Anifah calls Shafie ‘ignorant’ as Philippines presses claim on Sabah

Former foreign minister Anifah Aman says Shafie Apdal is ‘potentially harming’ Malaysia’s sovereignty over the Philippines’ claim on Sabah.

PETALING JAYA: Former foreign minister Anifah Aman has taken aim at Sabah caretaker chief minister Shafie Apdal over the latest action by the Philippines on its claim to the state.

Calling out the Warisan chief for being inexperienced and ignorant in dealing with the issue, Anifah said that was the only explanation for Manila’s provocative action.

“I blame the caretaker chief minister’s lack of experience or know-how for this blunder which has led to the Philippines becoming braver with its baseless claim on Sabah.

“He caused this situation by giving legitimacy to the claim by wanting to discuss and negotiate with the Philippines. This automatically acknowledges the claim, whereas my approach was not to recognise any claim,” he said.

Anifah said this latest development also proved how ignorant Shafie was on Malaysia’s history and international law.

“He is potentially harming our sovereignty,” he said.

On Monday, it was reported that a Philippine proposal, approved by its house foreign affairs committee, called for the Philippine map, showing a 200-mile exclusive economic zone and Sabah, to be printed on Philippine passports.

Shafie then urged the foreign ministry to issue a stern warning to the Philippine government and summon its ambassador.

Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein also weighed in on the issue, tweeting: “There is no question about it – Sabah will forever be a part of Malaysia.”

Anifah, who is the Parti Cinta Sabah president, reiterated the same message, saying he also handled any claim on Sabah by the Philippines the same way as Hishammuddin when he helmed the foreign ministry.

“I’ve always maintained that we do not recognise, do not give any form of legitimacy, and will not entertain any claim by any party on Sabah.

“During my time as the foreign minister, the Philippines were never this bold unlike current times,” he said.

He accused Shafie of “gambling the fate of Sabah’s sovereignty in the hands of an arbitration court” during his tenure as chief minister.

“If the said arbitration court in Spain made a ruling/judgment in favour of the Philippines, perhaps due to his team and his own weakness in ‘defending’ Sabah’s sovereignty, what would Shafie have done next?

“He might have ended up, in my opinion, the person that gave Sabah away,” he said.

Previously, Shafie criticised Anifah for attacking his alleged inaction on the Phillipine claim by saying that former Sabah attorney-general Zaleha Rose Pandin and the former Malaysian attorney-general had brought the case to a Spanish court to challenge Manila’s claim.