KOTA KINABALU: The Philippines' never-ending claim on Sabah should be a national agenda to be solved and not used as a political tool, says caretaker Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.
He said no one should look at this issue as a political agenda, and it should not be allowed to resurface every time an election is near.
“We want the Federal Government to officially have a government-to-government talk with the Philippines government through an Asean platform, ” he said.
Shafie said this claim was never properly dealt with in the past, and that is why it is still continuing.
“The claim itself needs to be erased and done with a long time ago, everything was written and finalised as per the Cobbold Commission when the Federation of Malaysia was formed, ” he said.
“There will be irresponsible parties that will use this issue to divide us Sabahans and Malaysians, ” Shafie said, adding it is vital that the nation stays united.
“Let’s not take advantage of this situation, if we don’t get down to stop this claim, it will escalate for the worse, ” he said.
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”.