Bongbong Marcos set to fly to Malaysia after 2nd Sona
A day after his second State of the Nation Address (Sona) on July 24, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will embark on a state visit to Malaysia, his 14th trip abroad since he assumed office on June 30 last year, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Friday.
In a predeparture briefing, Ma. Teresita Daza, spokesperson for the DFA, said the President and first lady Liza Araneta-Marcos will travel to Malaysia from July 25 to July 27 upon the invitation of King Al-Sultan Abdullah.
During his three-day trip to the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) country, Mr. Marcos will meet with the King and hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim “to identify new areas of synergy between the two countries,” Daza said.
The President and his delegation, according to Daza, will also meet with prominent Filipino and Malaysian business leaders “to enhance bilateral trade and investment and to explore economic opportunities” for Filipinos. He will also meet with the Filipino community there to update them about his administration’s plans and programs for overseas Filipinos.
Daza said the President would be joined by Cabinet officials led by Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo and the Cabinet’s economic team.
A business delegation will join the President in Malaysia “as part of his trade and investment promotion” during the state visit, Daza said. He said the government was hopeful that the meeting with key Malaysian businessmen and business leaders would “generate investment pledges from Malaysian companies,” adding that Malaysia is the top 10 trading partner of the Philippines and the 22nd source of approved investments in the Philippines in 2022.
“As expected, the President will actively promote the Philippines as an attractive trade, investment and tourist destination,” she said.
While Daza said the newly signed Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) would likely be discussed during the meetings, she was unsure if the Sabah issue would be raised.
“Yes, it’s very safe to presume and assume; it’s very safe to assume that it will maybe be raised and promoted during this visit,” she said, referring to the MIF.
But when asked if the Sabah issue would be raised during the state visit, she said: “I don’t have a crystal ball in front of me, and it’s very difficult to preempt the discussion, so I have no comment on whether it will actually be discussed.”
In March this year, Mr. Marcos said he had an “in-depth” talk with Anwar on the Philippines and Malaysia’s territorial dispute over Sabah during their meeting in Malacañang.
In March last year, a French arbitration court ordered Malaysia to pay $14.92 billion to the heirs of the last Sulu sultan for its land lease violation, reigniting calls to the Philippine government for assert its claim over Sabah.