From GMA News (Mar 29): Malaysia readies offshore military bases as Mindanao peace process shudders
Malaysia is preparing offshore military bases to intercept potential refugees from Mindanao in the event of a breakdown of the peace process between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a Malaysian news site reported Sunday.
The military bases in the Sulu Sea are to be operational by April and are meant to address a potential influx of “hundreds of thousands” of displaced southern Filipinos, The Star Online reported.
“If the peace process can’t go through in June then it means war. Twelve years of talks and because of one incident, they will have war,” it quoted defense minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein as saying.
The report said Hishammuddin was referring to the Jan. 25 clash in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, which left 44 Special Action Force troopers and some MILF fighters and civilians dead.
Also, Hishammuddin said security forces were also preparing for the possibility of the displaced people trying to escape a war.
“If we have a wall of offshore bases, we may have a chance to stop the exodus of people,” he said, adding that Malaysia had to take precautionary measures should the tension spill over to Sabah.