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Phl gov't agencies urged not to refer to Sabah as part of Malaysia

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - The Foreign Affairs Department today urged all government agencies not to refer to Sabah as part of Malaysia due to an existing Philippine claim over the resource-rich territory now controlled by the Malaysian government.

Foreign Affairs Spokesman Raul Hernandez said Memorandum Circular 162 issued by former President Gloria Arroyo in 2008 is an"existing regulation"and must be complied with by "all government departments, agencies and instrumentalities."   

"It is an existing circular which has not been amended or changed yet,"Hernandez told a press briefing.

Hernandez said the presidential directive discourages government agencies"from referring to Sabah, home to 800,000 Filipinos, as being part of a larger national or federal territory " and for them not "to make any act or statement expressing or implying any recognition of a foreign state's sovereignty over Sabah."   

"This is because of the existing claim that we have in that area,"Hernandez said. "It is important that we follow these guidelines of 2008 so that we have a consistent position regarding this issue."

Sabah is territorially disputed by the Philippines and Malaysia. A Philippine claim for sovereignty over Sabah has lain dormant for decades, but Malaysia continues to pay a yearly rent to the heirs of Sultan of Sulu, who claim to be the descendants of the original Filipino sultan who had control over the territory for centuries.

On Feb. 12, Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III sent his followers to Sabah to reclaim their homeland, which prompted a bloody crackdown by Malaysia.  

 

A PHILIPPINE FOREIGN AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT FOREIGN AFFAIRS SPOKESMAN RAUL HERNANDEZ HERNANDEZ MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR ON FEB PHILIPPINES AND MALAYSIA PRESIDENT GLORIA ARROYO SABAH SULTAN OF SULU
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