Duterte flogging dead horse on Sabah claim

The sovereignty of Sabah resides with the people.

PRESS STATEMENT The claim made by the Philippine President Elect, Rodrigo Duterte, remind us on how weak our position is again when it comes to geopolitics.

Rodrigo Duterte is only repeating what has been said by the current President Benigno Acquino Jr. III and those before them for real, or popular political stance or a means to their relevance.

I take the view that there is an inherent dilemma now in the Philippines as there are many of them who believe Sabah is theirs. Notwithstanding that Sabah has been a Sovereign Nation all these while and which was affirmed in 1963 when North Borneo (Sabah), a nation recognized by the United Nation, decided its own future, the Philippine Government has always beaten the drum of the Sabah Claim.

The BN led Government has led the Federal Government for several decades now and despite the people of Sabah having had placed the full trust on security, diplomacy and the Nation’s interest to the Central Federal Government, we are still faced by the same claim and this time echoed again by the incoming President of the Philippines.

The huge presence of many illegal immigrants in Sabah and those who become overnight Malaysian citizens albeit their questionable background including the threats of Sulu Commanders being in every district in Sabah adds more fear and security discomfort to real Citizens of Sabah! The so called Royal Commission of Inquiry has become all but just another election propaganda albeit the same had been concluded a year back ago. I am certain, the so called solution will be peddled again just nearing the incoming election to blind those who had left full hope on a once and for all solution on the problem for decades now. It is really frustrating that everyone tries to find excuses for the delay when even the full transcripts of those who gave evidence in chief during the RCI remains elusive from the public domain other than a summarized one.

My recent question in Parliament over whether action had been taken against those who had been part of the IC Project in Sabah along with whether the alleged 600,000 IC having been issued by one former National Registration Official, Kee Dzulkifli, had been cancelled or otherwise had been met with a simplistic reply that action via detention and sacking of the officials involved had been made and that the 600,000 Identity Cards are mere speculations as only 28,510 Identity Cards had been cancelled.

I remain unconvinced by the reply and I aver that there is surely some truth to the evidence given by Kee Dzulkifli during the RCI hearing.

I had also asked this Government at parliament on several occasion on the status of the claim by the Phillipine Government on Sabah and also why would we continue paying the annual cess payment? The Government’s reply again is simplistic in that they will not recognize the claim and the payment continues to be made as it was an agreement.

All these are definitely not assuring Sabahans of what they had entrusted to the Federal Government and even the State Government.

With this and of the recent claim by the President Elect of the Philippines, I ask the State Government of Sabah and the Federal Government to immediately convene both the State and Parliament sitting to secure a total vote by all elected State Assemblymen and Parliamentarians to DEMAND the Philippines especially its Government to drop and to stop the claim over Sabah once and for all and reassert Sabah’s position as an equal partner of the Federation of Malaysia.

It is extremely disheartening to see our own Government officials playing dining and usual diplomacy with those in the Corridors of Powers in the Philippine who have repeatedly claimed Sabah unrepentantly and at their whims and fancies. More so since the same Philipino Governmet have not acted against those Tanduo Invaders / Conspirators in their Country and which inaction seems to infer that the Philipino Government may have acted complicit to what happened in Tanduo, Sabah in 2013.

When will this stop? When will Sabahans ever feel safe and will Sabah’s dilemma ever end.


Darell Leiking

Member of Parliament, Penampang, Sabah


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