Spokesperson Salvador Panelo talked of the Philippines has a claim over Sabah, Thursday over what Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad declared that the country has “no claim” over the disputed territory said recently.
Newly-elected President Duterte said in 2016 that he would stake claim with the government’s original position on Sabah, which is to appeal the country’s claim over the territory.
A television interview on early Thursday, Mahathir strained that the Philippines has “no claim” over Sabah, “As far as we’re concerned, there is no claim.”
The Malaysian leader is likely to hold a “restricted meeting” and an extended bilateral meeting with Duterte in Malacañang come Thursday afternoon.
Panelo reiterated the two leaders will not discourse on the Sabah claim, “It is not in the agenda (of the meetings), as far as I know,” he added.
Sabah, or Northern Borneo, was formerly yielded by the Kingdom of Brunei to the Sultanate of Sulu. Sabah’s residents, however, voted to become part of Malaysia when it converted an independent state from the influence of Great Britain in 1963.
Recalling 2013, supporters of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III traveled to Sabah from Tawi-Tawi and occupied a village in Lahad Datu town to invoke his clan’s ancestral right to the eastern Malaysian territory. This flared out to an armed struggle with Malaysian security forces. Around 56 militants were slain with six civilian casualties and 10 Malaysian security forces. The rest of the militants were either seized or fled back to the Philippines.
Nine Filipino people were condemned to death by a Malaysian court over the attack in Lahad Datu.