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MANILA TELLS FILIPINOS TO CLAIM SABAH THROUGH INTERNATIONAL LAWS NOT FORCE


MANILA, Philippines - On March 19, it was reported that Manila had engaged a team of lawyers to study the country’s claim on Sabah amid clashes between Filipino gunmen and Malaysian security forces there.
The Philippine Star reported a senior member of the Philippine government as saying that the country had not given up its claim on the territory that has been part of Malaysia for decades.
“Are they kidding when they say we have given up our claim? We’re paying so much for the lawyers to study the claim,” Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras was quoted as saying.
But, he said, that any action by the country will be carried out according to international laws, and not through force, appearing to echo President Benigno Aquino III’s views.
The daily also reported Aquino as saying that his administration was drawing up a roadmap to end the dispute over Sabah peacefully.
Debates about the Philippine government and the Sultanate of Sulu’s claim on Sabah had resurfaced following an incursion into Sabah’s east coast by a group of over 200 armed followers of the self-styled Sultan of Sulu Jamalul Kiram III over a month ago.
The Sultanate of Sulu has laid claim to Sabah, saying it had merely leased North Borneo in 1878 to the British North Borneo Company for an annual payment of 5,000 Malayan dollars then, which was increased to 5,300 Malayan dollars in 1903.
Sabah, however, joined Malaya, Sarawak and Singapore to form Malaysia in 1963, after which Malaysia continued paying an annual stipend of RM5,300 to the Sulu sultanate on the basis of the sultanate ceding the Borneo state.
Malaysia Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had previously highlighted the Cobbold Commission’s 1962 referendum in Sabah and Sarawak, where about two-thirds of the people voted to be part of Malaysia.
Early this month, Malaysia’s Bar Council said the Sulu sultanate no longer holds any legal claim over Sabah.
  • Pointing out that the ICJ had recognised Malaysia’s rights and sovereignty over Sabah and the islands surrounding it during a territorial dispute in 2002.
  • The ICJ recognised Malaysia’s claim in its decision on the dispute between Malaysia and Indonesia over the islands of Ligitan and Sipadan, off the coast of Sabah, in December 2002. The Philippines had at the time applied to intervene in the case, but its application was rejected.
  • Both Malaysia and the Philippines are members of ASEAN, and the former was instrumental in brokering a peace deal in the southern Philippines.

Source: Yahoo News

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