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World | National

Najib to visit Lahad Datu conflict zone; Malaysia might seek Sulu sultan's extradition

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (courtesy of
The online news portal of TV5

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is expected to visit the conflict zone in Lahad Datu today (Thursday), two days after the assault on Kampung Tanduo by Malaysian security forces.

"The Prime Minister wants to personally observe the ongoing Ops Daulat and also help lift the spirits of our boys -- the police and army," Defense Minister Zahid Hamidi said.

However, Zahid added at a press conference at Felda Sahabat Residence in Lahad Datu that the time and place of Najib's arrival would not be disclosed for safety reasons.

Asked if Najib would go down to ground zero, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein replied: "He will let us know."

Meanwhile, the official Malaysian news agency Bernama reported that despite the absence of an extradition treaty, Malaysia might ask the Philippines to extradite Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III to face charges of having “incited anger and hatred.”

The news agency quoted Foreign Minister Anifah Aman as saying on a television show that Kiram " has made statements that have incited anger and hatred. Does the Philippines have laws to bring him to justice?”

"If not, maybe we will ask the Philippines to hand him over to us," Anifah added.

He said the extradition proposal has been “put forward” to Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario.

Acknowledging the absence of an extradition pact between the two countries, Anifah said: "In the spirit of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), we can request for them to be brought here."

Nevertheless, the Malaysian minister said the two countries would seek the best legal means to deal with the crisis that has erupted after followers of Kiram went to Sabah to press their ancestral claim to the territory also known as North Borneo.

Asked whether the intruders caught would be charged in Malaysia or sent home, Anifah said: "This is subject to discussion. The president (of the Philippines) asked them to surrender and return home and the Philippine government pledged to take action in accordance with its laws.”

"If our police arrest them, we can also use our laws. When it happens, I and the Philippine Foreign Secretary will discuss to find the best way," he added.

(This report was first posted on independent news site Malaysiakini and is used here with permission.)