Malaysia keen on investing in Bangsamoro in wake of BOL ratification

Sultan Kudarat, maguindanao- Recognizing a positive outlook on development in the region following the ratification of the Bangsamaoro Organic Law (BOL) that will establish a stronger autonomous Bangsamoro Region, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad said that Malaysia is keen on investing in Mindanao. 

During two-day official visit to the country, Mahathir said Malaysia would look at infusing investments in Mindanao as the long-restive south faced a transition to the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. 

“We must be helpful, we are close by, we are neighbors. Whatever happens in southern Philippines affects Malaysia. We want southern Philippines to be stable, peaceful, and we can then find opportunities here as much as we can help in contributing towards development through maybe foreign direct investment,” said Mahathir in an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN News’ Cathy Yang. 

He cited how conflict stunts a country’s growth, and that energizing the economy could curb violence, ABS-CBN News quoting him saying. 

“A country at war, a country that is unstable will never grow, will never develop… We welcome peace wherever it happens and we think that in the case of Mindanao, it is now able to make use of opportunities to grow that part of the Philippines,” said the Malaysian leader. 

“And that I think when the economy is doing well, the tendency for violence is much reduced,” he added, ABS-CBN News said in its report. 

“The Philippines may look at “models” -- how other countries uplifted conflict-stricken regions -- in helping Mindanao progress,” Mahathir said. 

“Now the southern Philippines is a special area where because of the violence, it has not been able to develop. Look at other areas where the situation is quite similar and adopt this way of developing their country that has succeeded in other countries,” said Mahathir. 

Malaysia is the Third facilitator in talks between the Philippine Government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that started in 2001 when then Pres. Gloria Macagal-Arroyo asked the country to facilitate the peace negotiation. 

The GPH and MILF signed the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamor0 (FAB) in 2012, and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in 2014. 

In July 2018, the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) was passed by Congress, then signed by President Rodrigo Duterte, and ratified during a plebiscite on January 21st, and February 6, (Source: ABS-CBN News, 3-7-19)