KUCHING, Sept 30: Pakatan Harapan (PH) Sabah has described the recent statement from a Philippine Senator urging his country’s Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to “seize the opportunity to stake the Philippines’ claim on Sabah” as dangerous and a serious threat to the security of Sabah and its people.
In a joint statement by member parties under PH Sabah, its chairman Datuk Christina Liew has urged the Malaysian government to strongly condemn the dangerous statement made by Senator Francis Tolention.
It was reported that Tolentino made the assertion during the Commission on Appointments committee hearing on DFA secretary Enrique Manalo’s nomination, following an arbitration award that was granted to the purported heirs of the Sulu Sultanate against the Malaysia government.
Tolentino said the implications of the arbitration award were clear in that the Philippines “owns” Sabah — where he noted that 750,000 Filipinos lived without health, social security benefits and were “stateless”.
To this, Liew said the continuing claim on Sabah is a reflection of continuous failure of the Malaysia government to truly understand and decide on definitive solutions to the longstanding issue of the huge presence of the four categories of alleged Filipino immigrants in the region – refugees, stateless person, illegal immigrants, and those who have obtained Malaysian identification cards illegally.
“We believe the numbers are higher, but nevertheless a figure of 750,000 is still very significant and must be taken seriously by our government.
“If indeed such a huge presence is shown to be officially true, what are the actions of our Federal government to address this matter? Since Senator Tolentino acknowledged that these are Filipinos and are stateless in Sabah, they are therefore illegal immigrants and should be repatriated back and that the Philippine government must be prepared and willing to accept them back,” she said.
Liew also opined that it would not be an exaggeration to say that this statement could incite hatred and growing resentment towards the Malaysian government and Sabah due to alleged ill treatment faced by the huge number of Filipinos living in Sabah.
“We have recently seen an arbitration award made against the Malaysian government and now we have a Senator openly demanding his government to stake their claim on Sabah.
“How many more threats to Sabah and its people should be made so that the Federal government will take serious steps to decide on workable and concrete solutions to this decades-old problem?” she questioned.
The statement was jointly issued by United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation (UPKO) president Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Madius Tangau, Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sabah chairman Datuk Frankie Poon, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sabah chairman Datuk Dr Sangkar Rasam and Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) Sabah chairman Lahirul Latigu. — DayakDaily