No Substance To The Claim By Philippines; Wisma Putra Has A Duty To Sabahans

JOINT STATEMENT: WE welcome the statement by the Foreign Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Yun Hussein that Malaysia does not recognise the claim by the Philippines over Sabah and that the same remains baseless and irrelevant.

This matter had been extensively and emotionally debated in Parliament recently pursuant to an urgent motion tabled by Parti Warisan Sabah MP for Batu Sapi, Datuk VK Liew.

It is very clear that both Malaysia and Sabah stand united in categorically opposing the provocative actions of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Philippines’ House of Representatives in approving the printing of a map of the West Philippine Sea (including its 200-mile exclusive economic zone) to include Sabah, on the passport of the Philippines.

In fact, it has been suggested that diplomatic relations between Malaysia and the Philippines be suspended as a result of these recent hostile actions.

It is therefore astonishing that the Foreign Minister has made a statement that the Chief Minister of Sabah, Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Mohd Shafie Apdal’s suggestion that this matter be dealt with on a government-to-government basis was tantamount to acknowledging that the claim has basis. Nothing could be further from the truth.

From the record, at no material time did the Chief Minister of Sabah suggest that there should be negotiations or consultation with the Philippines over the issue. The Chief Minister was fortifying the fact that foreign policy is recognised as a Federal matter in the Federal Constitution.

As a result, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs led by the Foreign Minister must take charge and communicate to the Philippines in no uncertain terms that their confrontational claims over Sabah are categorically unfounded and misguided.

Sabah has been consistent all along in stating that there is no substance to the claim by the Philippines and therefore, we trust that the Foreign Minister will do the necessary to protect our interests and security from the baseless claims.

The people of Sabah have exercised their rights to self-determination as a result of the Cobbold Commission of Inquiry which was then verified by the United Nations Mission.

The British Government had territorial sovereignty and continuous administration and occupation of Sabah before relinquishing sovereignty and jurisdiction to subsequently form Malaysia. This has been recognised by the United Nations.

We trust that this statement puts to rest the issue. The Foreign Minister should be reminded that we are on the same side after all in strenuously resisting any claim by the Philippines over Sabah.