'Do not underestimate our forces'

Malaysian soldiers patrol the area around Kampung Tanduo, in Lahad Datu, Sabah state.

KOTA KINABALU, Malaysia - Security forces are closely monitoring information that another Sulu leader plans to enter Sabah in order to meet local political figures.

Sabah police commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib said that should the individual follow the proper channels of entry into Sabah, this would not be a problem.

"But if he threatens the security of the state, police will act accordingly.

"At the moment, we are keeping an eye on the individual (a senior leader of a Sulu group), who is planning to come to Malaysia to meet a political leader.

"As far as I am concerned, this individual can enter Malaysia legally as we are a free country and we do not stop people from coming here.

"However, if anyone tries to cause chaos or threaten us, we will not hesitate to take stern action," he told reporters after launching the second phase of a motorcycle patrolling unit at Taman Suria near Penampang here yesterday.

Hamza was commenting on a statement by Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar that a senior leader of a Sulu group was planning to enter Sabah.

The Sulu leader claimed that his group was not related to the one led by Agbimuddin Kiram, the brother of self-proclaimed Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram, which had intruded into Lahad Datu's coastal village of Tanduo on Feb 12 last year.

Hamza added that the police were ready to face any group that threatened the country's sovereignty.

"This is a warning. Do not try to cause chaos or underestimate our security forces as we are always ready to face any threat to protect our country," he said, adding that security forces under Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) were ready to defend the country.

He also said there had been information of possible intrusions by various groups since Tanduo but none had been successful since Malaysian forces had remained vigilant.