Did Anwar meet with the MNLF's Nur Misuari to plot the Lahad Datu crisis? (Graphic by Dayang Norazhar/The Mole)
KUALA LUMPUR: A journalist in the Philippines has reported that Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim met with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader Nur Misuari months before the recent intrusion into Sabah by followers of the 'Sultan of Sulu'.
Writing in Panay News, a newspaper based in the Visayas region of the Philippines, lawyer and journalist Jess G. Dureza offered his opinion on various aspects of the Sabah crisis, and briefly mentioned he had been “reliably informed” that Anwar and Nur Misuari had met. He wrote:
“I was also reliably informed that Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, the former Deputy Minister of Malaysia who was charged and detained but was acquitted of sodomy charges, had met some time ago with Chairman Nur Misuari (also charged and detained and also acquitted for rebellion). They did not talk about their cases for sure. Yes, they discussed this ‘IC’ cleansing issue in Sabah. What came out of that meeting was still unclear.”
Dureza did not identify his sources, but his claim about a meeting between Anwar and Nur Misuari echoed similar claims by Malaysian bloggers shortly after the current crisis erupted in mid-February.
Sabah-based blogger Mr. Kinabalu Boy posted a photo that purportedly showed Anwar and Nur Misuari together, and said their relationship goes back to Anwar’s days as Deputy Prime Minister.
According to the blogger, Anwar had met with Nur Misuari four months before the intrusion into Sabah, and had asked for the MNLF leader’s help.
“This situation is Anwar’s way of attracting support and destabilising the country. With Anwar’s advice and Misuari’s help, they (the intruders) have tried to destabilise the situation,” he wrote, later adding:
“Anwar advised Nur Misuari to send an armed group to Lahad Datu, so that there would be an environment of ‘security fears’. The main purpose was so that there would be shooting and deaths among the Sulu army and Anwar could take advantage.
"As before, Anwar will do anything to achieve his political ambitions, even gambling the security and sovereignty of the country.”
Another Sabahan blogger, Hantu Laut, suggested he did not necessarily believe Anwar was the opposition leader behind the intrusion into Sabah (Reuters had quoted anonymous Philippines officials as saying a Malaysian opposition politician had been involved), but conceded that Anwar was the only Malaysian opposition politician with a close connection to Nur Misuari.
“The only opposition leader who has met former MILF chief Nur Misuari and has been his friend since his UMNO days is Anwar Ibrahim,” he said.
Malaysian blogger A Voice, who highlighted Mr. Kinabalu Boy’s post, suggested reports in the Manila Times further implicated Anwar, as they mentioned the opposition leader had promised autonomy to Sabah.