Talks on boosting trade in southern Philippines

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 18 Feb 2014

PUTRAJAYA: Boosting the economy in southern Philippines will be among the main topics of discussion between Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Philippines President Benigno Aquino next week.

The leaders are expected to exchange ideas to boost trade activities in the region.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said both leaders would want to see how investment could be increased in the region especially after the signing of the peace agreement between the Philippine government and that Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“Besides boosting the economy, the other main topic will be the illegal immigrant issue in Sabah,” he told newsmen after receiving a courtesy call from his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop at Wisma Putra here yesterday.

Anifah was asked to comment on the matters to be discussed by the Prime Minister and Aquino, who is scheduled to arrive in Malaysia on Feb 27 for a two-day visit.

He said Aquino was expected to extend an official invitation to Najib to attend the signing ceremony in Manila.

“Malaysia is very happy with the progress of the negotiations and we hope there will be lasting peace in the southern Philippine which will be good for all,” he said.

The Star reported yesterday that the final agreement of the Malaysia-brokered peace deal was ready.

The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) is expected to be signed by the Philippine government and the MILF later this month or in March with Malaysia being the official witness at the ceremony.

On a recent report of three Chinese navy ships patrolling James Shoal, an area located 80km from Bintulu, Sarawak, Anifah said he had not received any information on the matter.

“Nevertheless, any intrusion into our waters will not get a good response from us.

“We have not sent any diplomatic note to China on the matter because, as I’ve said, there is no confirmation,” he said.

Bishop, meanwhile, said Australia would continue to cooperate with Malaysia in tackling the issue of human trafficking and finding ways to stop it.

Congratulating Malaysia for being selected to host the Asean Summit in 2015, she said the regional grouping had played an important role to overcome various issues such as the sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea and other matters.

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