KOTA KINABALU, Malaysia - The two Malaysians held by the Abu Sayyaf militant group in the southern Philippines are still "safe" for now.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Abd Rahman said Malaysian authorities had been working with their Philippines counterpart to secure the release of abducted Marine police constable Zakiah Aleip, 26, and Kunak fish breeder Chan Sai Chuin, 32.
"The victims are safe. We are waiting for the final negotiations between the kidnappers and authorities from Malaysia and the Philippines. We hope to have something positive after that," he said, after attending prayers at the Kepayan state police headquarters mosque to mark Hari Raya Haji here.
Zakiah was abducted by Filipino gunmen from the Mabul Water Bungalows Resort in Semporna on July 12, while Chan was snatched from his fish farm in Kunak on June 16.
Comm Jalaluddin said they were working towards securing the freedom of both Malaysians who were being held by two separate groups in the southern Philippines island of Jolo.
It is learned that the gunmen are demanding up to RM5mil for Zakiah's release and RM3mil for Chan's freedom. However, the high price made directly or through mediators have stalled talks for their freedom.
Philippines military have earlier last week beefed up their operations in Jolo in efforts to rescue a German couple after the terror group threatened to behead them.
The spokesman, who identified himself as Abu Rame, threatened to behead one of Germans on Oct 17, if their demands were not met.
On the robbery and murder of primary school teacher Masinah Samadi, 50, at her house in Kundasang, Comm Jalaluddin said police believed that the intruder was known to the victim.
"We suspect the intruder killed her as she could identify him. We are still investigating," he added.
On police investigations into the Sabah Sarawak Keluar Malaysia (SSKM) Facebook page, he said they could not reveal details of their investigations.