Malaysia's Mahathir meets with PH Congress leaders

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 07 2019 03:59 PM | Updated as of Mar 07 2019 05:24 PM

Malaysia's Mahathir meets with PH Congress leaders 1
Senate President Vicente Sotto III and House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo meet with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, March 7, 2019. Photo courtesy of Speaker Arroyo's Office

MANILA - Leaders of the Philippine Congress met with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in Makati City Thursday morning.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III, former president and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and several lawmakers met with Mahathir for about 30 minutes at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel and discussed Manila's ties with Kuala Lumpur and relationship with the Muslim community.

"[It was] very cordial and of course he's a very wise old man so the legislators were asking him a lot of advice and queries about the successes of his economy,” Arroyo told reporters.

“We were recalling when he was Prime Minister the first time around, and how he truly advocated a distinction between fundamentalism and the proper interpretation of the Quran,” she added.

Malaysia's Mahathir meets with PH Congress leaders 2
Local lawmakers meet with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, March 7, 2019. Photo courtesy of Arroyo's Office

Mahathir arrived in Manila Wednesday night for an 2-day official visit. 

The 93-year-old leader, who had first ruled Malaysia for 22 years until 2003, met with President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday afternoon to discuss "cooperation in the political, economic, and people-to-people spheres."

Local lawmakers also discussed with Mahathir the Mindanao peace process, for which Malaysia served as a third-party facilitator and host of the peace talks.

"As far as policy is concerned, the biggest role of Malaysia in the time of prime minister (Mahathir) was his role in the peace process, and there is now the Bangsamoro which we reported to him,” Arroyo said, in reference to the new autonomous region in Mindanao. 

Currently the world's oldest leader, Mahathir returned to power in May 2018 in a stunning comeback, defeating Malaysia's long-ruling coalition.

- with a report from Reuters