Channel NewsAsia

Malaysia asks Philippines not to threaten ties over Sabah claim

Malaysia's deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi urges the Philippines to "take more reasonable actions" to maintain ties between the two. 

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's deputy prime minister has appealed to the Philippines to be "rational" after a presidential candidate reportedly said he would pursue a claim for the Malaysian state of Sabah if elected.

"Our stance is very loud and clear as mentioned by our foreign minister," said Mr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Wednesday (Mar 2) in response to a question by Channel NewsAsia. "The position of Sabah (as part of Malaysia) is recognised by the United Nations.  Agreements and surveys have been carried out and the people of Sabah back then chose to be in Malaysia."

"If there are any parties who are competing for a position in any country, including neighbouring countries, we want to tell that party that they have to look at the international conventions that have given sovereignty to Malaysia and the state of Sabah, which is part of this Malaysian federation."

"I hope the (Philippines) ... takes more reasonable actions to ensure that the ties between Malaysia and the Philippines, especially as we're part of ASEAN, can continue," he added. 

The Malaysian Foreign Ministry had issued a statement on Tuesday reiterating that "Malaysia does not recognise and will not entertain any claims by any party on Sabah". 

It had added that "Sabah is recognised by the United Nations and international community as part of Malaysia since the formation of the Federation on 16 September 1963."