Shafie demands Wisma Putra protest Manila’s plan to include Sabah in map on its passports

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah wants Wisma Putra to lodge a protest with Manila amid a proposed move to include the map of the Philippines that includes Sabah in its country’s passports.

Caretaker Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (pic) said Wisma Putra must summon the Philippines ambassador to Malaysia and lodge a protest over Manila’s continued actions to question the state’s sovereignty under Malaysia.

He said the latest proposal in Manila to include Sabah as part of the map in Philippines' passports was nothing short of a “provocation” and Wisma Putra must immediately take steps to voice Malaysia’s grave concerns over the matter.

Shafie was commenting on news reports last Thursday (Aug 20), in which the Philippines House Committee on Foreign Affairs had approved a Bill seeking the printing of the Philippines map through an amendment that includes its 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and Sabah on Philippines passports

According to news reports quoting Cagayan de Oro City representative Rufus Rodriguez, he said it “aims to emphasise and insist on our victory on the West Philippine Sea over China in the International Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, and our legal and historical rights over Sabah.”

“The inclusion of the map on our travel document is a strong statement that we are asserting our sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea and our EEZ,” he was quoted as saying by news organisations.

Shafie said that Sabahans had been assured of “full security and protection” when it formed the Federation of Malaysia in 1963 and as such, the Foreign Ministry must now react strongly in what he described was a violation of Sabah’s sovereignty and one which is an unnecessary provocation.

“Sabah is a sovereign state and this has been settled a long time ago,” Shafie said in a statement Monday (Aug 24).

He said that it was regrettable that the Philippines has acted contrary to the Asean spirit and fundamental principles of mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity and national identity of Asean members.

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