Published on: Sunday, January 20, 2013
MILF Chairman Murad Ibrahim said: "They came here (Sabah) to escape from the conflict and economic hardship. Sabah was a natural choice because it was nearby, peaceful and provided refuge and opportunities.
But with peace and order back in Mindanao, I think they will gradually come back."
He was speaking to reporters after attending a seminar titled 'Islam in South East Asia: Challenges and Hopes" at the Putra World Trade Centre, here.
He said, the MILF was very thankful to the Malaysian and Sabah state government as the organisation was in no position to help its members during the time.
They would also seek the Malaysian government's assistance to persuade the Bangsamoro refugees to return to their homeland.
He added that only the Bangsamoro who migrated to Sabah in the early 70s as war refugees were granted Malaysian citizenships.
Bangsamoro would also need the help of Malaysia to tap the rich natural resources in the area, said Murad.
"We're very rich in natural resources including marine resources in the area which are still untapped.
Both investors and the Bangsamoro people can mutually benefit from it," he said. - Bernama