MANILA, Philippines—Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario on Friday asked Kuala Lumpur to extend its deadline for followers of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III to leave Sabah as both Malaysia and the Philippines still hoped for a peaceful end to the standoff.
In a brief interview, Del Rosario said he phoned Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman Friday morning to ask for an extension of Friday’s deadline by four more days as the Philippine government continued to negotiate a pullout from Sabah of Kiram’s followers with his family.
“I’ve spoken to the foreign minister this morning. I called him because the effort to have the Filipinos withdraw from Sabah on a peaceful basis is still a work in progress,” Del Rosario said in a brief interview with reporters.
“And even as we’re talking to the family, we’re quite not there yet. I’ve asked him for another extension and I think they’re considering it and they’re supposed to come back to me this afternoon,” said Del Rosario.
Malaysia had given Kiram’s group of some 100 men, led by his brother Raja Muda Azzimudie Kiram, until Friday to peacefully leave Sabah as its military tightened the noose around the “intruders.”