KOTA KINABALU: Former Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman has called on all Sabahans to unite in pushing the government to reassert its sovereignty following seizures of Petronas’s subsidiaries in Azerbaijan made by alleged heirs to the Sulu Sultanate.
“This is a matter of national sovereignty and it is also a matter of security especially to Sabahans as the crux of the claim is Sabah.
He said that while he notes that the Cabinet has set up a task force to investigate the matter and that Petronas has issued a statement explaining that its assets had been divested and repatriated, the people deserve to know the entire story.
“The seizure was made based on the Sabah claim which we do not recognise. The fact that the assets can be seized is tantamount to foreign interference which do not respect our non-recognition of the Sabah claim.
“What else can these heirs seize with the help of foreign nations? Can they seize land in Sabah too? When that happens, what will happen to Sabahans? Would Sabahans end up as beggars in their own land?
“This is something that the government must explain to all of us,” he reiterated.
Anifah also said that a motion on the issue which was put forward by Kota Belud Member of Parliament Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis should be allowed to be debated in Parliament.
“It is true that it is unwise to reveal Malaysia’s strategy on how to deal with the issue,” he said referring to a statement made by the Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar Harun in defending his shooting down of the motion to be debated.
“However, how long are we supposed to keep silence on the matter? The people of Malaysia and especially those of Sabah want to know whether or not our sovereignty has been violated and whether or not the government is doing everything it can to defend its sovereignty.
“We are not asking the government to reveal anything confidential during the debate. I am sure every Member of Parliament knows that some matters are confidential and are only privy to the very senior members of the Cabinet,” he added.
Anifah said that it is the right of Members of Parliament to debate this issue in Parliament as they represent the voices of the people.
“Members of Parliament, especially Sabahan members of Parliament want to debate this issue because it is an issue that concerns every Sabahan. It is their right to raise this issue in Parliament.
“I understand that the motion has been submitted again to the Speaker’s Office and I hope that the Speaker will allow the issue to be debated.
“What use is there to practice democracy if basic questions pertaining our sovereignty cannot be debated,” he said further.
Anifah, who is also Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS) President, added that PCS is willing to work with any political parties or non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to pursue this issue.