PM to express thanks to Philippines leader over M'sians' rescue

VEENA BABULAL and TEOH PEI YING

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will be making a telephone call to Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to express his highest appreciation for the safe return of the Serudong 3 tugboat crew.

Najib said that Duterte had personally overseen the rescue mission of the five men who were abducted from their tugboat by the Abu Sayyaf in waters off Sabah.

The Philippine President said that the mission was to commemorate his 72nd birthday, two days ago.

Najib said that the three crew members who were last to be rescued – Fandy Bakran, 26, Mohammad Jumadil Rahim, 23 and Mohd Ridzuan Ismail, 32 – have expressed their wish to now join the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) in order to keep the waters of Sabah safe.

The Prime Minister said he had contacted Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim to expedite their appointments under the Department, and for them to be stationed in the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESScom) zone.

Najib, who spoke after meeting the trio and their families at his residence in Jalan Duta here, said that they will be sent to hospital for a medical check-up.

It is learnt that they will be sent to the Selayang Hospital, where fellow crew members Tayufin Anjut and Abdul Rahim Sumas are warded.

Najib hosted the trio’s reunion with their families, as he did Tayufin Anjut, 46 and Abdul Rahim Sumas, 63, on Monday.

The trio, who arrived at 8.20am, looked healthier than the two crew members rescued earlier.

The trio was rescued at 11.20pm on Sunday in Panglima Estino, Sulu province.

They were discovered 26km from where Tayufin and Abdul Rahim were picked up by the Philippines authorities three days earlier.