MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Friday, September 30, 2022

PH urges govt to condemn latest claim on Sabah by Filipino senator


Filipino senator Francis Tolentino had urged the Philippines’ foreign secretary Enrique Manalo to stake its claim on Sabah following an arbitration award to descendants of the sultan of Sulu in March. (Wikipedia pic)

PETALING JAYA: Sabah Pakatan Harapan (PH) is urging the government to condemn a Filipino senator’s recent statement calling on his country to stake its claim on Sabah following the RM62.59 billion arbitration award handed down in favour of the sultan of Sulu’s descendants in March this year.

At a senate committee hearing on Wednesday, Filipino senator Francis Tolentino told his country’s foreign secretary Enrique Manalo that the Philippines should “seize the opportunity” to pursue its claim on Sabah following the heirs’ victory.

“Whether that was initiated by a private group is irrelevant. The implication is that we own Sabah,” ABS-CBN quoted Tolentino as saying.

Describing Tolentino’s statement as “dangerous”, Sabah PH said the remarks should be regarded as a challenge to Malaysia’s sovereignty and a threat to Sabah’s security.

“We have recently seen an arbitration award made against the Malaysian government, and now we have a senator openly demanding his government stake their claim on Sabah,” Sabah PH said in a statement.

“How many more threats to Sabah and its people will be made before the federal government takes serious effort to decide on a workable and concrete solution to this decades-old problem?”

The statement was signed by Upko president Wilfred Madius Tangau, state PH chairman Christina Liew, and the respective component party leaders in the state, namely, Frankie Poon (DAP), Dr Sangkar Rasam (PKR) and Lahirul Latigu (Amanah).

During the hearing on Wednesday, Tolentino also claimed that there were 750,000 Filipinos living in Sabah who are stateless, without social security and health benefits.

Sabah PH said that statement by Tolentino was an acknowledgment that those Filipinos were illegal immigrants.  The Philippines government must be prepared to receive them should they be repatriated, it added.

“It would not be exaggerating to say that this statement could incite hatred and growing resentment towards the Malaysian government and the state of Sabah due to the alleged ill-treatment they face here,” Sabah PH said.

A French arbitration court ruled in March that Malaysia had to pay the sultan of Sulu’s descendants at least RM62.59 billion in compensation.

Under an 1878 agreement, the then sultan of Sulu, Sultan Jamal Al Alam, ceded sovereignty over large parts of Sabah to Baron de Overbeck, the then maharaja of Sabah, and British North Borneo Company’s Alfred Dent – who agreed that they and their future heirs were to pay the heirs of the sultan 5,000 Mexican dollars (or RM5,300) annually.

Malaysia took over these payments when it became the successor following Sabah’s independence and the formation of Malaysia in 1963.  Payments ceased to be made in 2013 following an armed incursion into Lahad Datu, along the eastern coast of Sabah. - FMT

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