News / Asia

    Philippines Seeking Peaceful Solution to Malaysian Sabah Conflict

    Malaysian police personnel checks identity of passengers on a road leading to Kampung Tanduo, where Malaysian troops stormed the camp of an armed Filipino group, in Lahad Datu, Sabah state, March 8, 2013.
    Malaysian police personnel checks identity of passengers on a road leading to Kampung Tanduo, where Malaysian troops stormed the camp of an armed Filipino group, in Lahad Datu, Sabah state, March 8, 2013.
    Simone Orendain
    With more than 50 Philippine citizens reported dead in clashes in the Malaysian province of Sabah, officials in Manila says it may be time for a surrender. The fighting started when about 200 people from the southwestern Philippines entered a town in Sabah, re-asserted a centuries- old claim to the eastern Malaysian province and refused to leave.

    Philippine government officials say for weeks they have been calling for followers of the self-proclaimed Sultan of Sulu to surrender and leave. But the group's leader, Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, has refused.

    Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a televised briefing Friday that the Philippines is exhausting all options to bring peace.

    "We continue to feel strongly, one way to save lives is to lay down their arms. Our concern is a win-win solution for them as well as for us - for them to be able to preserve their lives,” he said.

    Malaysian authorities started their military operation against the group a week ago. This week they intensified the campaign with a 30-minute air raid in the vicinity of Lahad Datu, where the group had hunkered down for weeks.

    Malaysian state media reported 52 Filipinos and eight Malaysian officers have been killed in various skirmishes.

    On Thursday Kiram called for a cease-fire by his armed followers, after United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon released a statement urging an end to the fighting and calling all parties to come together to talk. But Malaysia rejected the Kiram group’s proposal to cease hostilities, saying they would only accept a surrender.

    Philippine Foreign Affairs Spokesman Raul Hernandez says if Kiram's followers give up their weapons it would end the bloodshed.

    "Because there was a rejection from the Malaysian side, it could be that this would be the last remaining option for the Kirams,” he explained.

    Malaysian police have been going after reportedly armed Philippine nationals whom they say fled from encounters with authorities in the area. Inspector General of Police Ismail Omar says the pursuit is ongoing.

    "We will continue the operation as there is no sign the enemies will lay down their weapons and surrender," he said.

    The centuries-old Sultanate of Sulu includes several islands in the southwestern Philippines and Sabah in eastern Malaysia. And the Kiram group, which is headed by one of several claimants to the Sultanate, has been receiving a nominal rental fee from the Malaysian government for Sabah since Malaysia became independent of British rule in 1963.

    Since February 9, the family had been demanding talks with the government to try to increase the fee.

    Philippine Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda says the group's claim to Sabah is now being studied by the Philippine government. The last sultan recognized by the Philippine government was Mahakuttah A. Kiram, who reigned from 1974 until1986.

    You May Like

    US Internet Giants, EU Reach Deal to Combat Online Hate Speech

    Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft commit to ‘quickly and efficiently’ act to clamp down on use of social media to incite violence, terror

    Video Tunisia’s Ennahda Party Begins a New Political Chapter

    Party now moves to separate its political and religious activities; change described by party members as pragmatic response to political and economic challenges facing Tunisia today

    Virtual Reality Fine-tuned at Asia Tech Show

    Microchip designers hope to improve resolution for users of systems that can turn your bedroom into the ocean floor

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora