MNLF urges OIC, UN to intervene in Sabah
(The Philippine Star) - March 4, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - As violence spread in Sabah, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the United Nations were urged yesterday to intervene and initiate negotiations between Malaysia and the Sultanate of Sulu.

The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), which issued the call, however, said the Philippine government should be excluded from the negotiations.

MNLF chieftain Nur Misuari also urged Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to stop sending more troops to Sabah and “tone down your voice.”

Misuari said he and his clan are the true owners of Sabah and the Malaysian state of Sarawak. He said history would bear out that Sabah and Sarawak were the original properties of his great, great grandfather.

Habib Mujahab Hashim, chairman of the MNLF’S Islamic Command Council, said their group could serve as mediator between the Sulu sultanate’s army and Malaysian forces.

Hashim said OIC members Brunei or Indonesia could mediate in behalf of the organization of Islamic states.

He urged the UN, through its committee on human rights and the International Committee of the Red Cross, to send representatives to Sabah to see the measures being carried out by Malaysian forces against Filipinos.

The sultanate of Sulu claims much of Sabah, once called North Borneo, as ancestral land, and receives an annual payment of about P70,000 from Malaysia. The sultanate wants the payment increased.

President Aquino has described the Philippine claim over Sabah, which is based on the Sulu sultanate’s claim, as “dormant.”

Misuari arrived in Davao City Saturday night with his wife Tarhata for a meeting with Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

“The blood of our brothers in Sabah is sacred,” Misuari said. “I hope Najib will not persecute our civilians in Sabah as it will trigger bigger trouble and it will drag us into war, and I don’t like that. I am calling on Najib to please tone down your voice. All of us want peace. We do not want war.”

He said the Sabah conflict could be resolved in a “brotherly way... to the best interest of everybody.”

Misuari said his grandnephew is a relative of the Malaysian prime minister, whom he considered a friend.

The MNLF chief, who celebrated his birthday yesterday, admitted that some of the people who went to Lahad Datu were his relatives and members of his group. But he denied instigating the trip to Sabah.

“How can that be? I was in Africa for more than a month with my wife and I have nothing to do with the move of the sultan,” Misuari said.

He emphasized that sending “only 200” men to Sabah “is not my style.”

President Aquino was reportedly furious and suspected that certain quarters instigated the Lahad Datu incident to sabotage the peace process with the MNLF’s breakaway group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

“I pity the President. He does not know what he is talking about,” Misuari said. “He will become a laughingstock in the whole world.”

Misuari noted reports that he would be arrested for the Sabah incident.

“They blame me for it. Why am I being blamed for this? They said I financed it. But where would I get the money to finance a takeover?” he said.

Duterte said there was no evidence linking Misuari to the incident in Sabah.

“I’m very sure that Nur Misuari would not do that,” Duterte said.

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