FORCEFUL RESPONSE: Strike by army and police sends a message to terrorists.
LAHAD DATU: THE attack against the Sulu terrorists yesterday marked the first collaboration between the police and the armed forces in recent decades to protect the the country's sovereignty.
Called Ops Daulat, the strike sent a strong message against any party threatening the security of Malaysians.
In a joint press conference by Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, both said this was the response Malaysians have been waiting for.
"Our patience was tested to the limit. We will not take our security and sovereignty for granted," said Zahid.
He gave an assurance that the security forces will remain on full alert and urged the people in Sabah to have confidence in them.
"Do not listen to rumours.
"This operation is focused on a few 'hot' zones and if there are to be any intrusions the armed forces and the police will be on full alert."
Zahid said there have been many postings on the social media, most of which had created confusion among the public.
"We have checked all of it and we are closely monitoring it."
Yesterday's operation saw the government putting to full use some of its key assets such as three F/A-18D Hornet and five Hawk 208 fighter jets.
More than 2,000 armed forces and police personnel were involved in the operation which began at 7am.
Zahid also expressed his gratitude for the understanding given by Philippine President Benigno Aquino on his stand against the group.
He said the Sulu terrorists who make up a small number in their country and Sulu people in Sabah were different.
"There are Sulu people in Sabah who are Malaysians with Sulu lineage, or those who are permanent residents, but this action is focused on terrorists who came from Sulu."
He also assured displaced villagers that their welfare will be looked into by the ministries and the National Security Council.
"Their daily needs will be looked into, we do not want them to suffer for a long period," Zahid added.
Hishammuddin said the government wanted to avoid any loss of lives and bloodshed but as they waited, monitored and probed the incident, the situation became a threat and the decision to strike was made.
The Foreign ministry had also helped from the start of the standoff to resolve the problem.
"This operation is not over and we will continue what we have started," the home minister added.
Security forces members heading for Felda Sahabat 17. Pic by Osman Adnan