Published on: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Kota Kinabalu: Former Chief Minister Tan Sri Harris Salleh has proposed that the Malaysian Government permanently settle the long-standing issue raised by the Sultan of Sulu by way of a lump-sum compensation payment of RM200 million.
"I appeal to the Federal Government to consider settling once and for all the issue of the claim and the yearly payment to the Sultan of Sulu," he said in a statement, here, Wednesday.
He said the suggested amount of RM200 million was merely equivalent to the monthly expenses for the armed forces to control Sabah's coastline.
Towards this end, Harris said he had written to Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Tun Hussein that RM50 million is to be allocated from the RM200 million direct to the Sulu Sultan's descendants while the balance for the development of a Felda-style settlement scheme in Mindanao.
"This will benefit both the heirs of the sultan as well as the people of Mindanao," he said, adding that the Malaysian Government should deal directly with the Sultan of Sulu rather than talking to leaders of the intruders at Lahad Datu.
He said any confrontation of arms would definitely cause casualties on both sides. "It can be expected that Malaysian security forces will come out with flying colours. But the scars will remain forever, just like other countries such as Northern Ireland, Spain and many others.
"These unsatisfied issues will remain and crop up from time to time.
Therefore, it is in our interest, in particular Sabah, to have friendly neighbours," he said.
Harris said Malaysia must acknowledge that no matter what, it was impossible to control every part or metre of Sabah over a 1,000km coastline right from Tawau to Kota Kinabalu.
"Thus, it is important these issues be settled amicably once for all and be friends among the Malay stock countries.
Everything will then be running smoothly in the Asean countries to move forward to become a developed Asia.
China has already led the way.
"The issue on who and who are Sabahans or for that matter Malaysian, does not arise anymore.
All those citizenship with legally issued Identity Card are a fait accompli issue.
"Surely it is not the intention to trace the original Sabahans, who are reportedly only the descendants of Murut and Rungus.
The rest - the Malays, the Chinese, the Indians and others - were descendants of immigrants a few hundred years ago," he said.
People are free to go anywhere they like since it is expected that in the next 50 to 100 years from now there would be no more borders among the countries.