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Murad meets with Malaysian PM

March 4, 2016

Cotabato City Moro Islamic Liberation Front Chair Al Hadj Murad Ebrahim has
discussed with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Organization of
Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary General Iyad Ameen Madani the fate of the
Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which was not passed by Congress, according to
the official website of the MILF Central Committee on Information.
Separate reports in the information site said Murad personally met with Razak in
Kuala Lumpur last February 25 before he proceeded to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on
February 28 to have an audience with Madani.
Razak confirmed meeting with Murad in a statement and said that he had
convinced the MILF chair that despite the current setback, the MILF must
remain faithful to the peace process since it is a practical choice to resolve the
Bangsamoro issue.
Murad had earlier expressed the MILFs deep frustration and grave dismay over
the non-passage of the BBL, which he described as a vital instrument to the
peace deals signed with the Philippine government in 2013 and 2014.
In the same meeting, Razak was assured by Murad of the MILFs commitment
to peaceful campaign for continuity in the four-decade old negotiations with the
Philippine government.
As a gesture of Malaysias continuing commitment to its role as third party
facilitator in the peace process, Razak informed Murad that he would be sending
another batch of Malaysian observers to be led by Defense Minister YB Dato Seri
Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.
The Malaysian team is expected to join the International Monitoring Team (IMT)
which will witness a handing over process in this city later this month.
(I urge) the MILF to actively reach out to other Moro groups in order to foster
Bangsamoro unity and ensure the inclusivity of the current peace process, said
Razak, as he also called on all groups in Mindanao to reject radicalization and
extremism.
We must uphold and implement wasatiyah (moderate approach), which brings
forth a moderate, just and balanced way of life, he added.

For his part, Madani said the OIC shared the dismay felt by the MILF over the
non-passage of the BBL in Congress, but extolled its leadership and the
Malaysian government-facilitator for renewing commitments for a peaceful
conclusion of the years of armed conflict in Mindanao.
Madani also shared the MILF and Malaysias common desire for the revival of
the BBL in the next Congress, hoping the re-filed measures would be more
acceptable to all parties.
But he warned of the adverse effects of the delayed passage of the BBL or the
adoption of a weak version especially on human, security and developmental
provisions of the MILF-GPH peace deals.
The OIC leader also renewed call for the leaders of the Bangsamoro people,
particularly the MILF and the Moro National Liberation Front to utilize the existing
mechanism of the Bangsamoro Coordinating Forum (BCF) to achieve a more
unified position, coherent and sustainable cooperation for the benefit of the
Bangsamoro people.

Malaysia PM to continue
support on Bangsamoro
peace process
ILIGAN CITY -- Although disappointed at the non-passage of the proposed Bangsamoro
Basic Law (BBL) in Congress, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has expressed
continued support for the peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic
Liberation Front (MILF) way beyond the term of President Benigno Aquino III, who is
stepping down from power on June 30.
Razak made this commitment in a statement published Friday in Malay Mail Online after his
meeting with MILF chief Murad Ebrahim a day earlier in an undisclosed location in
Malaysia.
Malaysia is ready and willing to work with the next president of the Philippines, regardless
who will win the election... It is my personal wish to see lasting peace prevails, Razak said.
Malaysia plays a key role in the Bangsamoro peace process, principally as facilitator of the
political negotiations with the MILF since 2001.

I envision the Philippines-MILF peace process as a model for resolving long-standing


conflicts. This process has not only brought relative peace to the southern Philippines but
also to the region, Razak noted.
Should the process finally be completed, it would also insulate Southeast Asia from threats
by militant groups. I am confident that the conflicting parties will remain committed to find
lasting peace, and Malaysia will continue to be an honest broker in this process, he added.
Apart from facilitating the negotiations, a senior Malaysian military officer also heads the
multi-country International Monitoring Team (IMT) created by the parties in 2004 to monitor
implementation of a ceasefire accord.
As a testament of Malaysias commitment, Defense Minister, YB Dato Seri Hishammuddin
Tun Hussein will be accompanying our new batch of observers in the International
Monitoring Team (IMT) during the handing-over process in Cotabato City next month,
Razak said.
During the meeting of the government and MILF peace panels last February 10 to 11 in
Kuala Lumpur, they renewed the mandate of the IMT up to March 2017. The tour of duty of
the current IMT contingents ends next month, necessitating the deployment of a new batch
of monitors.
The oldest of the peace mechanisms, the IMT is composed of contingents coming from
Brunei, the European Union, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia and Norway.
Common sentiment
Razak said his meeting with Murad was aimed to discuss the peace process in southern
Philippines which Malaysia is facilitating.
Overall, we shared common sentiment over the non-passage of the Bangsamoro Basic
Law (BBL) by the Philippines Congress, Razak said.
Murad, in a February 18 statement, expressed the MILFs deep disappointment and grave
dismay over the fate of the proposed measure in the 16th Congress, although he urged the
Moro people to let reason prevail over emotion.
During the discussion, I convinced H.E. Al-Haj Murad Ebrahim that despite the current
setback, the MILF must remain faithful to the peace process since it is a practical choice to
resolve the Bangsamoro issue, Razak said.
Reverting to armed struggle is definitely not an option and bloodshed must be avoided at
all costs, he added.
The Malaysian Prime Minister witnessed and delivered a speech during the signing
ceremony of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) in October 2012, and
again in March 2014 for the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).
In both occasions, Razak praised the leadership of both Murad and Aquino for achieving the
historic feat of mustering a blueprint for eventual peace in Mindanao.
Razak related that during their February 25 meeting, Murad has pledged his utmost
commitment to sustain peace and its dividends.

I have reached an understanding with H.E. Al-Haj Murad Ebrahim that the MILF should
preserve the most significant gain of the peace process, the Comprehensive Agreement on
the Bangsamoro, he said.
Appeal for moderation
Razak, who used to be Malaysias Defense Minister, advised the MILF to remain united,
particularly at this trying time in order to face uncertainties and challenges.
He also told Murad, who was the MILFs military chief prior to taking over its helm, to
actively reach out to other Moro groups in order to foster Bangsamoro unity and ensure the
inclusivity of the current peace process.
I call upon all groups in Mindanao to reject radicalization and extremism. As Muslims, we
must uphold and implement wasatiyah (moderation), which brings forth a moderate, just
and balanced way of life, Razak appealed.

Malaysian PM: No turning back on PH peace


process
KUALA LUMPURMalaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Monday said there
should be no turning back from the peace process between the Philippine government
and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), citing the importance for Southeast
Asia to resolve internal conflicts in pursuit of building one regional community.
Najib said this in his welcome address to the regions leaders at the formal opening of
the 26th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit.
An Asean characterized by internal conflicts could never aspire to be a true
community. To be a community, we must address internal conflicts within our region.
This is why we are working with other countries to build peace, Najib said.
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He cited the peace deal being forged in Central Mindanao, wherein Malaysia has
acted as a third party facilitator.
The recent progress on the Bangsamoro peace process has been so important, and we
must not pause in our efforts to bring a permanent resolution to a conflict that has led

to so much loss of life and displaced hundreds of thousands over the years, Najib
said.
In October 2012, Najib witnessed the signing of the Framework Agreement on the
Bangsamoro (FAB), the blueprint for the peace agreement between the government
and the MILF.
In March 2014, Najib was also at Malacaang in Manila for the signing of the final
peace agreement between the Philippine government and the MILF.
But only less than a year after the peace agreement was signed, it faced a major
setback when the Mamasapano debacle happened.
The police counterinsurgency operation that took down Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli
bin Hir, alias Marwan, also cost the lives of 44 Special Action Force (SAF)
commandos, 17 MILF rebels and at least three civilians, including an 8-year-old girl.
The failure of then SAF commander, Director Getulio Napeas, to follow the ceasefire
mechanisms led to the fierce encounter between his men, the MILF and other Moro
fighters.
Filipino lawmakers, many of whom initially supported the peace agreement,
disparaged the peace process and threatened not to pass the proposed Bangsamoro
Basic Law (BBL), which would give the Moro people a new autonomous region.
At the plenary session of the Asean summit, President Aquino acknowledged the
support of Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia that led to the final peace agreement.
The President also advocated the use of a grassroots-based, multistakeholder
approach to peace-building and reconciliation initiatives.
Many equate Malaysias interest in the peace process to its claim to Sabah but others
view it as part of its own national security.
For decades, the war in Central Mindanao has provided a haven for Malaysian Islamic
extremists like Marwan who had influenced many others.
Putting an end to the insurgency waged by the MILF, the biggest armed group in
Mindanao, makes the world smaller for terrorists.
Najib is at the forefront of an initiative against terrorism in Southeast Asia,
particularly those advocating an Islamic State.
The Asean leaders are set to adopt the Langkawi Declaration on the Global Movement
of Moderates, a brainchild of Najib.
He said it was important to adopt the declaration as Southeast Asia had not been
spared of the threat posed by extremism.
He acknowledged that Malaysian nationals had sadly joined forces with those in
Syria and Iran to commit atrocities in the name of Islam, and condemned their
actions.
More than rejecting provocation and violence, Najib urged the Asean to put forward
a positive narrative of moderation, of hope and of peace.
For his part, Aquino called for heightened vigilance to curb the rise of religious
fanaticism and extremism in the Middle East.

He reiterated the Philippines support for the United Nations Security Council
resolution on foreign terrorism, which he said should be implemented to prevent the
spread of terror-related crimes perpetrated by Isis and other similar groups.