Ex-Deputy Home Minister: Let the authorities handle recent kidnapping case

Datuk Masir Kujat

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Dec 24: Sri Aman MP Datuk Masir Kujat opines that it is best to leave the recent kidnapping case involving Indonesian soldiers to the relevant authorities because unnecessary interference may jeopardise the lives of the victims.

Masir, who is a former Deputy Home Minister, said he did not have details about the case despite being a Sri Aman MP.

“As far as I know, it happened earlier this month. However, I have no full report on it, and I think it would be best to leave the investigation and negotiation to the relevant authorities.

“Any unnecessary and unwise intervention may jeopardise the whole situation, including endangering the lives of those who were kidnapped,” Masir told DayakDaily today.

He was asked to comment on an incident that happened on Dec 11, where five Sarawakians were allegedly held at gunpoint by Indonesian soldiers who had allegedly encroached into the Malaysian border.

It was believed that the five, aged between 15 and 64, were harvesting wood at the Wong Rangkai forest near Kampung Danau Melikin, some 400m from the Serian-Kalimantan border on Dec 11 when they were accosted by two men in battle fatigues, who accused them of stealing wood from Indonesia.

The five were then taken to their base. Of the five, three were held overnight by the soldiers, while two, who are brothers, were released at about 4pm with a task. They were allegedly told to inform the families of the hostages to hand over RM10,000 plus two new chainsaws that very night (Dec 11). They were also warned not to alert the Malaysian army or other Malaysian authorities.

The duo, however, took a gamble and went straight to the Balai Ringin military camp. This eventually led to the release of the remaining hostages.

Masir said due to the lack of details, such as whether the five Sarawakians involved did encroach into Indonesian territory or the other way round, he was not even sure of the whole story.

“So, I can’t really come out with a response, as we are not even sure if it happened in Sarawak or on the other side. This is what has to be determined first.

“If it were the case that Sarawkians encroached into their land, then there was every reason for them to be detained. But, of course, asking for ransom would be totally wrong.

“However, if it were the soldiers who came over to kidnap our Sarawakians, then this is a more serious matter. In any case, this is a case that needs the attention of both countries,” he emphasised.

Masir added that the actual activities that were carried out by the five Sarawakians deep in the jungle also needed to be looked into.

“Were they collecting timber for building longhouses? If this is the case, then there is nothing wrong. But if they were to collect timber for sale, then what they were doing is also illegal in Sarawak,” he said. — DayakDaily