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No Sabah talk when Aquino visits Malaysia this month

/ 03:21 PM February 19, 2014

President Benigno S. Aquino III INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III won’t be discussing the country’s claim on Sabah when he visits Malaysia by the end of the month. Instead, he will discuss peace, trade and commerce.

“Sabah was not part of the agenda,” Aquino said Wednesday after his inspection of the Estero de San Miguel project in Manila.

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The President, who will visit Kuala Lumpur on Feb. 27 and 28, said they would instead discuss trade and the government’s peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), especially livelihood opportunities for the residents of Mindanao.

However, Aquino said he would also ask about the situation of Filipinos arrested for their involvement in the Sabah standoff.

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Malaysia is the third-party facilitator for the peace talks between the Philippines and the MILF. Early last year, the late Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, heir to the Sulu Sultanate, sent his men to Lahad Datu to press their claim on Sabah, which Malaysia considers one of its 13 states.

Aquino said he has yet to receive proof of human rights abuses allegedly perpetrated by Malaysian forces against Filipinos.

“Ang klaro sa akin may mga dinedeport sila na wala daw kaukulang mga work permits,” he said.

(What is clear to me is the ongoing deportation of Filipinos without work permits.)

The President said around 140 to 150 Filipinos were included in the last group that was deported, far from what was earlier feared as massive deportation of thousands of Filipinos living in Sabah.

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TAGS: Global Nation, malaysia trip, president Aquino iii, Sabah Issue
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