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'Private claim, flogging dead horse': Leiking slams Filipino senator over Sabah claim
Published on: Saturday, October 01, 2022
By: FMT, Predeep Nambiar
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Darrell Leiking says Filipino senator Francis Tolentino was ‘flogging a dead horse’ with his demand to the Philippine government.
Darrell Leiking says Filipino senator Francis Tolentino was ‘flogging a dead horse’ with his demand to the Philippine government.
PETALING JAYA: A Filipino senator’s demand for Manila to reclaim Sabah based on the RM62.59 billion arbitration award to the heirs of the Sulu sultanate is out of order, says a Sabah opposition leader.

Warisan deputy chief and Penampang MP Darell Leiking said with the current Philippine government under president Ferdinand Marcos Jr having decided that the award was a “private claim”, the senator was “flogging a dead horse”.

Sabah remains firmly a territory of Malaysia under international law since 1963, and no claim can override that, he added.

Leiking was referring to a remark made by the president’s press secretary, Trixie Cruz-Angeles, who had said the arbitration award to the heirs of the Sulu sultanate was not a matter of sovereignty but related to a “private claim”.

On Wednesday, Philippine senator Francis Tolentino urged the new foreign secretary to “seize the opportunity” to reclaim Sabah based on a win by the sultanate’s heirs at the arbitration court in Europe.

Leiking said Tolentino failed to see that the win was ludicrous, as the heirs used the arbitration route which was wrong when the claimants should have pursued their claims to reinstate a RM5,300 monthly payment via the High Court in Sabah.

Leiking said in view of the senator’s outrageous call, Wisma Putra should summon the Philippine ambassador to Malaysia and issue a warning over the senator’s statement.

“Also, it is ironic that Tolentino is recognising a claim made by a Sulu sultanate, which the country itself had not recognised. The last I checked, his country was a republic,” he told FMT.

A French arbitration court ruled in March that Malaysia had to pay the sultan of Sulu’s descendants at least RM62.59 billion in compensation.

Under an 1878 agreement, the then sultan of Sulu, Sultan Jamal Al Alam, ceded sovereignty over large parts of Sabah to Baron de Overbeck, the then maharaja of Sabah, and British North Borneo Company’s Alfred Dent – who agreed that they and their future heirs were to pay the heirs of the sultan 5,000 Mexican dollars (or RM5,300) annually.

Malaysia took over these payments when it became the successor following Sabah’s independence and the formation of Malaysia in 1963. Payments ceased to be made in 2013 following an armed incursion into Lahad Datu, along the eastern coast of Sabah.

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