Sunday, September 20

Strengthen Sabah’s defences, Shafie demands as Putrajaya dismisses Philippines’ claim over state

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Shafie ApdalKOTA MARUDU (Sept 15): Sabah will agree to Putrajaya’s refusal to negotiate with the Philippines on the country’s claim on the state but it must intensify its defence system to protect its people, said caretaker Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

“If the federal government does not allow negotiations, it does not matter. But enhance the defence system in Sabah. Do not promise battalion, do not promise boats but there are none here. Our people are prone to piracy. Intensify, help us maintain security… national sovereignty.

“Ask [the Philippines]for a consul general in Sabah. If you do not want to negotiate, it does not matter. We (Sabah government) can agree to no negotiations,” he told The Borneo Post after a gathering with the people of Matunggong, Tandek and Bandau today, at Goshen Adventist Secondary School hall.

“This is our rights. Sabah is part of Malaysia, it is not owned by any parties. But defend Sabah as a component of the Malaysian territory,” the Parti Warisan Sabah president added.

Shafie was responding to a statement by former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak on the latter’s Facebook page earlier today.

Najib had blamed Shafie for stirring up the Philippines’ claim over Sabah when Shafie, on August 28, urged the federal government to have a government-to-government talk with the country on an Asean platform level to resolve the issue.

In his Facebook post, Najib said Shafie’s “big mistake” will trouble Sabah for a long time as it had given legitimacy to Philippine’s claim over the state.

However, Shafie emphasized today that he brought up the matter as a way to safeguard the safety and security of the people in Sabah.

“We cannot possibly be robbed by pirates every year. We cannot possibly have our people be kidnapped. We cannot possibly have our people killed. Tanduo is a good example on how we can defend our security.

“They can talk. Promise to have a batallion, no battalion. It doesn’t matter. If they say there is no need for negotiations, there is no need for negotiations. We are firm but do not be firm and our people cannot be defended,” he asserted.

Earlier today, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein also said negotiating with the Philippines over its claim on Sabah would only mean that Malaysia admits that the claim has basis.

Hence, he said there was no reason for Malaysia to negotiate with the Philippines as Malaysia did not acknowledge its claim over Sabah.

“Before this, I have stressed many times that the Philippines’ claim on Sabah will not be entertained and Sabah belongs to Malaysia forever.

“It should be understood that the demands of the Philippines (over Sabah) are not only baseless, but also completely irrelevant. Malaysia does not recognise the demands,” he said through a statement on his Facebook page.

Hishammuddin said the Malaysian government remained steadfast in its stand and would not negotiate or entertain any claim on Sabah.