The Philippines and Malaysia announced that they will continue political and economic cooperation, with an agreement to explore trade opportunities in Halal industry, following the recent visit of Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim in the country.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said that he and PM Ibrahim agreed to continue cooperation on political, economic and security matters. The two leaders also committed to expanding trade and investment opportunities, with focus on Halal industry, agriculture, food security and digital economy to boost efforts in line with post-COVID-19 pandemic recovery.
The potential union of the Philippines and Malaysia will have an impressive geographical territory stretching from Luzon and Palawan to Mindanao to Sabah and Sarawak all the way to Malaysia peninsula. This may be done in phases starting with economic and military cooperation leading to eventual political union as the final phase.
This close cooperation and eventual unification will also enhance the ability of the Malay countries to face up to Chinese encroachments in West Philippine Sea, and help peace and order in South Philippine Sea.
While Malaysia is relatively more prosperous with a GDP per capita it has also a smaller population base of 32 million compared to the Philippines 110 million. Malaysia lack workers; it employs more than 6 million migrant workers in labor-intensive industries like agriculture, construction and manufacturing. Our country, on the other hand, is a labor exporter with about 10 million Filipinos working abroad.
Open movement of people, trade, and other business transactions between Palawan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi to Sabah and other parts of Borneo will promote greater economic development in that area, enhance the manpower pool of Sabah and Sarawak, and reduce Malaysia’s need for migrant labor. Our country’s high population density specifically in major cities and young demographics will complement Malaysia’s low population density and relatively more mature demographics.
Political analyst said that the political unification will be a gradual and paced process. They said that a working group may be formed to make recommendations to both Malaysian and Philippine governments on the steps to achieve economic and political unification. A measure to be addressed is the formation of a Common Federal Parliament with defined powers over common concerns such as foreign relations, the identification and scheduling of measures for strengthening political and economic unity and enhancement of common defense.
The unity of the Malay peoples is an objective that rooted to their history. This unity is evidenced by our common physical features and the many common words between Bahasa Malaysia, Bahasa Indonesia, Tagalog and the Visayan languages.
In 1963, then President Diosdado Macapagal, Tunku Abdul Rahman of Malaysia and Sukarno of Indonesia worked out the Manila Accord of 1963 that seek to unite these three countries of Malay origin and aimed to strengthen cooperation among peoples who are bound together by ties of race and culture.
Political and economic cooperation among two countries will definitely directly benefit Palawan and many other provinces in the country. This will boost trade and investment including the Halal industry. Palawan has its newly formed Palawan Halal Ruminants Raisers Association that seek support from the Department of Agriculture (DA) to increase production and expand Halal trade in Palawan and beyond. As this development evolved. Increase in tourist arrival and new investment is ripe in Puerto Princesa and the rest of Palawan. The government already developed the seaport in Buliluyan which can cater vessels with regular sea routes to Kudat in Sabah.
The government has always projected an influx of three million tourists to Palawan via this Buliluyan-Kudat searoute and ferry service project formed under the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA). Both tourism, agriculture specially goat and coconut, and Halal industry will also benefit as well as other businesses and traders who need to ship products to and from Malaysia and vice versa.