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No way, says Shafie
Published on: Sunday, July 22, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: There is no legal foundation for the Philippines to claim Sabah as part and parcel of theirs, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (pic).

"This is our country, this is our State, this is our land and for them to say that Sabah is part and parcel belong to them…no, no way," he said.

Shafie expressed his firm stand on the matter when asked about the recent statement by former Philippine Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr, who said he (Pimentel) will propose the inclusion of Sabah in Philippine territory as part of the country's shift to a federal system government.

"That should not arise at all, an international community like the Philippines knows very well referendum had been called in 1963 before we formed Malaysia," he said.

"In 1963, we have already been witnessed by international representatives whereby the collective voice of the rakyat in Sabah at that time together with Sarawak during the British colonial rule expressed their views and desire to form Malaysia.

"So legal documents, legal agreements, legal resolutions have been realised, and there is no legal foundation for Philippines to claim, as such when they said this is part and parcel belong to them… no, no way.

"This is our country, this is our State, this is our land," he said.

"They should abide by the law internationally … the Cobbold Commission was here way back in 1963," he added.

On whether he sees this a topic used by Filipino politicians to gain support, Shafie said "Well, I know that elections might be coming and we never know, this might be part and parcel for them to garner support coming from their own communities."

"But I don't think it is wise to do that because as part of the Asean countries, we are working together as a close partner, but we must also be sensitive between certain issues which is so dear to us Malaysians here.

"I remember I was then very young in 1963, my late mother brought me to Semporna and there was the Cobbold Commission, the late Tun Ghazali Shafie came to Semporna and we were there shouting 'Yes we want to form Malaysia'," he said.

It was recently reported that under Pimentel's proposal, the Philippines will be divided into 12 federal states and Metro Manila will be the 'federal capital' with Sabah being the 13th federal state.

"Once we have asserted our sovereignty and rights over Sabah, we should include Sabah.

Not only Sabah, but also Scarborough, Benham Rise, and Spratlys," Pimentel was quoted as saying.

The Sulu sultanate used to claim parts of the southern Philippines and Sabah.

However, being a republic, the sultanate faded into oblivion and discord over who should be the rightful heirs made pursuant of the claim academic.

In 1963, the British government transferred Sabah to the Federation of Malaysia.

The Philippines claims that Sabah was only leased, not ceded, to the British North Borneo Co.

The heirs of the sultan of Sulu continue to receive lease payments for Sabah but this was also stopped.

Malaysia maintains that Sabah is and would forever be an integral part of the nation. - Sherell Jeffrey

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