Sabah parties want Wisma Putra to firmly object over Manila’s Sabah claim

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah political parties want Wisma Putra to lodge a strong protest against Manila’s proposed move to include Sabah in their maps, and to be printed in their international passports.

Amanah youth information chief Khairuddin Daud said that Wisma Putra must be firm on its stand on the persistent moves by Manila to lay claim to Sabah with the latest proposal to include Sabah as part of the Philippines' territory in their passports.

“We cannot take a soft stand on the matter and continue to be firm that Sabah is an integral part of Malaysia under the Malaysia Agreement 1963, ” he said in a statement Tuesday.

His statement comes after caretaker Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal on Monday asked Wisma Putra to call Philippines Ambassador to Malaysia to lodge a protest with the proposed move by the Philippines Foreign Affairs committee.

He said that the federal government under Perikatan Nasional should take all steps necessary to put an end to the Sabah claim by the Philippines.

“As the federal government, they should not fail in their duty to defend and protect Sabah as agreed under the Malaysia Agreement 1963, ” he added.

Shafie had said that the proposal in Manila to include Sabah as part of the map in Philippines' passports was nothing short of provocation and Wisma Putra must immediately take steps to voice grave concerns over the matter.

Last week, 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 Philippine passport.

According to news reports quoting Philippines Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, the move "aims to emphasize 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 by news organisations.

Opposition Sabah Progressive Party president Datuk Yong Teck Lee in a Tweet suggested that Malaysia should not allow Filipinos from entering the state if they held such passports with a map of Sabah.

In a tweet referring to the latest move in Manila, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Tun Hussein said; “I’ve made Malaysia’s stand on Sabah clear before, there is no question about it.... Sabah will forever be part of Malaysia.”

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