Stable govt important to protect country’s sovereignty, says Azalina

KOTA KINABALU: A stable government is needed to protect the sovereignty of a nation, said Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

The Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Law and Institutional Reforms) said a stable government would hinder opportunists such as the Sulu claimants and party hoppers from making a move to disrupt the current governance.

She said like in the rogue Spanish arbitrator Gonzalo Stampa and fraud Sulu claim incident, it happened because there was instability in the government.

Azalina said if the prime minister keeps changing, there will be parties who will try to take advantage of the situation.

That is why, she added, the people must allow this current federal government to do its job until the term ends to call for the 16th General Election.

It would be irresponsible to keep changing leaders and the government, she said.

“The Sulu claim is an example, the Batu Puteh is also an example. This is why in this Parliament session, I will bring the state immunity act up, so that we can have the highest protection against claims from other nations,” said Azalina.

This act is to ensure that no one can challenge the nation’s sovereignty in any way possible, she said.

She said in the Batu Puteh case, the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) is to investigate what and where went wrong as the issue of sovereignty cannot be taken lightly nor can one party decide on a nation’s sovereignty.

“What happened to Batu Puteh cannot happen to other islands under our control,” said Azalina.

The dispute over Batu Puteh and the nearby rock outcrop between the two countries started in 1979 and was referred to the International Court of Justice (IJC) in 2008.

The RCI comes after the loss of Batu Puteh to Singapore following a ruling by the IJC in May 2008, and the subsequent decision by the government in 2018 to withdraw a review application of the court’s decision before it was heard in June that year.

Azalina said mistakes were made in the handling of the Sulu claim case during the previous government, and lessons must be learnt from it, whether they like it or not.

Sovereignty is about borders, islands and a lot of other things, she said in explaining that the RCI helps the government understand about the process and procedure in sovereignty issues.

On the Sulu claim, she said their biggest battle to fight Sulu claims is through a stable government, hence the importance of implementing the anti-hopping law properly, instead of worrying about if this law has any loopholes.

Azalina said the anti-hopping law was drawn up and passed during the last government when Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri was prime minister.

“So now that they are in the opposition, they want to say that there are loopholes?,” she asked.

She said the focus of the current government under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is to enforce existing laws and not use the anti-hopping law in any power struggle initiatives.

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