Written by Mazida Desa

The 2013 Lahad Datu standoff was a military clash that began on 11th February 2013 and finished on 24th March 2013. The standoff emerged after 235 activists were armed, touched by pontoons in Lahad Datu, Sabah. The gathering, calling themselves the “Imperial Security Forces of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo”, was sent by Jamalul Kiram III, one of the inquirers to the royal position of the Sultanate of Sulu.


Local Media : Astro Awani

Astro Awani (Channel 501) is a 24-hour news channel number one in Malaysia. They publish news bulletins, business and sports all day from Kuala Lumpur city centre, with a network of experienced journalists throughout Malaysia. Astro Awani was launched on 6th September 2007 together with the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Malaysia’s independence. Astro Awani is the in-house rolling news and current affairs television channel providing 24-hour news coverage including news in Malay. With its slogan and motto tagline, News that transcends Dimensions (Malay: All the News Dimension), Astro Awani presents news and informative programs including current affairs, lifestyle, documentaries, interview programs and local and international magazine.

International Media : Reuters

Reuters /ˈrɔɪtərz/ is an international news agency headquartered in Canary Wharf, London,United Kingdom and is a division of Thomson Reuters. The Reuter agency was established in 1851 by Paul Julius Reuter in Britain at the London Royal Exchange. Paul Reuter worked at a book-publishing firm in Berlin and was involved in distributing radical pamphlets at the beginning of the Revolutions in 1848.



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Propaganda is any misleading and bias information which is to promote or publicise a particular political party or any point of view. Two of the alternative media that has been chosen to compare the propaganda of MH17 news is Berita Harian online and BBC news online. Awani news propaganda involves small incident in which they reported the entry of Philippine rebels discovered by some fishermen and has entered several locations in the village. This is a small issue is that may be created to make the story more sensational. Compared to Reuters news, they begin by describing the news about how the Malaysian military against rebels stormed the camp of armed groups. In addition, Awani news also reported that it was not reasonable, as the rebel group is composed of individuals who are malnourished whereas the elderly in sarongs and slippers are mostly unarmed. It is said to be not logic because if they attack Lahad Datu with such external, then why the people are feeling threatened and insecure? While the Reuters press clearly stated the gunman was still at large and were not captured. The rest were suspected to be linked with Anwar Ibrahim who was accused of being involved in the rebellion.

Reuter had been associating it with a riot case affects investment in Sabah where it will draw back investors’ interest. After the issue was being analyzed, it clearly showed that it does not affect Sabah until such time as the issues related to the invasion of the heirs of the Sulu Sultanate asking for their rights. According to Awani news, they assumed that the Philippine government is letting the issue go and leaving the fate of Sulu in the hands of the military forces of Malaysia. News Awani Malaysia reported a police officer was killed by an attacker with a heartbreaking situation. This news could not be identified the authenticity of conflict Lahad Datu because the murder was not being reported and they did not give the details of the murder case. Reuters has also added news by associating it with Islamic rebels in the news where there is no direct relationship with the uprising in Lahad Datu. As explained previously, the purpose of this revolt is the heir of the Sulu Sultanate that demands their rights in land in Sabah.

Timeline of the Issue

The chronology of the cases is extracted from various sources from local media. Starting on February 9 the intruder entered using a boat and assembled in stages starting from Felda Sahabat 17, Kampung Tanduo, Lahad Datu and end of March 2 the body of Inspector Zulkifli Mamat and Corporal David Sabarudin were killed in a battle with a group of armed intruders in Lahad Datu. They arrived at the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Subang at about 12.43pm. Inspector Zulkifli Mamat was buried in the cemetery in Kampung Gong Bayor, Jertih Corporal David Sabarudin was buried at the Muslim cemetery in Kampung Masjid Sungai Makmuriah Lias, Owerri.



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Image credit: Reuters Image source


I think the most important lesson that Malaysia must learn from the standoff in Lahad Datu is the weakness of our border defence. Like other Malaysians, I’m very concerned with the speculation that Lahad Datu standoff used whereby it was just an excuse by a desperate government to declare emergency for fear of losing the coming elections.