MARLENA NIP WRITES –  From missing airlines to kidnapped tourists, Malaysia struggles to stay out of the bad spotlight. Media outlets from all around the world are capturing the most recent kidnapping that occurred on an island off the eastern coast of Sabah.

It was reported that last week an armed Filipino group, suspected to be Abu Sayyaf, kidnapped two women, one Chinese tourist and one Filipino hotel worker.  The group arrived at the Singamata Reef Resort by speed boat, allegedly proceeding to abduct the women. As if an isolated armed group wasn’t threatening enough, this one in particular has been linked to Al Qaeda. Though this is not the first horror story to come from the coast of Sabah, kidnappings have been occurring more frequently.

Mohammad Mentek, an Eastern Sabah security general, commented that there has been communication between the families and the kidnappers. What Mohammad avoided to discuss is whether ransom negotiations have started between the parties.

Malaysia Chronicle looked into the details of the Chinese woman, Gao Huayun. Gao could be held for higher ransom due to her recent acceptance into a British University’s MBA program. Although the Chinese ambassador to Malaysia claims that this incident has not hindered relations between China and Malaysia, other media sources say otherwise. Ever since the disappearance of flight MH370, Chinese media has been in an uproar, making growing tension between the two countries apparent. This recent kidnapping of a well off Chinese woman will do anything but quell the building tension.

Across the ocean in the West, the United States advises citizens to avoid traveling to Eastern Sabah in the aftermath of the abduction. China has not taken the same precautions.

It seems like Malaysia keeps taking hit after hit. But what doesn’t kill Malaysia will only make it stronger, right?