Received Date: 08/28/2018 • Accepted Date: 04/04/2019
The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), under the leadership of Nur Misuari, started the contemporary Moro rebellion in the 1970s. In its fight against the Philippine state, the group’s early supporter was an external actor, namely, Malaysia. As the Philippine sources reported, Malaysia supplied the Moro fighters with weapons and ammunition to fight the Philippine army.1 There was also evidence that Moro fighters were trained by the Malaysians in Pulau Pangkor and Sabah.2 In addition, Malaysia became the initial conduit for internationalizing the plight of the Moro people and the struggle of the MNLF. In 1972, Tunku Abdul Rahman, then Malaysian Prime Minister and Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), raised the Moro case to the OIC members and convinced them to support it.3 Likewise, Tun Abdul Razak bin Hussein, another Prime Minister of Malaysia, called for the same appeal during the Islamic Summit Conference in Pakistan in 1974. He stated, “We seek to give our Muslim brothers a rightful place in a peaceful world.”4 In the same way, the Moros saw the Malaysians as their natural allies, a perception based on their common ethnic ties.5 Their shared religion served as another factor in establishing close relations.6 Accordingly, their bond served the MNLF in their battle against the Philippine state since it provided international support and legitimacy to the group.