When will this claim game end?
In the latest episode of who claims Sabah, the Philippines has just pulled the shocking move of approving a new bill that will print Sabah as part of the Philippine map on passports.
The Philippine House Committee on Foreign Affairs said that this bill, “aims to emphasise and insist on our victory on the West Philippine Sea over China in the International Arbitral Tribunal in the Hague, Netherlands; and our legal and historical rights over Sabah,” as reported by CNN Philippines.
Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, the author of the bill, added that “the inclusion of the map on our travel document is a strong statement that we are asserting our sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea.”
As many of you know, this isn’t the first time the Philippines has laid claim to Sabah as part of their territory. Previously, Foreign Affairs Secretary, Teodore Locsin Jr, tweeted a provocative statement, insisting that “Sabah is not in Malaysia.” This sparked outrage amongst netizens across Southeast Asia and even provoked a response from Malaysian Foreign Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, who called the tweet, “irresponsible”.
The dispute of territorial claims over Sabah started during the 18th century when Sabah’s east was ruled by the Sulu Sultanate, as reported by SCMP. The Muslim state had control over several islands. However, in 1878, the sultanate signed an agreement that gave the rights of the territory to the North Borneo Chartered Company (NBCC). The Philippines has since insisted that the agreement required a lease rather than just a formal cession that declared the state as NBCC territory.
What do you guys think of this new development?
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