The people of Sabah have chosen to be part of Malaysia – CM

Hajiji speaking at the State Assembly on Thursday.-Bernama Photo

KOTA KINABALU (March 24): The government of Sabah has never recognized and will not recognize the Sultanate of Sulu’s claim to Sabah.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Hajiji Haji Noor said the people of Sabah had decided to form a sovereign Malaysia recognized by the United Nations.

Hajiji said so while delivering the finance ministry’s closing address to the state legislature on Thursday.

He was interrupted by Tungku Assembly Member Assfal P. Alian, who told him he was proud of the Sabah government‘s stance on the Sulu claim.

“I am proud and thank you for the decision not to recognize (the request). I was there in 2013 when it happened in Tanduo. I also hope that this August Chamber will take a resolution to reject the request,” Assfal said.

He also asked if the Chief Minister would ask Putrajaya to come up with a thorough solution to prevent the claims problem from happening again in the future.

To this, Hajiji replied that it was very clear that the country did not recognize the claim of the Philippines and the descendants of Sulu at all.

“On the proposal of a thorough solution, it depends on the federal government, on Putrajaya. In Sabah, I am convinced that everyone is convinced that we do not recognize the claim.

“For me, the question has been clear from the beginning and until now. So we don’t need to politicize this because, as I said, our position was clear when we took the decision to create Malaysia together.

Senallang MP Datuk Seri Panglima Mohd Shafie Apdal then thanked the Chief Minister for his explanation on the security measures taken on the east coast of Sabah as well as the plans to establish brigades and battalions in Kunak.

Earlier, Hajiji informed the August Chamber that as part of security planning on Sabah’s east coast, the federal government had proposed setting up another brigade of the Sabah General Operations Force ( PGA) which will be stationed in Lahad Datu district and a PGA battalion in Kunak. district, establish a new PGA checkpoint at Kuala Sg Manalunan, Kinabatangan and Kuala Maruap, Lahad Datu, while Forward Operating Base (FOB) will be set up at Pulau Banggi, Kudat and Pulau Mabul, Semporna.

Hajiji said enforcement by Esscom and other law enforcement and security agencies is also on an ongoing basis.

Shafie said he hoped the establishment of the brigades and battalions would be monitored by the government of Sabah, as they are very important for the security of the east coast, which has an impact on the lives and the sector of the tourism.

As for Sulu’s claim, Shafie said the current chief minister has reiterated that the Sabah government has never acknowledged the claim.

“Even I, myself, have never acknowledged even if the slander that I went to Spain…it’s a matter (to be settled) by the federal government,” Shafie said.

He also recalled Indonesia’s claim to Ligitan and Sipadan several years ago, where the federal government took the case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and won against Indonesia.

“Now the claim (on Ligitan and Sipadan) is no longer raised.

“It is a basic fact of legality that Sabah and Semporna are part of Malaysia. I hope the government of Sabah will stand firm,” he said.

Kadamaian representative Datuk Ewon Benedick then took a stand and urged the 78 members of the August House to give their full support to the Chief Minister and his ministers for their firm stance not to recognize Sulu’s claim.

“If possible, let us all give our concerted support to this good leadership where we all share a similarity. All 78 members of the Assembly who are here today, beat your desks, raise your voices in support,’ he called and this was followed by the roar of support at August House.

Luyang Representative Ginger Phoong also rose to move a motion calling on the state legislature to uphold Sabah’s sovereignty.

On that note, Hajiji replied that if necessary, he would be presented at the next session of the assembly, but said that, without prejudice, everyone in the August House and the people of Sabah have been firm in their position not to recognize the claim to Sabah.

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