aquino is an idiot, think again! He got a foreign gov’t> 2 do what he could not be seen doin? and , of course, he is full of shit too!!! but everyone already knew that!
The price of peace in Mindanao, STRANGE, HUH? not really….predictable more like it!

Thomas Jefferson


You are obviously confused. Go back to your yellow master. Like you… he is into blame games. He also likes to protect Malaysia and not the Philippine claim. Duh, did he ever protect our Filipino people in Sabah?

Thomas Jefferson

An urgent aside… BS Aquino wants the return of Jose Maria Sison in the Philippines. From the Philippine Star(Headlines page 2):