Malaysia’s Anwar back in PH, this time as head of government
MANILA, Philippines — Malaysian leader Anwar Ibrahim, a frequent visitor to the Philippines since his youth, returned to the country on Wednesday, this time as his country’s 10th prime minister.
Anwar, the first head of government to visit the country during the Marcos administration, arrived for a two-day official visit at about 4 p.m. and was officially received at Malacañang by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., a personal friend.
In their bilateral talks, the South China Sea dispute topped the agenda, particularly since both the Philippines and Malaysia are parties to the dispute.
“As immediate neighbors, the Philippines and Malaysia recognize the importance of maintaining peace and security in our region,” Marcos said.
For his part, Anwar said he and the president agreed that the “complex and sensitive” should involve the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), which both countries co-founded with Thailand in 1961 as the Association of Southeast Asia.
“We should try and engage and take the position at a multilateral level between Asean so that we have a comprehensive approach and achieve an amicable resolution to this outstanding problem,” Anwar said.
The prime minister also brought up Myanmar and expressed dissatisfaction at the Asean tradition of deferential noncriticism, saying the bloc should “resolve the outstanding issues which cannot be considered purely internal because it’s affecting the security and welfare of the region.”
Marcos thanked Malaysia for its contribution to the peace process in Mindanao and told Anwar “it’s the culmination of years of effort and sincerity amongst all parties, which will soon realize the dividends of peace.”
After a meeting the president described as “productive,” the visiting leader was feted with an official Palace banquet.
The prime minister is also set to receive on Friday an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of the Philippines which he frequented in his youth to confer with renowned Muslim scholar Cesar Adib Majul.
Anwar has expressed admiration for Jose Rizal, whom he described as a “true Renaissance man,” and devoted much scholarship to the Philippine hero’s works and teachings.
When he was imprisoned on charges of corruption and sodomy — both of which he slammed as fabricated — Anwar said he drew strength in prison by reading the Quran and Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, which he claimed to have read six times.
Marcos: PM Anwar visit rekindles old friendship and old bond
Marcos, Malaysian PM Anwar Ibrahim meet in Malacañang
Malaysia vows continuing support for Mindanao peace, aid to Bangsamoro
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