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KUALA LUMPUR: AS security forces work tirelessly at the frontline safeguarding the nation’s sovereignty, politicians should remain bipartisan in the face of national distress rather than bickering for a few mileage points.
In the light of the stand-off in Lahad Datu, Sabah, political analysts concurred that now was not the time for such petty politicking as seen in the exasperating blame game allegedly initiated by Parti Keadilan Rakyat vicepresident
Tian Chua, who had accused Umno of orchestrating the gun battle. Political scientist Datuk Dr Mohammad Agus Yusoff, of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), for one, refused to even comment on the unsavoury political reaction, saying that the Lahad Datu incident should not be politicised at all.
Although Tian Chua had clarified his stand on the matter, while reprimanding Umno “cybertroopers” for allegedly manipulating his statements, things do not bode well for the opposition coalition as its credibility in understanding the people’s sentiments has been severely eroded.
This, according to Malacca Universiti Teknologi Mara rector Associate Professor Dr Mohd Adnan Hashim, had exhibited the “precipitant mentality” of a political group with a thirst for stirring controversy that could never be truly sated.
The communications media expert said the opposition had fumbled in its reaction against a purported failure by the government to avert the crisis in an attempt to politicise just about everything.
"In my opinion, the opposition should stop looking for avenues to score points against their political rivals. Any right-thinking Malaysian would place the solidarity of their country first, rather than trying to benefit somehow from a crisis.
"(Pas spiritual leader) Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, however, has shown a rational reaction to what is happening in Sabah. But their (opposition parties') credibility is certainly affected by what was said (allegedly by Tian Chua)."
There should also be a "ceasefire" between political parties, as the manipulation of the Lahad Datu incident for political expediency was morally wrong, noted UKM's Professor Datuk Dr Shamsul Amri Baharuddin.
He said the country was now facing an encroaching enemy and many had died defending her honour. Shamsul said politicising the matter would be embarrassing to Malaysia.
"We must be bipartisan when reacting to this issue. Opposing views between political parties is a non-issue and should be disregarded, especially since many were killed in the defence of the country.
"Regardless of Barisan Nasional or Pakatan, it will be utterly immoral and embarrassing if any of the political parties tries to manipulate this issue."
The government, in its efforts to prevent bloodshed, had carried out its duties as humanely as possible by asking the terrorists to surrender peacefully, said Adnan.
"I also believe that any government in the world, would have done the same. At the same time, the people have also come to understand the reason behind the attempts made to diffuse the tension, without taking rash decisions."
Undoubtedly, the handling of the case had also rallied the people behind the government, said International Islamic University of Malaysia rector Professor Datuk Seri Dr Syed Arab Idid.
He said the people, conjoined by their nationalistic pride, had supported the government's move and the security forces in suppressing the intruders from causing further harm to their fellow countrymen.
Syed Arab said this was akin to the rousing support from the people during the Indonesian-Malaysian confrontation or Konfrontasi between 1962 and 1966, when an armed political movement made its way into Peninsular Malaysia to oppose the creation of Malaysia.
"The Konfrontasi, for example united the people against one common enemy. The people wholeheartedly agreed with the direction taken by the government.
"From media reports, it seems that the government has done right in dealing with the matter."