Malaysia issues note verbale, rejects PH’s claim on Sabah

MANILA, Philippines — Malaysia has issued a note verbale where it rejected the territorial claims of the Philippines over Sabah.

In the note verbale submitted by the Permanent Mission of Malaysia to the United Nations dated Friday, it read that Kuala Lumpur “has never recognized the Republic of the Philippines’ claim to the Malaysian state of Sabah, formerly known as North Borneo.”

Malaysia also noted an October 2001 decision by the Judgement of the International Court of Justice on Manila’s claims over the disputed state.

The note verbale also included an opinion by Judge Ad-hoc Thomas Franck regarding the issue of Sabah.

“In light of the clear exercise by the people of North Borneo of their right to self-determination, it cannot matter whether this Court, in any interpretation it might give to any historic instrument or efficacy, sustains or not the Philippines claim to historic title,” Francks’ opinion stated.

“Modern international law does not recognize the survival of a right of sovereignty based solely on historic title: not in any event, after an exercise of self-determination conducted in accordance with the requisites of international law, the bona tides of which has received international recognition by the political organs of the United Nations,” he added.

“In light of the above, the Republic of the Philippines’ claim to North Borneo clearly has no basis under international law,” Malaysia wrote in the note verbale.

Malaysia, in the note verbale, added that it “categorically rejects” the excessive maritime claims arising from the Philippines’ claims over the Kalayaan Island Group, which, Malaysia said that the Philippines has not conformed to Part IV of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982.

Kuala Lumpur’s diplomatic note was in response to Manila’s submission to the UN last March 6, where the country asserted its rights over the Kalayaan Island Group.

The Philippines’ claims over Sabah once again made headlines after Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro “Teddyboy” Locsin Jr. reacted to a tweet of the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, where it read that Sabah is a part of Malaysia.

But Malaysian Foreign Affairs Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that he will summon Manila’s ambassador to Malaysia over Locsin’s “irresponsible” remark.

In retaliation, Locsin then summoned Malaysia’s ambassador to Manila.

The Philippines stakes its claim to Sabah from assertions that the Sultanate of Sulu rightfully owns the northern part of Sabah, as several historians believe the former Sultan of Sulu was gifted with the land in exchange for helping the Sultan of Brunei defeat his enemies.