Anifah didn’t dodge Manila claim, you did, Yong tells Shafie

(MMO) – SAPP president Yong Teck Lee has defended former foreign minister Anifah Aman over the latest Manila claim on Sabah, saying he had done his part to protest against the claim.

Yong said Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and former Sabah chief minister Musa Aman had also openly rebutted the Philippines’s claim on the state.

This was after Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodore Locsin Jr ticked off the US embassy in Manila, saying “Sabah is not in Malaysia if you want to have anything to do with the Philippines”.

It was a response to an embassy’s tweet that the embassy had donated hygiene kits to Filipino repatriates returning from Sabah.

“Immediately after the Locsin statement, it is on public record that Hishammuddin, Anifah and the former Sabah chief minister (Musa) had openly rebutted the Philippines,” Yong said in a statement here today.

“But there was not even a murmur from the (caretaker) Sabah chief minister (Shafie Apdal).

“The silence of the Sabah government was noticeable. What is there to hide?”

Yesterday, Shafie dismissed claims that he was quiet on the issue of the claim on Sabah, and questioned what Anifah had done when he was the foreign minister under the former Barisan Nasional government.

“We have already made clear our stand that Sabah does not belong to the Philippines. We oppose any such claim, just ask Zaleha,” Shafie said, referring to former Sabah attorney-general Zaleha Rose Pandin.

Zaleha and the former attorney-general in Putrajaya had previously brought the case to a Spanish court to challenge a claim made by descendants of the Sulu sultanate – the Kiram family – over the state.

Shafie also took aim at Anifah for not having conveyed Sabah’s stand to his Filipino counterpart when he was the foreign minister.

Yong said he had last June repeatedly challenged Shafie and former de facto law minister Liew Vui Keong to answer some questions about the Kiram family claim.

He said the claim was filed at the Madrid Arbitration Court in Spain in 2019.

“An international court case of this nature in a foreign country costs at least RM2 million. The Kiram family is known to be poor. So, from where did they get the money to fund their court case in Spain?

“The concern now is why the current Sabah government failed to defend and to openly rebut the Philippines/Sulu claim to Sabah.

“In fact, Warisan had given the flimsy excuse that the claim to Sabah is a federal matter. This is another irresponsible way of abandoning their responsibility to protect Sabah,” he said.