KOTA KINABALU: United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) has urged the Malaysian government to continue ignoring any offer or proposal for negotiation on the Sabah claim by Philippines president-elect, Rodrigo Duterte.
“We do not recognise claims made by the Philippines,” said Upko acting president Datuk Seri Panglima Madius Tangau yesterday.
Madius fully supports Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s resolve that the people of Sabah had decided on their fate in Malaysia through a fact-finding mission by the Cobbold Commission which was recognised by the United Nations.
“I concur and absolutely agree with Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Mohamad who wrote, and I quote, in one of his articles titled – The Case of Pulau Ligitan and Pulau Sipadan [and the Sabah claim] at the International Court of Justice – that in one part of his separate opinion, which was recorded as forming part of the written judgment, was most noteworthy where Judge ad hoc Franck said that the Philippine claim to Sabah had become a purely historical matter because, whatever the basis, it had been overtaken by the exercise of self-determination by the people of Sabah in 1963,” he said in a statement.
As the incoming Chairman of ASEAN next year, Madius said Duterte should instead leads ASEAN and put to reality the ASEAN Economic Community. As the Chairman of ASEAN in 2017, his moral endeavour is towards exploring ways to bring about common prosperity, peace and stability into the ASEAN region.
“It will not be easy but we have set out what we need to do in the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint, and if all ASEAN members are united in facing these challenges together, the potential of an economy using the talents of 600 million people in ASEAN is phenomenal,” he said.
Madius also appealed to the President elect of the Philippines to concentrate on more pertaining issues faced by his nation.
“I hope the President elect will, sooner rather than later, understand that the growth in separatist, terrorist, and insurgency movements in the region demands for new ways of foreign policy conduct, moving away from a zero-sum game and instead focusing on capacity building and confidence building measures.
“Of major concern for me, being from Sabah, is the Mindanao region which is synonymous with poverty, illiteracy, wanton violations of human dignity, natural justice and human rights. These need his immediate attention,” he said.
Striking a balance between comprehensive military capability and the strengthening the Bangsamoro’s socio-economic and political capacities will be a sustainable solution contributing towards a stable regional security environment, he said.
“In this context, I appreciate our Prime Minister’s tireless efforts in the making the Mindanao Accord achievable. Malaysia, as the Third-Country Facilitator of the peace talks helped bringing the MILF and the Aquino government closer together, enabling the Peace Accord to be signed in October 2012.
“The importance of regional integration is undeniable and it is vitally important that all member states continue to co-operate through regional architecture and institutions. One of the key challenges for Malaysia and Philippines in moving forward will be to continue to adapt to changes in our regional security environment and to adopt a new security strategy to protect our national interests,” he added.