Malaysia has rejected Sultan Jamalul Kiram III's unilateral ceasefire, demanding that his men in Kampung Tanduo, Lahad Datu surrender unconditionally, said Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.
"Philippines President Benigno Aquino has asked me what is Malaysia's response to the offer for ceasefire.
"Our stance is they must lay down their arms unconditionally and surrender them to us," he told a press conference after being briefed on the ground situation at Felda Sahabat Residence this afternoon.
He urged the group who slipped through Sabah's borders and took over Kampung Tanduo on Feb 12 to do so as soon as possible.
Until then, Najib said Ops Daulat, a joint police-military operation to flush the militants out, will continue for as long as necessary.
"It will continue for as long as it takes until we eliminate them or they surrender," he said."
'Surrender or be destroyed'
Earlier, Defence Minister Zahid Hamidi had also taken to twitter in rejecting any possibility of reciprocating the unilateral ceasefire announced by Jamalul.
"The unilateral ceasefire is rejected by Malaysia, unless the militants surrender unconditionally.
"Do not trust the ceasefire offer by Jamalul Kiram. In the interests of the people of Sabah and Malaysia, destroy all the militants," he wrote on Twitter.
The "sultan" declared a unilateral ceasefire at 12.30pm and urged Malaysia to reciprocate, according to a statement read out by his spokesperson in Manila.
"They will not take any action. They will remain in the place where they are now.
"They will not expand operations," the spokesperson was quoted as saying, referring to the militants, believed to number between 100 and 300, in Malaysia's Sabah state.
Najib to UN: We've already negotiated
Meanwhile, Najib also responded to UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon's call yesterday for the conflict to be resolved through dialogue.
"That was exactly why we did not launch the assault for three weeks with four rounds of extensions (for negotiations to have the group to return to Philippines peacefully).
"It is only after eight of our police men were killed that we began to launch the attack," he said.
As such, Najib said Malaysia had upheld the principles of human rights.
However, he reiterated that the intruders must now surrender unconditionally.
- Politics & Government