Manila trip ‘not linked to Sabah invasion’

Anisah Shukry, FMT

PKR MPs Tian Chua and R Sivarasa’s Feb 7 trip to Manila was unrelated to the Royal Sulu Sultanate army’s intrusion into Sabah, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim said today.

He stressed that the two MPs had visited Manila to obtain information on Manuel Amalilo, whose deportation to the Philippines was blocked by Malaysian authorities on Jan 25.

Amalilo is wanted in the Philippines for allegedly scamming 15,000 Filipinos of RM859 million under a company known as Aman Futures Group.

“Their visit was about Amalilo, the relative of Sabah Chief Minister [Musa Aman] and Foreign Minister [Anifah Aman], who has been labelled by President Benigno Aquino as a criminal,” Anwar told reporters in response to a question.

“The Philippine government wants Malaysia to send Amililo back so that it can continue [its] investigations…Why are we giving him protection?

“So when this issue emerged, Sivarasa and Tian Chua went to Manila to get information, in order to avoid any slander. It was to get clear information and confirmation of Amalilo’s scam.”

Upon their return to Malaysia, Sivarasa and Tian Cua had told a press conference on Feb 19 that the prime minister must deport Amalilio as soon as possible.

Sivarasa said that, based on his checks with the Philippines, Amalilio was holding a genuine Filipino passport as well as a Malaysian passport, hence proving the latter held a dual citizenship.

“Article 24 of the Federal Constitution stipulates that if a person conducts in an act to obtain another citizenship, he or she will lose their Malaysian citizenship automatically,” the Subang MP had said.

But pro-Umno bloggers have speculated that the two visited Manila to meet an agent of the self-styled Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram, who is behind the armed incursion in Sabah.

The rumours come in the wake of unnamed Philippine intelligence sources reportedly saying that a leader from the Malaysian opposition had encouraged the Royal Sulu Sultanate army to attack Sabah, prompting Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to initiate investigations into the claims.

But both Anwar and Jamalul have repeatedly denied links to one another, and the former has initiated legal action against Utusan Malaysia and TV3, which carried the reports.