Philippines allows Malaysia to conduct 'hot pursuit' in its waters

PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia - Philippines has given Malaysia the licence to enter its waters in pursuit of kidnappers and militants terrorising Sabah's east coast.

This crucial decision was made during the bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and visiting Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.

Najib said the green light by Duterte was vital in stamping out kidnap-for-ransom activities that have plagued both countries.

This year, 10 Malaysians were being kidnapped by militant groups based in southern Philippines, of whom five are still held captive.

Apart from Malaysia, Indonesia has also been allowed to cross the maritime borders in pursuit of criminals.

"I appreciate President Duterte's practical way in stamping out this menace.

"Defence Ministers of the three countries will meet to sort out the standard operating procedure for this to be implemented soon," said Najib to reporters after the conclusion of his meeting with Duterte.

Duterte is here for a two-day official visit, his first after assuming the presidency in June.