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'Proposal on Sabah in Philippines passport is not an official stand'

PARLIAMENT | The proposal to include Sabah and 200 miles of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in a map in the passport of Philippines is not a new move, nor is it an official stand of the republic’s government, Deputy Foreign Minister Kamarudin Jaafar said. 

He said the matter was a proposal of a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of The Philippine House of Representatives to create a substitute bill to amend, replace or abolish the Philippines Passport Act 1996. 

“The ministry is monitoring closely House Bill 6399 by a member of Philippines House of Representatives. 

“The proposal tabled is not the official stand of the Philippines government, it is a polemic deliberately repeated by Filipino politicians to solely garner support in their local politics,” 

Kamarudin said when winding up a motion in the Special Chambers session in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday. He said the government is considering various options as a reaction based on the development of the situation or status of the bill proposal. 

“The ministry would not hesitate to take stern actions. Our options are not only limited to actions we can take before (submission of protest note, issuing media statement or calling Philippines’ Ambassador to the ministry),” he said. 

Kamarudin stressed that Malaysia would not compromise or recognise any forms of claims by any foreign parties on Sabah. 

He also stressed that the claim on Sabah by the Philippines was baseless and irrelevant as Sabah is a state of the Federation of Malaysia as enshrined in the Cobbold Report dated Aug 1 1962. 

Commenting further, he said on Sept 14, 1963, the United Nations Secretary-General reported to the UN General Assembly that the people of Sabah had chosen to join Malaysia while on Sept 16, 1963, Sabah joined the Federation of Malaysia officially. 

Earlier, Liew Vui Keong (Warisan-Batu Sapi) brought the motion to discuss the issue of including Sabah and the EEZ in the map on the front page of Philippines passport with the aim of laying the country’s claims on Sabah. - Bernama

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