Zahid: Duterte’s visit ‘a new chap­ter’

> In­flux of Filipinos among is­sues to be dis­cussed with Philip­pine leader

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

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.

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