Sabah elected representatives has called on the government to defend the sovereignty of the state, urging it to put an end to claims over the land from so-called heirs of the defunct Sultanate of Sulu.
Kinabatangan MP Bung Mokhtar Radin said the continuous claims over Sabah would not end as senators in the Philippines will use these claims as an agenda leading up to the elections in that country.
"All the candidates talk about the claims over Sabah. Anyone who threatens these claims in speeches or campaigns will lose," he said in the Dewan Rakyat today.
Bung, from Barisan Nasional, earlier intervened Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim's briefing session on the eight Filipino citizens who claim to be linked to the Sultanate of Sulu and their attempt to profit from Malaysia.
He said the issue is a source of worry among the people of Sabah, adding that the government must end these claims once and for all as Sabah no longer belongs to the Philippines after joining Malaysia in 1963.
Semporna MP Mohd Shafie Apdal concurred, saying that the people of Sabah are concerned over the claims and piracy in the waters of the state.
He added that the matter was personal to him and his family as one of his cousins' father, who died in a pirate attack, has not been found to this day.
Shafie, from Warisan, also called for solidarity from all Malaysians, adding that the issue should not be politicised.
"We often encounter systems that are easily undermined by these elements, and I hope that our defence and security systems can be enhanced to ensure the well-being of the people of Malaysia, not only in the vicinity but also in the tourism sector," he said.
The prime minister said the claimants have already taken legal action against Malaysia in four countries, namely Spain, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, whereas the Malaysian government had taken and was taking various counter-legal actions against them.
"Malaysia will continue its efforts to defend the sovereignty of the country through all relevant fields, including in the Netherlands, France, Luxembourg and any jurisdiction where the final award might be proposed to be recognised and enforced," Anwar said during the briefing session.
The government is also awaiting another decision in the Dutch Court of Appeal regarding the claimants' request to recognise and enforce the final award in the Netherlands, expected to be made on June 27, 2023.
He said that although the ruling on June 6, 2023 favoured Malaysia, the government has received words that the group would continue with its tactic of seeking enforcement of the final award in other countries.
"This action amounts to abuse and breach of the court and arbitration mechanism and process recognised at the international level."
Anwar said the government would not compromise on matters of sovereignty and national security, including prioritising the protection of national assets from external threats.
He said that the government would not hesitate to take legal action against any party, including Malaysian citizens, who disregard the interests and security of the country by providing any direct or indirect support and colluding with the claimants.
"For now, the police have initiated investigations against the claimants, decision-makers, arbitrators and other related parties under Section 124K of the Penal Code for the offence of sabotage."