PERTH - Malaysia is not ruling out the possibility that the latest abductions at a resort off Semporna, Sabah, are a deliberate act to sour the country's relations with China.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the fact that one of those kidnapped was a Chinese national could further strain the already tense situation, following the MH370 tragedy.
"This must be avoided. There may be those who are attempting to drive a wedge between us and China. They may be trying to take advantage of the situation," said Najib, after a bilateral meeting with his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Offices here Thursday.
Najib said he believed ties with China would remain strong despite the latest incident.
A 29-year-old tourist from China, identified as Gao Hua Yun from Shanghai, was abducted from the Singamata Reef Resort off Semporna, along with Filipino worker Marcy Dayawan @ Mimi, 40, late Wednesday.
Najib said the Government had contacted and sought the cooperation of Filipino authorities.
"I'm not dismissing any possibilities but the priority now is to obtain the release of the victims," he said.
A news portal reported that the rebel group Abu Sayyaf was believed to be responsible for the abduction.
Filipino military sources told Rappler.com thatr the two women were taken by six former Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) members who had joined Abu Sayyaf.