MANILA - Tausugs who have migrated to Sabah support the Malaysian government's all-out assault on the Sultanate of Sulu's followers who are claiming the territory, Malaysian officials claimed Tuesday.
Leaders of the Tausug migrants, who are called "suluk" in Malaysia, met with Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman on Tuesday to express their support, according to The Star Online.
"Although we are said to be from the same clan, our country, loyalty and support lies with Malaysia," Sabah Suluk Ethnic clan association secretary Mohd Zaki Harry Susanto said.
"We fully denounce what the intruders have done and brought to Sabah, they have intruded into our homeland and are very cruel and uncivilised people," he added.
More than 300,000 Tausugs live in Sabah.
Mohd Zaki said they consider themselves as Malaysians.
"We will not help them or support them in any way at all. This is our country and we want to maintain the peace and sovereignty," he said. "We want the intruders out and gone."
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Defense Minister Zahid Hamidi are calling the sultan's followers as "terrorists."
"All Malaysians should continue to give strong support to national warriors in the operation to end the intrusion by terrorists in Sabah," Najib said Tuesday, as quoted by state news agency Bernama.
Zahid said offensive "is targeted against Sulu terrorists."
"I hope our Sulu friends in Sabah and nationwide will be with the government," he added, referring to the Tausugs.
"The people of Sulu descent in the country particularly in Sabah should support the government's offensive against Sulu invaders," Zahid said.
He also promised that Kuala Lumpur will protect the interests Tausugs in Malaysia.