1. Today, October 15 2012, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Philipine governent signed a historic framework agreement for the creation of the Bangsamoro in South Philipine of Mindanao.
2. The obvoius question to most Malaysian is - what is the big deal? Why our Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was honoured and considered a guest of honour at the historic event? Similarly, back in the late 80s and 90s, the Opposition parties also asked a similar question - why waste money and time to help a foreign people? To answer this, we have to go back to history.
3. Bangsamoro refers to the Muslim population in Southern Philipines. The word Bangsa is a Malay word refering to nation. Moro is a term given by Spanish rulers back when Philipines was under the colonization of Spain. During the 15th-16th century, Span was the world power and when they colonized Philipines, they noticed a group of people practicising a worship similar to that of the Moors in Andalusia (Southern Spain).
4. The first reason why we should celebrate the creation of Bangsamoro is because the Moros are our brothers/sisters - they are from the Malay stock and Muslim. When the Spanish came to colonize Philipines, the many Sultans from Southern Philipines rose up and fought the Spanish conquistadors. They fought bravely and only succumb to the mighty arsenal of the United States, 400 years later.
5. The second reason relates to the strategy in tackling the immigration problem in Sabah. The Moros and Sabahans are brothers, whether we want to admit it or not. Before the western powers (Portugues, Dutch, Spaniards, English, Americans) came and colonize the South East Asian region, people were free to travel and settle anywhere in this region. For example, the Sulu Sultanate and Brunei Sultanate are related. Furthermore, the Moros are seafarers people since ancient time and historical proof shows that they lived in Sabah (during the rule of Sulu Sultanate) before. If we kick them out en masse, either they will be killed in war with the Philipines or their children died in hunger.
By having a state of their own, they will be inspired to go back to their ancestral land and improve their own nation. This has always been our nation policy in tackling and solving the immigration problem in Sabah since the time of Tun Dr Mahathir. Being the far-sighted leader that he is, Tun understood what was the root cause of the immigration problem in Sabah - the lack of aspiration and independence of the Moros land.
6. The third reason is the prevention of Angle-Saxon intervention. For many years , United States together with their Anglo-Saxon cousins, United Kingdom and Australia have try to meddle in the South East Asian (SEA) region. For example, last year, President Obama declared the US will build a new base in Australia. Their aim is to involve in SEA by using the context of fighting terrorism. In the Mindanao region, an extreme militant group known as Abu Sayyaf was created out of frustration after many previous peace engagement with the Philipine Government failed. For many Malaysian, we first heard about Abu Sayyaf when they took over a resort in Sipadan Island in Sabah in 2000.
There is no doubt that Abu Sayyaf is a militant group that is desperate. Desperate people do desperate things. Not all Moros support them - majority do not. However, they agree with the cause - to setup an independent state. By having their own state, Uncle Sam and its Anglo-Saxons cousins have no casus beli to interfere in this region.
7. Another related reason is the safety of Malaysian water/sea and its impact to job creation. You may wondered, how does the creation of Bangsamoro create more jobs or increase the safety in Malaysia?
The coast of Sabah is known worldwide for its beauty. One of the strategy setup by the Government is to improve the tourism aspect in Sabah. The Sipadan kidnapping did affect the tourism industry in Sabah. There is many other area in the Sabahan coast which have potential to be further developed into an excellent tourist attraction. In a simple word, this will create jobs for locals! However, as we saw from the Sipadan kidnapping in 2000, if we have terrorist coming over and capturing any Mat Saleh, who would want to come?
There are also evidences suggesting that many of the crimes perpetrated by the illegal immigrants in Sabah is part of a mafia-like syndicate. When a robbery occurs, half of the money is given to terrorist or pirates (for protection). The pirates/terrorist then uses the money to buy weapons from the black market. By having a state where they can get a proper employment, there is less chance they will commit a crime in Sabah and indirectly this will weaken the pirates/terrorist in Sabah seacoast.
8. The fifth reason is its impact on the unresolved situation for our Muslim cousins in Pattani. The problem in South Thailand is similar to the problem in South Philipines. Similar to the Moros, the Pattanis would like to have their own state governed by their own elected official. Similar to the Moros, they are also Muslim. Malaysia may not be able to directly influence the Palestinian struggle but we can help our Muslim cousins nearby – Pattanis (Thailand), Moros (Philipines) and Rohingyas (Myanmar).
Just like the war between Moros and the Philipinos, the Pattanis and Thais are tired of waging war between each other. We have tried to help and broker a peace deal between both sides for many years now. Hopefully, with the news of the creation of Bangsamoro, it will give boost to all sides in reaching a permanent peace.
9. I hope Malaysian will now understand the impact of the creation of Bangsamoro to our country. The five reasons given are just a short list of the many other benefits.There are others like how this will affect Philipines claim on Sabah which have been a thorny issue between us and the Philipines.
Here, I would like to highlight the achievement of our Government and our excellent foreign policy (FP). Starting from the time of Tun Abdul Razak, we move ourselves away from being a pro-US country to a neutral country. Our famous motto of ‘prosper thy neighbour’ has been the hallmark of our FP for many decades.
We believe in respecting our neighbours. We do not believe in meddling in our neighbour affairs unlike Singapore (Bersih etc). When we have disagreement with our neighbour, we will use all political channels available and try to have a win-win situation.
During the previous administration of Paklah, advised by a bunch of corrupt, incompetent and arrogant advisors, we almost forgot who we were. We were advised to follow the Sheriff of SEA (i.e Australia) in regards to many international affairs (e.g. Myanmar). We lost many friends who used to think highly of us but thank God that now we are starting to regain back their respect. The fact that our Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was honoured at the Bangsamoro signing ceremony is a sign of this respect.
10. It is cool to say the Government sucks. Yes, the Government is not free from faults. However when they do something good, we should give credit where credit is due. The creation of a Muslim state for the Moros people will not have happened if the BN Government were run by idiots. This is the differrence between how the Opposition parties and Barisan Nasional operates. The BN despite all their warts and faults, do come out with good and long term strategy that have proven repeatedly to work.
a) DAP never cared about the struggle of the Moros or Pattanis. Their solution to the immigration problem in Sabah was inhumane and stupid – just shoot or kick them out.
b) PAS who always like to show how Islamic they are did not do anything constructive to help their Muslim brothers in Mindanao. Their solution was for Malaysia to send armed forces to help the Moros. Their thinking capability is very much limited and emotional. Do they not understand that war should only be the last option? War only leads to destruction for both attackers and defenders. Just asked the Moros, Pattanis, Palestinians and Kashmiris.
c) For Anwar Ibrahim (PKR), he had an excellent opportunity to play a role to help the Moros (when he was the DPM). Sadly, he misused/abused the Moros situation and tried to populate Sabah with the Moros. I was there and I saw his strategy. He did not believe in the creation of Bangsamoro. He wanted all the Muslim from South Mindanao to come to Sabah so that the number of Muslim in Sabah will overtake the Christians. Mind you, he did not do this for Islam but for his own selfish gain. His strategy was an increase in Muslim power in Sabah means more allies UMNO Sabah. He will then use this Sabah delegations as his own personal base to launch attacks on Tun Ghaffar (success) and Tun Dr M (Failed). That is the animal known as Anwar Ibrahim. If people still want to believe this liar, then go ahead.
11. The success of the Bangsamoro framework today is due to our brilliant officials in the current government and in the past that have work tirelessly and with patient. I feel it is wrong for me to single out any names. Many have risk even their life, some even went into the jungle of Mindanao leaving their wife and children at home for weeks and months. To all these people, I would like to wish them thank you and may Allah SWT provide you with Jannah for what you have provide to the Moros in Mindanao.