Malaysians are now feeling the pain we felt PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 13 September 2015 15:02

By Table Talk

BY Mike S Apostol

 

Malaysia to many Filipinos has been the land of opportunity. A rich and conservative country where many Filipinos dream of going, to look for a new opportunity and future. The Malaysian Ringgit  was one of the strongest in Southeast Asia and any Filipino was happy to have a Ringgit in his wallet. Their consumer and canned  goods were a demand in our early traditional barter trade business of “kumpits” and “jungkung”. Imported cigarettes and shoes from England, and “malong” and other dry goods from Indonesia, Singapore and Hong-Kong considered smuggled those days were sold cheap, even by roadside vendors and makeshift stores found in the market. But, all these “windfall” came to an end, when the Philippines was under a revolutionary government, where, the government legalized barter trading and created a special office, under the Southern Philippines Development Authority (SPDA), changing the “Mission and Vision” of SPDA. The legal barter trading in southern Philippines bred so many complex enterprises, bringing into the Philippines multi-million pesos worth of imported goods, with questionable taxes for the government and many times considered “technical smuggling”. Malaysian businessmen, participated in this new scheme of business by offering millions worth of Malaysian products on credit and allegedly Malaysian authorities accepted bribes to fast track the transactions and clearances of these imported goods. That was the start of so many anomalies and corruption in the ports and business center of Malaysia where those barter goods came from.

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In the late 60’s and early 70"s before Martial Law rule in the Philippines, the Malaysian government was a gracious host to the country’s secessionist organization of U.P. professor turned rebel, Nur Misuari and a group of Moro youth activists  for a training in Malaysia’s Jampiras Island which is part of North Borneo and nearest to the southernmost island of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. There with the Malaysian government’s blessing, Professor Misuari, founded the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and became its founder and commander up to the present. Malaysia was angered by the Philippine Government’s declaration in putting back to life as an administration policy to declare Sabah, North Borneo as Philippine territory by historical right. It was at this point , where the Malaysian government was fully supported by the Malaysian people and they approved Malaysian government expenditures and assistance given to the Filipinos training in Jampiras Islands, supplying arms and ammunition, primarily to wage war against the Philippine Government and ultimately take Mindanao and secede from the Philippines and by force, and to withdraw the Sabah claim from the agenda of the Philippine Government. It was even claimed that during those training times, smuggling  of imported cigarettes and other goods to the Philippines was one of the financing support to the rebels by the Malaysian Authorities.

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After the training and MNLF fighters sent back to the Philippines, it was the turning point of our country’s future. Pocket wars between MNLF and Philippine soldiers happened in almost all parts of southern and central Mindanao which took a heavy burden to the coffers of the Philippine Government. Precious lives of soldiers and civilians took a heavy toll on our resources and in 1972 the Philippines declared Martial Law since the rebellion is expanding nationwide with communist and left-leaning groups joining the fray in the Visayas and Luzon. While the Philippines was bleeding and healing its wounds, the Malaysian government was laughing onthe sidelines.

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Today, it’s case of “what goes up must come down”.  Malaysia is now on its ebb of glory. The latest resignation of Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Razak, followign a Philippine style “people power” clearly opened the eyes of ordinary Malaysians that indeed their leaders are acting as gods because of their wealth. The corruption cases of their leaders are the beginning of a division among the Malaysians and not for long bloodshed will follow among the dissenters. Expressly, it can happen as shown by the aggressiveness of their “people power” demonstration. The federated sultanates of Malaysia will involve themselves for change or the “status quo” for their survival, because the enlightenment of many Malaysians has unshackled the chain of bondage under a monarch. Malaysia will have a dose of its own medicine. Perhaps much more bitter than the pill they gave to the Philippines. Filipinos are survivors, surviving three foreign occupations and over a century of unstable peace and order situation. Malaysians have never engaged themselves in a full-scale war against an invader.

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Scoop: History has a way of changing a situation but destiny is unchangeable. The Philippines will persevere in all this challenges and “people power” and change, is a way of life for Filipinos. You cannot kill the spirit of “Filipinos”, it will live forever. Agree or disagree.

Last Updated on Sunday, 13 September 2015 15:12