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Zahid: Stop Politicising Sarawak Hostages Issue

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KUCHING: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has warned all political parties not to manipulate and politicise the recent kidnapping of four Malaysian crewmen when campaigning in the state elections.

Zahid, who is also Home Minister, also hit out at DAP for suggesting in its ceramah that the authorities are not taking appropriate measures to secure the sailors’ release.

“It gives the wrong impression. It is as if the police are not working (towards securing the release of the sailors),” he told reporters after attending a gathering with Rela members at Margretta longhouse in Julau on Tuesday.

On April 1, four crewmen from a Malaysian tugboat were kidnapped by armed Filipino gunmen near Pulau Ligitan, off Semporna, in the east coast of Sabah.

Zahid said he was made to understand that some of the family members of the four victims had attended several ceramah hosted by DAP in Sarawak.

“The way DAP is using the family members as political capital is not welcome.

“The kidnapping is not a political issue. It is a security and humanitarian issue,” he said.

Zahid added that all parties that politicise the issue could jeopardise the efforts to secure the release of the sailors.

He said political parties should let the authorities handle the matter.

“The way DAP capitalises on the plight of the families will undermine negotiations.

“If the kidnappers feel pressured and decide not to release the four victims, DAP should be held responsible.

“Give the authorities the chance to carry out their job,” he said.

On a separate matter, Zahid said Rela should always strive to be on the front line with the security forces.

He also thanked them for their efforts in ensuring smooth state elections.

He also announced a RM400,000 allocation to upgrade roads heading towards the longhouse and another RM50,000 to repair the community hall in the area.

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