Get Manila to establish consulate in Sabah, Yong urges Putrajaya

KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia must follow up its legal victory against the so-called heirs of the defunct Sulu sultanate by getting the Philippine government to establish a consulate in Sabah.

"By setting up a consulate in Sabah, the Philippines would be telling its own people in the Philippines to forget about their fanciful claim to Sabah," said former chief minister Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee in a statement on Wednesday (June 28).

"To move the success forward and to once and for all put a definite end to the Philippines/Sulu claim to Sabah, the Malaysian government must do its utmost in getting the Philippine government to set up a consulate in Sabah," he added.

Historically, he said, Sabah had never been owned or ruled by Sulu or the Philippines at any time in the history of Sulu or the Philippines.

On Tuesday (June 27), the Court of Appeal in the Hague, the Netherlands, decided in favour of Malaysia on compensation claims by eight self-proclaimed heirs of the defunct Sulu sultanate against Malaysia.

The court's decision marks the nation's third successful bid at thwarting attempts by the claimants seeking compensation totalling US$14.94bil (RM68.8bil) against Malaysia since 2019.

They had failed in their bids in Spain and France earlier this year.

On another note, Yong, who was also Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president, said there was no necessity to bring the Philippines/Sulu claim to the International Court of Justice.

This was because, he said, Malaysia had already successfully defeated the attempt of the Philippines to bring its claim to the ICJ via the Pulau Ligitan/Sipadan case in 2001.

"The ICJ had ruled that the Philippines had failed to show that it has 'an interest of a legal nature' in the Ligitan/Sipadan case.

"The Philippines had attempted to intervene in the Ligitan/Sipadan case between Malaysia and Indonesia by saying that they (Philippines) owned the Ligitan/Sipadan islands by virtue of their claim on Sabah.

"That adventure by the Philippines was thrown out by the ICJ (in 2001)," Yong said.

He added there was ample documentary evidence to show that neither the now defunct Sulu Sultanate nor the Republic of Philippines had ever ruled any part of North Borneo (now Sabah).

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