LAHAD DATU:'Find solution fast to avoid meddling by big powers'

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KUALA LUMPUR:  The Lahad Datu imbroglio must be settled swiftly and amicably to avoid any intervention from big powers, said a Filipino Muslim scholar. 

 
Despite expressing optimism that the matter could be solved by the parties concerned, University of Philippines' Head of Islamic Studies Prof Julkipli Wadi Adduk, said however, if the situation persisted, it may draw a third interested party into the crisis.
 
"I can see the outside power is able to step in if both governments do not take fast action to tackle the issue. If this happens, we will have bigger problems in Southeast Asia.   
 
"Do we really want intervention (from the big power) to happen?" he said at a discourse entitled 'The Sabah claim and Beyond', at Universiti Malaya here, today.  
 
The discourse was organised by the Social and Behavioural Science and Centre for Research in International and Comparative Education, Faculty of Education Universiti Malaya.  
 
Concurring with Julkipli, international law lecturer at Lyceum Philippines University, Prof Romel R. Bagares warned that the crisis could have adverse impacts on security not only on both countries but also the Asean region as a whole.
 
It could also hamper the roadmap of the creation of the Asean Community by 2015, he added. 
 
"If it escalates, it will not be a Malaysia-Philippines issue anymore. It will  cause power imbalance and instability in the region.
 
This is something Asean does not want to happen," he added. 
 
Meanwhile, Universiti Malaya's Head of International and Strategic Studies Prof Datuk Mohamad Abu Bakar said it was crucial to include all parties namely Malaysia, the Philippines, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) as well as the self-proclaimed sultan of Sulu.
 
"It is important to make sure none of them feel rejected because they are capable of causing trouble as each has faithful followers," he said.
 
He said affirmative action must be taken this time to put a close to this issue. 
 
"I fear that if we do not close for good this issue, it will recur, and would be more serious than now, as had happened in the past," he added. -- BERNAMA 

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