Hisham queries Mat Sabu on the abduction of Indonesian fishermen

Modified 24 Jan 2020, 1:15 am

Former defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein has chided his successor Mohamad Sabu (above) for keeping mum over any initiative to strengthen the Trilateral Cooperative Arrangement (TCA) following the kidnapping of Indonesian fishermen in the waters off Sabah recently.

"It has been two years since Mat (Mohamad) Sabu helmed Mindef. Why is there still no new development or effort to strengthen the TCA initiative?

"It's okay if you don't like the initiative started by Barisan Nasional, but please tell what is Pakatan Harapan's plan to beef up the security, especially in the Sabah waters?

"I have asked (about this) many times in Parliament and social media, but (he) never responded," Hishamuddin said in a Facebook post yesterday.

Hishammuddin's criticism came after the Indonesian government lambasted the purportedly ineffective coordination of Malaysian authorities following last week's kidnapping of five Indonesian fishermen in the Sabah waters by militants linked to the Abu Sayyaf group.

Subsequently, the Ministry of Defence issued a statement highlighting the trilateral cooperation among Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines in safeguarding the Sulu waters.

Hishammuddin said the TCA comprised a Trilateral Maritime Patrol and Trilateral Air Patrol.

Hishammuddin also questioned if the defence minister has met with or contacted his Indonesian counterpart on the kidnappings.

"Two days after the Indonesian government criticised our security forces, the minister has yet to inform whether he has met or contacted his Indonesian counterpart to ease the situation.

"Malaysia's image is tarnished in the eyes of the world," he said.

Malaysiakini has contacted Mohamad Sabu's aide, who said that a response would be issued on the matter.

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