Malaysia not credible to host GPH-MILF peace talks – Princess Jacel

By | March 25, 2013

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 25 March) – The daughter of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III questioned the credibility of Malaysia to continue facilitating the peace talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), saying that by not giving up Sabah, Malaysia’s intention is clearly not for peace.

“After what Malaysia did to Filipinos, do you think Malaysia is credible to host the peace process?” Princess Jacel Kiram said in a press conference here Monday. But she said she did not have a country in mind to replace Malaysia.

“If their intention is for peace, then Malaysia should surrender Sabah. That’s the genuine peace,” she told reporters.

She pointed out that if Malaysia intended to bring peace in Mindanao by facilitating peace talks and “funding for peace matters” in the island, then Malaysia should stop maltreating the Filipinos in Sabah as they are the real owners of Sabah.

Jacel said the people in the Philippines will have peace if the people are economically stable and capable, which is not the case of the country today, adding that resource-rich Sabah is “the solution to the economic condition of the Filipinos.”


She said the peace process, the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) is another issue and that both panels should proceed if their intention is for peace. “But we also must consider that if Malaysia is really facilitating peace, they should return what is not theirs,” she added.

“They don’t have the right to cause maltreatment and injustices to our (fellow) Filipinos in Sabah,” she said in Pilipino.

Asked about the Sultanate’s stand on the GPH-MILF peace talks, Jacel said the Sultanate of Sulu is supportive, citing that her father was invited and went to Malacañang during the signing of the FAB last October 15.

“It shows that we respect the President,” she said. But she added that the Sultanate of Sulu is inherent in the peace talks and the government “should consult the people who will be affected” by the peace process.

Technical role

As a venue of the GPH-MILF peace talks, Malaysia’s role is only “technical,” lawyer Mary Ann Arnado, secretary general of the Mindanao People’s Caucus, told MindaNews in a rally calling for the resumption of talks last Monday at the Freedom Park here.

The MPC, along with the Peacebuilders Community, the United Youth for Peace and Development and Task Force Davao Agila, held a rally to pressure both panels to resume the peace talks.

She cited that the rally was a part of simultaneously protest actions with the ones in Metro Manila, and the cities of Cotabato, Iligan and Marawi.

Regardless of the talks’ venue, Arnado said what is important is that both parties have reached an understanding, adding that those who raised the issue on Malaysia’s hosting of the talks are bent on derailing the peace process in the light of Sabah issue.

She added that it is “very obvious” that there are forces who wanted to derail the peace talks.

She cited that interested groups or the “spoilers” of the peace talks, who are riding on the Sabah issue, include politicians in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Aquino’s opposition.

US supporting Kiram?

Arnado also mentioned that “we need to study deeper” the role of the United States (US) government in Sulu and Sabah as its armed troops are present in Sulu.

She wondered what could the agenda of the US be other than doing civic and humanitarian activities when “they have long been there.”

Jacel told reporters in the press conference that “no one is behind” the move of Raja Muda Agbimmudin Kiram, the brother of Sultan Kiram, and his followers to Lahad Datu, except the Sultanate of Sulu.

She cited that they contributed their own money to buy fuel for their pump boats in going to Sabah without support from any groups or individuals.

Had the US supported Raja Muda and his followers, Jacel said, there would have been thousands of men sailing to Sabah and they would be capable of attacking even Kuala Lumpur.

Influence, not judge

Rev. L. Daniel Alba Pantoja, president of the Peacebuilders Community, told MindaNews during the rally that instead of judging Malaysia, it should be influenced to continue its moral authority to host the GPH-MILF peace talks as “the story is not yet over.”

Although the peace talks did not resume as scheduled, he said, the civil society organizations are still hopeful that the peace process will continue.

Calling it as “a little bit of setback,” he said there is a pause in every crisis “to reflect” and for both parties “to listen to each other.” (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro / MindaNews)