MANILA, Philippines – Malaysia does not acknowledge the Philippine claim over Sabah but the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) maintained yesterday that the Malaysian government is paying rent for Sabah, indicating it rightfully belongs to the Philippines.
The Malay Mail Online reported that Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said Malaysia has not and does not acknowledge the Philippine claim over Sabah when asked by the media about the reported note verbal for the offer of the Philippine government to downgrade its Sabah claim in exchange for Malaysia’s support for its arbitration case against China before an international tribunal.
“Is there a claim? We have never recognized any claim. The note is irrelevant.” Aman said
Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose denied that reported ‘offer’ and noted that they are still pursuing the claim over Sabah. He said they have no plans to offer Sabah to win Malaysia’s support.
“We do not have any plans to do that. While they dismiss our claim but at the same time they are paying rent,” Jose told media. He added that the Philippine’s Sabah claim is strongly supported with titles and historical records.
“We have historical records and titles to prove our claim to Sabah. And we are still pursuing this claim,” he said.
The DFA also clarified that the note verbal has nothing to do with the Sabah claim and said that it was not even mentioned in the note.
The Malaysian government pays RM5,300 per year as rental for Sabah to the heirs of the Sulu Sultanate.
Malaysia does not call it rental or lease but cession money, and the Malaysian government has been paying this RM5,300 since the formation of Malaysian Federation in 1963.
The Sulu Sultanate has for decades been pursuing its claim over Sabah, arguing that the region had been part of the sultanate’s empire and was only leased to the British prior to the creation of Malaysia.