PM Najib hopes Duterte’s aggressive stand can improve security in southern Philippines

Apr 30, 2017
Malaysia Premier Najib Razak (left) and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

Prime Minister Najib Razak hopes the more aggressive stand taken by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte against extremists such as the Abu Sayyaf in the southern Philippines will improve the security in that region.

“I congratulate the government of the Philippines for having successfully killed a Abu Sayyaf leader two days ago.

“With the more agressive action taken by President Duterte, we hope security in the southern Philippines will be improved,” he told Malaysian journalists after the Asean Summit 2017 in Manila.

According to some reports, the Philippines Marines had killed a commander of the extremist Abu Sayyaf, Alhabsy Misaya.

The Prime Minister said he had also expressed his gratitude to President Duterte for helping to rescue five Malaysian hostages kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf for eight months and one week.

Najib said Malaysia has also committed to continue assisting in the process to conclude the “Comprehensive Peace Plan” involving the bangsa moro.

In addition, he said the issue of terrorism had also drew attention at the summit in which Malaysia said the country’s contribution, including the radicalisation programme had achieved a high level of success.

“This success shows that we can also contribute as we have a digital counter messaging centre. As such it must have the support and backing of the Asean countries in the fight against the militant threat and violent extremism more effectively,” he added.

Meanwhile, Malaysia, Indonesia, as well as and Thailand will be involved in efforts to combat the latest threat to the palm oil industry as the European Parliament has linked it to deforestation.

Najib said the issue, which was raised by him, had gained strong support from Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi).

A resolution by the European Parliament recently called for the European Union (EU) to phase out by 2020 the use of vegetable oils in biodiesel that are allegedly produced in an unsustainable way leading to deforestation. The resolution includes palm oil.

“If this resolution were to be enforced, it will have a devastating effect on our national interest, particularly the (livelihood of) 600,000 (oil palm) smallholders in Malaysia and 2.4 million in Indonesia,” Najib said.

“President Jokowi has expressed strong support for the proposal that Malaysia, Indonesia, as well as Thailand to get involved in efforts to combat this latest threat.

“And for that we will try to influence the EU not to enforce the resolution due to its impact as it would close the EU market to palm oil from Malaysia and Indonesia,” he said.

Najib said he also proposed a motion that Asean introduced a scorecard method to determine the measures and the time frame of the reduction of the Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) and Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs) could be achieved.

The NTBs and NTMs increased from 1,634 in 2000 to 5,975 in 2015.

“It’s a very significant improvement,” the prime minister said.

Asked to explain the measures Malaysia would take, he said it cannot be just Malaysia but every country has to response to the call of reducing NTMs and NTBs positively. –Bernama