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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Sabah rejects Manila’s claim over it

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KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government rejects in no uncertain terms any claim by the Philippines on the state, Chief Minister Musa Aman said.
“I have made our stand on this matter before. Let me once again clearly state that we do not recognise or acknowledge any claim by the Philippines or any other country on Sabah,” he said.
He said on Wednesday Sabah was part of Malaysia and that it had chosen to be and would continue to be a part of that sovereign nation.
”The people in Sabah choose to be in the state because it is in Malaysia. We have been enjoying peace, stability and economic prosperity within Malaysia,” he said in a statement.
Musa said this when responding to a statement by former Philippines Senate president Aquilino Pimentel Jr that he would propose the inclusion of Sabah in Philippine territory as part of the country’s shift to a federal system of government.
Pimentel is a member of a consultative committee that President Rodrigo Duterte appointed to review the 1987 constitution.
He said there should be a way that was acceptable under international laws to assert the Philippines’ claim to Sabah.
Under Pimentel’s proposal for a new federal government, Sabah would be the country’s 13th state after Northern Luzon, Central Luzon, Southern Luzon, Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas, Western Visayas, Minparom, Northern Mindanao, Southern Mindanao, and Bangsamoro.
Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman had said that statements by Philippine leaders wanting to claim Sabah as part of their country’s territory would only harm ties with Malaysia.
He described Malaysia’s bilateral ties with the Philippines as “excellent”. He said such statements reflected ignorance of history and international law by those making them.
Meanwhile, Parti Warisan Sabah deputy president Darell Leiking said the nation’s leaders must find a solution to end the repeated claim on Sabah once and for all.
“They must come out with a concrete solution via diplomatic channels or through the United Nations to send a clear message to Manila that it should stop this act of provocation and drop its unsubstantiated claim over our Sabah,” said the opposition lawmaker.
“How can you expect Sabahans to believe the assurances that the Federal government is protecting Sabah’s rights and interests through BN when the Sabah claim has been repeated time and time again by Manila?” he asked.
He also asked whether Manila’s repeated claim over Sabah had anything to do with the presence of illegal Filipino nationals in 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,” Leiking added.
Leiking, who is Penampang MP, said the government should reprimand Manila, just as Prime Minister Najib Razak did when America recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
He feared the claim may eventually turn away foreign investors from Sabah because the state would be deemed unsafe, especially when the illegal immigrant problem in Sabah had not been resolved. -FMT

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