Parliament allows debate on Manila’s move to include Sabah in Philippine passports

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 27 Aug 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: Dewan Rakyat has approved an emergency motion to debate the recent move by Philippines to feature the map of the Philippines that includes Sabah in its country’s passports.

Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon allowed the emergency motion tabled by Datuk Liew Vui Keong (PH-Batu Sapi) under Standing Order 18(1).

"After considering the motion, I am satisfied that it fulfils the requirements of being a specific issue, of public interest and an urgent matter," Mohd Rashid said when ruling on Liew's motion in Parliament on Thursday (Aug 27).

Mohd Rashid, however, said that the motion will be debated in Dewan Rakyat's Special Chambers.

He set aside 30 minutes for a lawmaker to debate the issue and 30 minutes for the government's reply.

In tabling his motion, Liew noted that Sabah was part of Malaysia but the move by Philippines was a threat to Malaysia’s sovereignty.

"The House urges Wisma Putra to strongly protest against the move by Philippines to safeguard national pride and sovereignty," Liew added.

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 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 by news organisations.

On Monday (Aug 24), caretaker Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal demanded that Wisma Putra summon the Philippines Ambassador to Malaysia and lodge a protest over Manila’s continued actions to question the state’s sovereignty under Malaysia.

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