SOLYMONE BLOG

MANILA PAPERS SLAM AQUINO FOR BEING MALAYSIAN MOUTHPIECE

KUALA LUMPUR, March 4 — The Philippines government’s hardline approach against the Sulu militants in Sabah had likely worsened the ongoing bloodshed, the Philippine Daily Inquirer said today, heaping criticism against the Aquino administration for allegedly mishandling the crisis.
In a hard-hitting editorial, the country’s most widely-read broadsheet took a swipe at Philippines President Benigno Aquino III (picture) for taking the same tone as his Malaysian counterpart Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak when demanding that the Sulu Sultanate’s followers lay down arms.
The paper reminded the president that the group of Sulu gunmen, who have set up camp in Sabah since February 9, are Filipino citizens who sincerely believe the east Malaysian state is their home.
“When he (Aquino) appealed to the followers to ‘[c]ome back home and we will talk’, he inadvertently confirmed their suspicion that he did not understand what they saw as the core issue: Sabah as home,” the Inquirer said.
The paper also pointed to talk that the Sulu Sultanate had been neglected in peace talks between the Philippines government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to end decades of armed conflict in Mindanao, which involves Malaysia as facilitator. 
This could have led to Sultan Jamalul Kiram III’s reason for deploying his men to Sabah, it said, leading to the past few days of violent clashes between the Filipino militants and Malaysia’s security forces.
 
As at Day 22 since the incursion, eight Malaysian policemen and 20 militants have reportedly died during skirmishes in three districts in the eastern coast of Sabah.
The Inquirer said, however, that the “real problem” with the Philippine government’s approach to the Sulu claim on Sabah was in its lack of sympathy to the Sultan’s followers and purpose.

Source: The Malaysian Insider...More...
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