Philippines wants Malaysia to continue helping peace process in Mindanao

KLUANG: The Philippines wants Malaysia to continue playing an important role in helping resolve the peace process in Mindanao towards ensuring peace and stability in the region.

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the request was made by Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte himself at a bilateral discussion during his maiden official visit to Malaysia early last November.

“The peace process (in Mindanao) is important in the context of regional stability and peace, and our (Malaysia’s) contribution to this peace process and our leadership in the International Monitoring Team (IMT).

“Duterte had asked that we continue playing our role in the peace process and in leading the IMT,” he told reporters after officially opening Sekolah Agama Bukit Paloh, here, yesterday.

Hishammuddin said the request was repeated by the Philippine government to Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Johari Baharum and members of the IMT during Mohd Johari’s visit to the 11th IMT-Malaysia (IMT-M 11) headquarters in Mindanao on Jan 12.

“The Philippine government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) had asked that we continue leading the IMT in the peace process in Mindanao together with Brunei, Japan and the European Union to ensure that the southern Philippines would not become a hotspot or location for those (militants) who fled from Syria and Iraq,” he said.

The minister said he wanted the peace process to be smooth and be resolved soon so that the militants would not see Mindanao and southern Philippines as a potential base for them.

“Let us together pray that we will find a solution and ensure that no threats can be exploited by irresponsible parties, specifically in this region,” said Hishammuddin, who is also the MP for Sembrong.

Hishammuddin said with help of Duterte’s leadership, he could see a new injection in seeking a solution to the conflict while the MILF and MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front) were also directly involved, hence facilitating the IMT mission.

The Malaysia-led IMT is headed by Major General Datuk Zamrose Mohd Zain.

The IMT was established on Aug 24, 2004 to ensure that both sides abide by the ceasefire agreement. — Bernama

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