Incoming govt pushing claim to Sabah


The admnistration of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte will press the Philippines’ claim to Sabah, which is now being administered by Malaysia.

In an interview with the ANC’s #NOFILTER on Thursday night, incoming Foreign Affairs secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said the Duterte administration will stick to the government’s position on the Sabah issue.

“Sabah, my understanding is that we have not abandoned our claim to Sabah. We have a law that in fact says that we should continue with it,” Yasay noted.

“Our obligation and duty to pursue that claim is there, except that it has been placed at the backburner. But that will continue, maybe even perhaps giving more concern [under the Duterte administration],” he said.

Sabah is contested by the Philippines and Malaysia.

The Sultanate of Sulu first ruled Sabah until it came under the administration of British North Borneo Co. in the late 19th century.

In 1963, the British government made Sabah, then a colony of Britain,  part of the newly created Federation of Malaysia

The Philippines claims that Sabah was only leased, not ceded, to the British North Borneo Co., the administrator of the territory before Britain annexed it.

Heirs of the Sultan of Sulu continue to receive lease payments for Sabah.

Malaysia, however, maintains that the international community has been recognizing Sabah as part of its territory since the formation of the federation in 1963.

The Malaysian government was actively involved in brokering peace between the Philippine government and the Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Meanwhile, Yasay said Malaysia should rethink its role as broker in the peace negotiations, citing public perception that the Sabah dispute is closely tied with Kuala Lumpur’s role in the peace talks.

“The brokering of Malaysia has created a public perception that there was something tied to the Sabah claim and we would like to eliminate that,” he added.

“I think it would be the best interest for the Malaysians to pull back and so we can discuss the negotiations. The rejection of the BBL is one classic example that may probably make Malaysia rethink its position on this because it played the role,” he added.

Yasay was referring to the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law or BBL, which is still pending in Congress.

The BBL is the enabling measure for the creation of the Bangsamoro, an autonomous political entity in Mindanao, based on the final compact between the Aquino government and the MILF.

President Benigno Aquino 3rd had lobbied hard for the passage of the bill but was unable to muster enough support in the House of Representatives, even to secure a vote in the final session day before Congress adjourns for the election campaign.

Failure to pass the bill means it cannot be passed under Aquino, whose six-year term ends next week, with no certainty over whether his successor will even pursue a peace deal.


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  1. Yes, president-elect Duterte has assured us that he will push our nation’s claim of ownership of this big progressive land thru the rightful claim of the Sultanate of Sulu.Our previous presidents,except, the late strongman,F. Marcos, had belittled our chances of reclaiming what’s ours,because, of various national & international pressures,including, the lukewarm responses of noynoy to the clamor for military support ,at the time,Malaysian military,hunted down ,our countrymen, who had raised arms in defiance to declaration of all-out war, despite, being outnumbered & outfought.The futile effort of our brother Tausugs, Bisaya, & Maranaws will definitelygo down in history,as,heroic,albeit, there was little information about the skirmishes.

  2. While pursuing this claim we should also prepare the afp by continuing the modernization because Malaysia armed forces are more well equipped than the afp and our politicians and new president should not underestimate that we might go to war with malaysia in future. There is always that posibility. And we think of the usa again lol. The us will not intervene because malaysia is a former colony and ally of britain.

  3. Only the true-bloodied Tausogs,Maranaws,and Bisaya intermingle with each other,in Semporna, Tawau, or Sandakan, …while, Tagalogs find a hard time to survive in Sabah, much worse,in kota kinabalu. Malay language is not hard to learn,it’s peanuts to bisaya & ,Tausog,thus,business Filipino style flourishes & local traders feel comfortable & profitable.I stayed less than a month,in Semporna, yet, it was clear to me that Malaysian military seems hostile to Filipinos & they seem to be always threatened, by the presence of intellectual Filipinos.

  4. Ignacio Balbutin on

    Malaysia is not sincere to the Philippines, it talks of peace while supporting the muslim rebellion in Mindanao for the very reason that our claims to Sabah would be diminished. Until now, Malaysia is continually paying rent to the datus who actually owned Sabah which is a clear proof that Malaysia does not own it but only renting it. It’s a good development for the elected President. The constitution should also be amended because Cory deleted the provision in the constitution that Sabah belongs to the Philippines.

  5. Why Malaysia broker for peace in Southern Mindanao–for her to maintain the administration of Sabah. Another blunder that those PHL negotiating panel and the Aquino administration didn’t see–look in exchange thousand hectares of land for palm plantation (by Malaysian company) instead of helping Filipino coco planters/growers, Malaysian banks enter PHL,etc. In the past Indonesia is the on brokering the peace process. Why only MILF, they are the breakaway group from MNLF, then after this MILF, the BIFF-it is a continual saga because it is definitely tied up to Sabah claim. Malaysia initiate even infiltrate the bandits group to sew discord and terror. PHL government in Manila perhaps doesn’t see because of perceived collusion of military–to have funding pouring in–corruption in government is the big factor why this terrorism in Souther Mindanao cannot be control if not eliminated.

    • Jerome Suarez on

      To fear the Muslims from terrorizing, repeat what General Pershing’s soldiers did by rubbing their bullets into a pig’s fat or blood and the Muslims believe if you get shot by these bullets they will never go to their own paradise.