Call to solve Manila’s claim on Sabah once and for all

PENAMPANG: The government of Malaysia and particularly the Sabah Barisan Nasional leaders, must provide a solution once and for all to put an end to the repeated claims by the Philippines on Sabah, said Parti Warisan Sabah deputy president Darell Leiking.

“The Sabah BN leaders must come out with a concrete solution once and for all vis diplomatic channels or through the United Nations to send a clear message to Manila that it should stop this act of provocation and drop their unsubstantiated claim over our Sabah,” said Leiking who is also the member of parliament for Penampang.

“How can you expect Sabahans to believe the assurances that this federal government is protecting Sabah’s rights and interests through BN when the Sabah claim has been repeated time and time again by Manila?

“Their threat could be real and imminent as we already know through the RCI that their citizens have already inserted and assimilated themselves into our society.”

He was expressing his disappointment with the  statement given by the government through the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anifah Aman, in response to the proposal by the Philippines federal government to include Sabah as the country’s ’13th’ federal state.

“I wonder if any of Sabah’s federal cabinet ministers deliberate on the Manila claim during their weekly federal cabinet meeting.

“If they haven’t, then I advise them to do so because this issue extends beyond politics or geo-politics.

“This is clearly an act of provocation by Manila not only towards Sabahans but also to Putrajaya and must be attended to immediately by the Malaysian federal government.”

Leiking said the fact that the BN government had not made any effort to provide a real solution to the IC Project only served to heighten suspicions that there could be more detrimental circumstances threatening the security of Sabah for which the government is unable to address.

“Could this be connected to the Philippines’ claim on Sabah?” he asked.

Leiking contends that if the claim by Manila has no basis,  then the BN-led federal government should have no problems at all to tackle the issue once and for all.

“I want to ask the Sabah BN leaders now, why would they trouble themselves to counter matters related to the state’s rights such as MA63 through the establishment of an official governmental body (Committee on State’s Rights) and non-official body (MySabah) and yet  unconcerned with setting up a special committee to investigate, deliberate and end once and for all the Manila claim over our sovereign Sabah?

“As a Sabahan, I deem it a serious issue when Manila bravely makes a claim on Sabah as the 13th state. I assume this may be the root cause for hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants boldly entering Sabah without any fear because they continue to wrongly believe that Sabah is theirs.”

The BN-led federal government cannot keep on saying it does not recognise the claim over Sabah by Manila just because the government thinks  the issue has no political backlash, Leiking said.

DAP Sabah chairman Stephen Wong said that a former Philippines senator is disrespecting international agreements, particularly that of the United Nations and the wishes of Sabahans when he, as a member of the Constitutional Amendment Advisory Council of the Philippines, recommended that Sabah should be listed as a territory of the Philippines.

“This is an insult to Sabah,” he said.

Wong stressed that Sabah’s sovereignty is determined by Sabahans. It is not for the rest of the world to do so. Sabahans have clearly demonstrated their wish through the Cobbold Commission’s report that they are prepared to form the Malaysia Federation with Malaya, Sarawak and Singapore.

Sabah is one of the founding partners of the Malaysia Federation, thus the sovereignty definitely lies with Malaysia. Therefore, the Philippines has no right to list Sabah as its state. This is a blatant provocation of Sabah and Malaysia! It is also showing disdain for the United Nations as the world body had already recognised Sabah as part of Malaysia, he said.

Wong said the Constitutional Amendment Advisory Panel should not accept this proposal as it is dangerous and potentially undermines the bilateral relations between Philippines and Malaysia. This is not good for the diplomatic relations between two countries.

Wong said if the Philippines really did so, it would only create instability in the region and cause hardship to the citizens in both countries.

On the other hand, Wong criticized the rationale of the federal government and Ministry of Foreign Affairs for paying lease money to the Philippines all these years. It was only after the incident of the Sulu invasion in 2012 that Malaysia ceased paying the lease.

Wong had repeatedly expressed his frustrations in parliament that the lease payment from Malaysia is directly recognising Philippines’ legitimacy of seeking a settlement to its claim on Sabah.

He had also repeatedly voiced out in parliament that the Malaysian government should stop this kind of payment after the formation of Malaysia as the sovereignty of Sabah undoubtedly belongs to the Malaysian Federation.

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