KUALA LUMPUR: The Philippines today strongly condemned what it described as the savage murder of a Malaysian hostage by the Abu Sayyaf Group.
Its embassy here said the Philippine authorities would continue to pursue the perpetrators of the criminal act until they were brought to justice.
International media reports said Bernard Then Ted Fen, 39, was beheaded yesterday after having been kidnapped by gunmen from a seafood restaurant in Sandakan in May.
Then was reportedly killed in a secluded location believed to be a stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf militants in the southern Philippines.
The embassy, in a statement, described the atrocity perpetrated by the Abu Sayyaf as inhumane and unjustifiable.
“We wish to extend our deepest condolences to his (Then’s) family and loved ones for this tragic loss. We hope and pray that his family will have the strength and fortitude to overcome this very difficult time in their lives,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, MCA said the party was horrified at the savage execution of Then.
“We mourn with Mrs Then and all other next-of-kin, but we also know that no amount of condolence messages will offer any solace or comfort to the grieving family,” said MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong in a statement.
Wee said action must be taken by the government of Malaysia and the Philippines immediately not only for justice but also to restore confidence in the security of Malaysian territory.
“The Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) must beef up security reconnaissance and surveillance in the waters between Sabah and Jolo, Basilan, Mindanao and other islands in the southern Philippines,” he said.
Wee said the current APEC Summit in Manila and the 27th ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur provided the appropriate and timely avenues for more security and intelligence exchange between the governments of Malaysia, the Philippines and all other ASEAN partners to check and annihilate the growth of Abu Sayyaf or any
other splinter militant group. – BERNAMA