On 16th July 2012, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim flew to Jakarta to meet Nur Misuari -- who is very close to Anwar since the days when Anwar was in the government -- and the military commanders of the MNLF. The meeting was held in the Crowne Plaza Jakarta hotel and was arranged by an Indonesian Member of Parliament -- another close friend of Anwar -- at the behest of Anwar. A second meeting was held in Manila on 4th August 2012 to finalise and seal the agreement.
Raja Petra Kamarudin
I wrote about this matter eight years ago back in 2005. However, many of you were probably not yet readers of Malaysia Today in 2005 so you most likely did not read what I wrote then.
For those of you who can remember what I wrote, it was a very long story indeed but basically it was about the links between the Muslim leaders in the Malaysian government and the Muslim leaders in the Philippines and the role that Malaysia played in the ‘internal affairs’ of the Philippines.
Most Malaysians do not understand the difference with Sulus, MNLF, MILF and Abu Sayyaf -- as they do not know the difference between the PLO and Hamas. Nevertheless, let me simplify it by saying that they are all merely splinter or rival groups of the Muslims in the Philippines who are seeking self-determination, just like the Palestinians in the Middle East are. And Malaysia, being a Muslim country, sympathises with the Muslims of the Philippines -- as it does with the Muslims of Southern Thailand -- and is helping in any way it can to resolve both the Philippines and Southern Thailand issues.
Along the way, however, something went wrong. As I had written in 2005, certain promises were made that were not delivered. And this has a bearing on the Sabah ‘IC issue’ (you do not need a RCI for me to tell you that). And that resulted in the Sipidan hostage crisis and the involvement of Libya in helping to eventually resolve the crisis after many months of deadlock.
A reported RM50 million changed hands to secure the release of the hostages, the cost which Libya underwrote. Of course, no one is going to admit to this although they will not be able to explain how and why the hostages were eventually released.
But all that happened decades ago. We are talking about the start of the crisis in 1970, when many of you were not even born yet, and the hostage crisis 30 years later in 2000. Since then everything has been very quiet -- that is until last year when this whole thing was resurrected in preparation for the coming general election.
And this was what happened recently.
Anwar's and Nur Miusari's links go way back to the time Anwar was in government
On 16th July 2012, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim flew to Jakarta to meet Nur Misuari -- who is very close to Anwar since the days when Anwar was in the government -- and the military commanders of the MNLF. The meeting was held in the Crowne Plaza Jakarta hotel and was arranged by an Indonesian Member of Parliament -- another close friend of Anwar -- at the behest of Anwar.
A second meeting was held in Manila on 4th August 2012 to finalise and seal the agreement. Anwar flew to Manila on flight MH 704 and if you were to check these flight details you can confirm that Anwar did make this trip, as he did the trip to Jakarta just two weeks or so earlier.
In that meeting, Anwar told Misuari that he needs the latter’s help to win the coming general election. Pakatan Rakyat was confident of winning at least 82-85 of the 165 seats in West Malaysia. It was the 57 seats in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan that he was not confident of winning.
Pakatan Rakyat needs to win at least 30 of those 57 East Malaysian seats to be able to form the federal government with an extremely slim but comfortable enough majority. (Anwar can always increase this majority later with crossovers from Barisan Nasional once they form the government). And for that to happen Anwar needs the support of the Muslims in East Malaysia, in particular in Sabah, many of them Filipino Muslims with Malaysian citizenship and voting rights.
Anwar promised Misuari that in the event Pakatan Rakyat takes over the federal government, Sabah and Sarawak would be given autonomy, as what they had been fighting for over 42 years since 1970. These two East Malaysian states would also be given 20% oil royalty, an increase of 15% from the current 5%. This would ensure that these two states would become very wealthy -- an estimated RM4 billion a year for each state.
Furthermore, all the non-Malaysian Filipinos in East Malaysia would be given Malaysian citizenship -- or at the very minimum permanent resident status -- so that they could seek employment in Sabah. Jobs for them will also be assured.
Nur Misuari agreed to these terms and subsequently appointed Haji Ibrahim Omar as the MNLF coordinator or ‘unofficial ambassador’ to Sabah to help Anwar garner the support of the Filipino Muslims in that state.
And that was why the Malaysian government hesitated to take drastic action when trouble first emerged in Lahad Datu. The government knew that there was more than meets the eye in this whole episode although it was not too clear yet at that time how this incident fit in to the bigger scheme of things.
To leave things alone is certainly out of the question. But taking military action would only play into the hands of the conspirators and convince the Filipino Muslims in Sabah that they must unite behind Anwar to gain autonomy from the federal government.
Yes, the Lahad Datu incident was certainly a ‘wayang’, as the opposition claims. Very few Malaysians would deny that this is so. Many Malaysians are also convinced that there are certain ‘dalang’ behind this incident. What they do not know is: who is the dalang? Well, Malaysia Today has just revealed the untold story and I challenge the Malaysian government to deny the authenticity of what I have just revealed.
Another point to consider is whether the ‘war of words’ between the MNLF and MILF is another wayang. By perpetuating this conflict, which will result in the torpedoing of the peace process, this gives them an excuse for continuing the armed conflict. However, the relationship between the MNLF and the other splinter groups does not appear as ruptured as what it shows behind the scenes, if the above photograph is anything to go by.
My conclusion to this whole thing is that there are many plots and sub-plots and at the end of the day we really do not know who is playing whom.
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