Malaysian lawmaker wants to cut diplomatic ties to Philippines

‘ Due to Abu Sayyaf terrorism and Sulu Sultanate claims to Sabah’

The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper - - First Page - ( Mindanao Examiner)

AMALAYSIAN LAWMAKER wanted to severe all diplomatic ties with the Philippines due to “long- standing terrorism threats” by Abu Sayyaf rebels and members of the Sultanate of Sulu. “If we can, we cut diplomatic ties with the Philippines because they do not have any link or claim on Sabah. The people of Sabah are living in fear,” Kalabakan MP Datuk Seri Abdul Ghapur Salleh – of the right- wing Barisan Nasional – said in the house Malaysia) Dewanof the on Rakyat March Parliament( 15, lower ac- of cording to a report by The Malay Mail. Abdul Ghapur also said that Sabah’s porous security has been a long- standing issue for the past 53 years and remains unsettled till today, citing recent statements by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who was reported by national news agency Bernama to have said the militancy threat on Sabah’s east coast has since spread to the west coast.

He chided Ahmad Zahid for his remarks, saying, he had been flooded with messages from concerned Sabahans who feared for their home state’s tourism and economy.

“We are very saddened because with that statement, which later got wide publicity, we fear that tourists will be afraid to come to Sabah,” Abdul Ghapur said, adding, Ahmad Zahid's statements have now created a climate of fear in Sabah.

He said “that though the Philippines no longer has any claim on Sabah, some of its people particularly those in the restive southern islands have trespassed on the north Borneo state and conducted raids, frightening Malaysians for over 50 years.”

The report – which can be accessed on this link http:// www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/ article/ citing- militantt h r e a t s - o n - sabah-bn- mp- tellsputrajaya-to- cut- diplomatic- ti - said Sabah’s porous sea borders has led to a flood of illegal immigrants for decades, particularly from neighboring Philippines and Indonesia, resulting in diverse socio- economic problems.

It added that Muslim terror cells based in southern Philippines, and a centuriesold Sulu ( Sultanate) clan seeking to reassert its dominance on Sabah have frequently conducted raids on the Malaysian state.

There was no immediate reaction from Manila about the lawmaker’s call to cut all diplomatic ties to the Philippines. Sabah is home to about 800,000 Filipinos, mostly Muslims from southern Philippines.

In February 2013, about 200 followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram headed by his brother Raja Muda, intruded in Sabah in an effort to exert its historical claim on the oil- rich state.

The intrusion – which occurred just as former Malaysian leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, proposed that Sabah be granted autonomy – sparked deadly clashes between the Sulu Sultanate members and Malaysian military forces.

Malaysia said it killed more than 60 of the sultan’s men and captured over 300 people who were either supporting or aiding the group of Sultan Jamalul, who later died due to multiple organ failure in his home in the Philippines. And Raja Muda, who escaped the Malaysian assault in Sabah, returned to the Philippines and died last year due to old age.

The Sultanate of Sulu - founded in 1457 and is be- lieved to exist as a sovereign nation for at least 442 years - obtained Sabah from Brunei as a gift for helping put down a rebellion on Borneo Island.

The Sultanate was a Muslim state that ruled over much of the islands off the Sulu Sea. It stretches from a part of the island of Mindanao in the east, to North Borneo, now known as Sabah, in the west and south, and to Palawan, in the north.

Sultan Muhammad Fuad Kiram I, the Sultan of Sulu and the Sultan of Sabah, said Malaysia illegally occupied Sabah which is still the property and sovereign patrimony of the Sultan of Sulu and the Royal Sultanate of Sulu.

Malaysia still pays a token to the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu around 6,300 ringgits each year.

Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III reading the Mindanao Examiner regional newspaper ( Library photo - Mark Navales)

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