Zahid: Duterte’s visit ‘a new chapter’
> Influx of Filipinos among issues to be discussed with Philippine leader
LONDON: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit this week would open a new chapter in Malaysia’s efforts in resolving issues involving Mindanao, the influx of Filipinos into Sabah and security.
Malaysia’s role as a third party in finding a solution to issues besieging the southern Philippines, particularly Mindanao, is important because although Malaysia’s efforts through its facilitator, (the late) Tengku Datu Abdul Ghafar Tengku Mohamed was acknowledged by the past Philippine leadership, it could not be executed conclusively, Bernama reported.
“So, President Duterte’s meeting with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak tomorrow will be an undertaking to determine whether the Bangsamoro Transition Commission can be implemented,” he told Malaysian journalists here.
Ahmad Zahid, who arrived on a five-day visit to the United Kingdom on Monday, said the prospects for Malaysia to continue playing the role appears bright. He said Filipinos, under their new leadership, would be more open to the involvement of other quarters.
He expressed hope the agreements that had been signed between the Philippine government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front chairman Murad Ebrahim would involve parties of interest, including minority groups in the southern Philippines.
“It will indirectly resolve the issue of undocumented Filipinos in Sabah as proposed in the Royal Commission of Inquiry (on illegal immigrants in Sabah).”
“I am confident this visit will resolve many issues, aside from security matters in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone, which has a coastline of about 1,700km under the Eastern Sabah Security Command.
“A number of diplomatic questions, particularly involving Sabah, would inevitably be discussed. I see that President Duterte has a very proactive view in finding solutions to the long-standing dilemma between Malaysia and the Philippines,” he said.