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DFA: Malaysia paying rent for Sabah

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Malaysia does not acknowledge the Philippine claim over Sabah but the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) maintained yesterday that the Malaysian government is paying rent for Sabah, indicating it rightfully belongs to the Philippines.

The Malay Mail Online reported that Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said Malaysia has not and does not acknowledge the Philippine claim over Sabah when asked by media about the reported offer of the Philippine government to downgrade its Sabah claim in exchange for Malaysia’s support for its arbitration case against China before an international tribunal.

Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said the DFA has no plans to summon Malaysian Ambassador Dato’ Mohd Zamri bin Mohd Kassim in connection with Aman’s statement that Malaysia never recognized the Philippine claim over Sabah even if it is strongly supported by historical records and titles.

“We do not have any plans to do that. While they dismiss our claim but at the same time they are paying rent,” Jose said in a press briefing.

The Malaysian government pays RM5,300 per year as rental for Sabah to the heirs of the Sulu Sultanate.

Malaysia does not call it rental or lease but cession money, and the Malaysian government has been paying this RM5,300 since the formation of Malaysian Federation in 1963.

The Sulu Sultanate has for decades been pursuing its claim over Sabah, arguing that the region had been part of the sultanate’s empire and was only leased to the British prior to the creation of Malaysia.

Jose reiterated that the DFA note verbale on March 16, 2015 handed to a representative of the Malaysian embassy in Manila is not about Sabah, as he expressed the readiness of the DFA to clarify the matter in an executive session.

“We have historical records and titles to prove our claim to Sabah. And we are still pursuing this claim,” he said.

ACIRC CHARLES JOSE CLAIM DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS FOREIGN AFFAIRS MALAY MAIL ONLINE MALAYSIAN MALAYSIAN AMBASSADOR DATO MALAYSIAN FEDERATION SABAH SULU SULTANATE
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