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Anifah: Manila confirms Sabah is ours

Free Malaysia Today logo Free Malaysia Today 9/2/2018 Tracy Patrick

a man wearing a suit and tie: anifah-sabah-2 © Provided by MToday News Sdn Bhd anifah-sabah-2 KOTA KINABALU: Manila has assured the Malaysian government that it does not intend to stake a claim on Sabah, Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said today.

The minister said he was informed by Philippine foreign affairs secretary Alan Peter Cayetano that an assertion by a former senator in his country late last month did not reflect the position of the Philippine government.

Aquilino Pimentel Jr, a member of the Philippine consultative committee on amending the 1987 Constitution, had said on Jan 30 that he would propose the inclusion of Sabah in the Philippines as part of the country’s shift to a federal system of government.

The statement was immediately rejected by Anifah and Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman who said that Putrajaya and the state did not recognise or acknowledge any claim by the Philippines or any other country.

Manila has largely remained silent after Pimentel made the remark.

However, Anifah today said Cayetano made it clear that Manila did not share Pimentel’s stand on the matter.

“I did not actually raise the issue with him when we met in Singapore two days ago,” Anifah told reporters at a Chinese New Year event here today.

“He was the one who approached me and clarified that the statement was a private opinion made by people who wanted to promote themselves.

“I think this is normal in all societies. People always raise sensitive issues so that others would pay attention to them,” he said.

The Philippine claim on Sabah is based on the argument that the British North Borneo Company did not have sovereign rights, and the British government, in assuming control of Sabah, did not acquire sovereignty from Spain under the Protocol of 1885 nor from the British North Borneo Company under the Protectorate Agreement of 1888.

Those in the Philippines who say that the state belongs to them claim that the British had only claimed sovereignty over North Borneo, as Sabah was then known, for the first time on July 15, 1946.

They also claim that in light of sovereignty over North Borneo being vested in the Sultanate of Sulu, the North Borneo Cession Order in 1946 constituted an unwarranted assumption of sovereign rights by the British Crown.

They say that the British move repudiated the contract of lease of 1878 which had merely ceded or given leasehold rights over the territory to Gustavus Baron de Overbeck of Hong Kong and Alfred Dent Esquire of London as representatives of a British company.

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