MANILA, PHILIPPINES— “Investigate and follow the proceeds of the Sabah sell-out!”
This is the strong recommendation issued by Professor Harry Roque Jr. regarding the issue of the US$750 million which Malaysia has allegedly given to a number of government officials to gain control of the long-disputed territory.
Earlier, a Filipino lawyer claimed that Malaysia will spend as much as US750 Million dollars as lobby money for the Philippine governemen to enact the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL)
“If this report is true, this constitutes Malaysia’s interference in our domestic affairs which is a violation of international law,” Prof. Roque added. Roque is a professor at the UP College of Law and the Director of the Institute of International Legal Studies.
The Eastern part of the state of Sabah is disputed territory between the Republic of the Philippines and the Federation of Malaysia. Formerly known as North Borneo, the Philippine claim is based on its representation as the successor state of the Sultanate of Sulu, claiming that despite its lease to the British North Borneo Company in 1878, said territory has never been relinquished. Malaysia asserts that the territory was ceded to it by virtue of the 1878 agreement, and further that the Sabah residents exercised their right to self-determination when they decided to join in the formation of the Malaysian Federation.
Annually, Malaysia issues 5,300 ringgit (US$1710 or 77,000 Philippine pesos) to the heirs of the Sultan of Sulu via its embassy in Manila, claiming that said fee is for cession. The Sultan’s descendants maintain that the aforementioned payment was for rent, and that the lease agreement actually expired in 1978.
“We have so much wealth in Sabah na dapat tayo ang nakikinabang,” Princess Jacel Kiram, daughter of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, said. Kiram claims that Sabah earns for Malaysiia at least US72 Billion dollars annually
In early 2015, treason charges were filed against President Aquino, some members of his Cabinet members and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leaders for supporting the Bangsamoro Basic Law which they claim seeks only to benefit the MILF. The case is stillpending with the courts. Complainants in the treason case alleged that the passage of the BBL was in exchange for the Philippines dropping its claim to Sabah.
“The Anti-Money Laundering Council has a duty to investigate this claim,” Prof. Roque concluded. “The transfer of this huge amount of money should not have gone unnoticed by the AMLAC. Where is their freeze petition now? They were so quick to file for one against the leader of the opposition, VP Jojo Binay.” Roque lamented that AMLAC’s failure to act on this report is yet another evidence of selective justice in this country.
Malaysian politics has been in disrray since media reports confrmed that Malysian Prime Minister Razak has US $750 million in his personal account.