The Department of Foreign Affairs has committed a dreadful diplomatic blunder and an act of treason in downgrading Sabah claim, just to win the support of Malaysia against China on the disputed claim on the Spratlys group of Islands.
The quid pro quo was contained in a note verbale handed by the Department of Foreign Affairs to a representative of the Malaysian Embassy over the week, following the visit of Malaysian Defense Minister Dato Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein in Manila.
Although the note was unsigned in the stricter sense of the word, the DFA is betraying the country’s sovereign claim over Sabah. Although, the tumultuous claim over the North Borneo, remains unsolved, the quid pro quo approach is uncalled for as it not applicable approach as the dispute over the Spratly and Sabah issues, are two different cases.
In 1878, Sulu Sultan Jamalul Alam Kiram leased North Borneo to the Hong Kong-based British North Borneo Co. of Baron Gustavos von Overbeck and Alfred Dent for 5,000 Malaysian dollars a year.
In 1946, Overbeck and Dent, without permission from the Sultan, transferred the territory to the British government when the company ceased operations, but was annexed to Malaysia in the Federation of Malaysia.
The Sabah claim must first be resolved first by the Philippine government by recognizing the real successor to the throne of The Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo which was left by Jamalul Kiram II after he was poisoned to death in Kudat, Malaysia, in June 6, 1936.
Jamalul Kiram II is also known as Sahibul Gary Abdurajak in Sulu and also known in Borneo as Sahibul Rae, is the signatory to the Carpenter Agreement with then Governor of the Department of Mindanao and Sulu, Frank W. Carpenter.
The signing was done in March 22, 1915 following the abrogation of the Bates Treaty in March 21, 1904.
The pending claim of the Philippines over Sabah will be watered down, as soon as Malaysia considers the offerred proposal exhibited by the Philippines, via the quid pro quo approach.
It can be noted that in May 6, 2009, Malaysia and Vietnam has jointly submitted to the United Nations Commission on the Limits on the Continental Shelf using the baseline of 350 nautical miles. Malaysia had already manifested its ambition against the Philippines, by using their projection on Sabah’s outermost tip.
The Philippine as a sovereign country should learn history, not complacency on issues concerning territorial claims and territorial integrity against any country or government.
However, the note verbale is diametrically opposed to the previously submitted note to the United Nations Secretary-General by the Philippines, protesting the submission made by Malaysia on August 4, 2009.
So the question at hand, right now…. Why is that the Philippine government through the Department of Foreign Affairs is backtracking on the previous protest?
There might be overlapping issues on some parts in the Spratlys where the 200 NM Exclusive Economic Zones of the Philippines and Malaysia, but it can be settled under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), where a state is entitled to 12-nautical-mile territorial sea over which it exercises sovereignty.
Dropping Sabah claim to win the support Malaysia against the illegal incursion of China on the territorial waters of the Philippines under the 12-nautical-mile territorial limit, is an act of cowardice and is non-negotiable.
The Department of Foreign Affairs deserves a bitch-slapping before facing the firing squad.