Sabahans Deserve To Know Entire Story On Sulu Claim Says Anifah


 
Former foreign minister Anifah Aman says Dewan Rakyat should be allowed to debate the Sulu arbitration issue without revealing ‘confidential matters’. (Bernama pic)PETALING JAYA: The seizure of Petronas assets in Azerbaijan by the alleged heirs to the Sulu sultanate has raised key questions surrounding sovereignty and security in Sabah, says former foreign minister Anifah Aman.
He said that while the Cabinet has set up a task force to investigate the matter, and Petronas has issued a statement explaining that its assets had been divested and repatriated, Sabahans deserve to “know the entire story”.
“The seizure was made based on (a) claim which we do not recognise. The fact that the assets can be seized is tantamount to foreign interference (and) does not respect our non-recognition of the Sabah claim,” he said in a statement.
“What else can these heirs seize with the help of foreign nations? Can they seize land in Sabah, too? When that happens, what will happen to Sabahans? Will (the) Sabahans end up as beggars in their own land?

“This is something that the government must explain to all of us,” he said.
The heirs of the Sulu sultanate are seeking to enforce an award of US$14.9 billion as compensation for ceding Sabah to Malaysia under an agreement signed in 1878.
Although Malaysia had compensated the heirs when it became the successor of the agreement following Sabah’s independence and the formation of Malaysia in 1963, these payments – equivalent to RM5,300 a year – ceased in 2013 after an incursion by armed men into Lahad Datu, along the eastern coast of Sabah.
Last week, writs of seizure were issued against two Luxembourg-based units of Petronas, which described the seizure as “baseless” and that the companies had divested their assets.
Anifah also said that a motion to debate the Sulu arbitration issue, which was put forward by Kota Belud MP Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis, should be allowed.
On Monday, Isnaraissah was ejected from the Dewan Rakyat and suspended for two days after getting into an argument with Speaker Azhar Harun.
She questioned why her motion to debate the issue was rejected three times, asking if the Dewan Rakyat did not care about the matter since it only concerned Sabah.
Azhar said yesterday that openly debating the Sulu arbitration issue in the Dewan Rakyat would jeopardise Malaysia’s position in the ongoing court proceedings as it was foolhardy to reveal Putrajaya’s strategy for the litigation proceedings.
While Anifah agreed that it would be unwise to reveal Malaysia’s strategy on how to deal with the issue, he said MPs were not asking the government to reveal anything confidential during the debate.
“MPs, especially Sabahan MPs, want to debate this issue because it is an issue that concerns every Sabahan. It is their right to raise this issue in Parliament,” said the Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS) president.
“I understand that the motion has been submitted again to the Speaker’s office, and I hope that the Speaker will allow the issue to be debated.
“What’s the use of practising democracy if basic questions pertaining to our sovereignty cannot be debated.” - FMT


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