Archive for the ‘Philippines’ Category



KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Security Working Committee (JKKN) has decided to reopen the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone) for commercial activities effective Feb 1.

Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said the JKKN meeting, which he chaired today, also agreed to allow the Customs, Immigration, Quarantine and Security (CIQS) Complex in Kudat to resume operations for the route to Palawan, Southern Philippines on the same date.

“However, all commercial activities, namely transshipment and normal trade must adhere to the Transshipment Activity Improvement Fixed Operating Regulations issued by the Sabah JKKN.

“On the other hand, Kudat CIQS will operate by observing its standard operating procedures as guidelines for all agencies and relevant parties,” he said in a statement here today.

Musa also said all trade activities involving Indonesian sea products by the fishermen or the coalition of Tawau Fishermen’s Association was now status quo but the landings of the products must be done at jetties or legal locations as coordinated by the Fisheries Department.

“On the ban of pump boats, JKKN decided that the ruling would continue to take effect on status quo which means the use and its ownership are only allowed for Malaysian citizens. Stern action will be taken against non-citizens,” he added. — Bernama

 

(The Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZONE) is a security zone in the Malaysian state of Sabah that was launched by the Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak on 25 March 2013 following the persistent attacks by Abu Sayaff pirates and militants from the southern Philippines that occurred in the eastern part of Sabah especially after the 2013 Lahad Datu standoff.

[1] It includes the districts of Kudat, Kota Marudu, Pitas, Beluran, Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu, Kunak, Semporna and Tawau.

[2] The Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) is the main enforcement authority for ESSZONE, chaired by Datuk Seri Musa Aman.)


A total of 372 undocumented migrants from the Philippines were repatriated to Zamboanga by ferry from Sandakan yesterday.

Sabah National Security Council director Rodzi Md Saad said the repatriated individuals were all males, aged between six and 62 years old and they were previously detained at Kota Kinabalu temporary detention centre, he said in a statement today. Since Nov 15, a total 3,765 Filipinos were deported by ferry, he said.

From Jan 1, this year until today, a total of 22,213 Filipinos, Indonesians and other nationalities were deported to their respective countries.

He also said since 1990 until today, as many as 552,154 undocumented migrants have been repatriated and returned voluntarily to their countries from Sabah.

According to Rodzi the repatriation efforts of the illegals are in line with the government’s commitment to continue to root out illegal immigrants from Sabah.

– Bernama


Chief Minister Musa Aman welcomed the decision by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to allow Malaysian vessels to enter the republic’s waters in hot pursuit of kidnappers.

“This is a positive development towards curbing kidnapping incidents in Sabah,” he said in a statement.

He said granting Malaysian security forces the permission to pursue kidnappers in Philippine waters would increase the chances of nabbing them.

The decision was announced after Duterte’s meeting with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in Putrajaya yesterday.

Musa said Indonesian President Jokowi Widodo’s decision to allow a similar move was a step in the right direction towards curbing cross border crimes.

The chief minister said he was also pleased to note that Duterte has agreed to the gradual repatriation of Filipinos who are staying illegally in Sabah.

“We hope for continued cooperation with both our neighbours, the Philippines and Indonesia, to maintain the peace and security and good bilateral and trade relations,” he added.

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Bombala farmer, Hans Berekoven, and team of Malaysian nationals raised the Malaysian flag on the Luconia Shoals, 84 nautical miles of the coast of Borneo, Sarawak, while observed by the China Coast Guard.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-08/luconia-shoals-malaysia-flag-raising-incident-china-coast-guard/7681752

When he is not on his farm in the high country of south-east New South Wales, Hans Berekoven is an amateur marine archaeologist recovering artefacts from a shipwreck for a Malaysian museum.

He said during one trip, he had been harassed by a Chinese Coast Guard vessel that had been stationed off Luconia Shoals for the past few years.

The shoals are a cluster of reefs and a tiny island called the Luconia Breakers, 84 nautical miles off Malaysia’s Borneo coast.

“They were trying to push us out. When we arrived there and started diving, they would up-anchor and sort of circle around us, sometimes really close. It was a sort of gentle intimidation,” Mr Berekoven said.

China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei all have competing claims over the South China Sea.

The dispute has been a major flashpoint in the region, with accusations of China building artificial islands and damaging reef systems.

An international tribunal recently ruled China had violated the Philippines’ economic and sovereign rights as defined by the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention.

Since 1947, China has claimed a vast area of islands in the South China Sea, including the Luconia Shoals.

Professor Clive Schofield, an authority on marine jurisdictional issues, said that at 84 nautical miles from the Borneo coast, the Luconia Shoals were clearly on Malaysia’s continental shelf, and well within Malaysia’s 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), as defined by the Law of the Sea Convention.

“So if there’s any jurisdiction and rights over the feature [the Luconia Shoals], then they are Malaysian and not Chinese,” Professor Schofield said.

Mr Berekoven said he was angered by damage he alleged was being caused by the China Coast Guard vessel anchoring on the reef.

“She’s got a massive anchor chain. Every time the wind changes or the current changes that big anchor chain is just making a hell of a mess of that reef,” he said.

Mr Berekoven chose Malaysia’s independence day, August 31 last year, to protest against the situation by raising the Malaysian flag on the tiny island.

It is the first time the video of the incident has been released.

“I took the curator of the museum that we’re working with, and a couple of other Malaysian friends, and a journalist from the Borneo Post,” he said.

They mounted a stainless steel flagpole into a cement footing and raised the Malaysian flag, as the China Coast Guard vessel watched from about 500m offshore.

“They must have got on the blower to Beijing and Beijing must have got on the blower to Kuala Lumpur, because suddenly there was a big kerfuffle in KL,” Mr Berekoven said.

The next morning, a Malaysian aircraft flew low over Mr Berekoven’s boat and the island.

“A Malaysian coast guard vessel was despatched. Went out there and unbolted the flag,” he said.

“It’s absolutely absurd. It’s 88 miles, well within the 200 mile economic exclusion zone, and they’ve forced the Malaysians to take the flag down — their flag, asserting their authority, their sovereignty.”

Professor Schofield said he was not surprised at Malaysia’s action, because Malaysia had traditionally dealt with issues by taking a quiet diplomatic route with China and avoiding public conflict.

Tensions over oil, gas and fisheries rights

He said tensions in the South China Sea focused on the wealth of oil and gas resources in the region, and freedom of navigation in the busy maritime trade routes.

“However, the importance of the fisheries is often overlooked,” Professor Schofield said.

“The South China Sea has been estimated to provide around 12 per cent of global fisheries catch.

“It provides fisheries which are vital to food security within the region, where potentially hundreds of millions of people have their primary protein requirements met by the fish from these waters.”

Professor Schofield said a rare exception to Malaysia’s quiet diplomacy with China occurred earlier this year when about 100 Chinese fishing boats arrived at the Luconia Shoals.

“For Malaysia there was a relatively strong reaction calling in the Chinese ambassador to protest against that,” he said.

Malaysia’s national security minister Shahidan Kassim was reported by the Bernama news agency as announcing the despatch of assets from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, and that the navy had been sent to the area near the Luconia Shoals to monitor the situation.

Professor Schofield said such an action underlined the importance of the fishery to Malaysia.

He said fisheries in the region were over-fished and under extreme stress with fish stocks declining.

“You have overlapping claims and rival fisheries fleets and no unified or rational management of those stocks. The potential for a collapse in the fisheries is a real and present one,” he said.

Mr Berekoven is preparing to return to Luconia Shoals to resume recovering artefacts from the nearby shipwreck.


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Sabah has never recognized or acknowledged any claim by the Philippines or any other quarter on the state, said Chief Minister Musa Aman today.

He said Sabah has never recognised or acknowledged any such claim and will continue to be a part of the Malaysian federation.

“Let me clearly state that Sabah is in Malaysia and has chosen to be and will continue to be a part of this sovereign nation since its formation,” he said in response to Philippines incoming President Rodrigo Duterte’s intention to pursue the Sabah claim.

Musa added that the people of Sabah are enjoying peace, stability and economic prosperity within Malaysia.

“Our allegiance is to the Malaysian flag. The claim is irrelevant,” he added.

Earlier, Duterte was quoted by the Philippine Star as saying that he will pursue the Philippines’ claim on Sabah.

Duterte also said he will recognise the claim of the Sulu sultanate as “what has been the policy will always be the policy of the government, especially those for the interests of the country”.


TUN MUSTAPHA MARINE PARK FINALLY GAZETTED; PROTECTED SABAH MARINE PARKS NOW TOTAL 2 MILLION HECTARES OF CORAL REEF, MANGROVE, SEA-GRASS AND PRODUCTIVE FISHING GROUNDS COVERING MORE THAN 50 ISLAND.

The State Government has officially gazetted 898,762.76 hectares in the northern seas of Sabah as the TUN MUSTAPHA MARINE PARK.The move comes after more than 13 years of preparatory work led by Sabah Parks with government agencies, local communities, international partners and with support from non-governmental organisation i.e WWF-Malaysia.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun tweeted the new marine park, Thursday, as being the biggest in the country and the newest conservation initiative carried out by the State Government.


“Its done! Tun Mustapha Marine Park in northern Sabah is gazetted,” he said, accompanied by a photo of the state gazette dated May 19.

The park is located off Kudat, Kota Marudu and Pitas right up to the Straits of Balabac, where the Sulu Sea and South China Sea meet in the northern part of Sabah.

With the declaration, the size of protected marine parks in Sabah now stretches to about two million hectares.

“Efforts to gazette the park has been carried out through consultations with various parties with interest in the area,” he said.

The area covers 50 islands and includes the three main ones of Pulau Banggi, Pulau Balambangan and Pulau Malawali with more than 180,000 people living in the coastal areas and islands.

It was earlier reported that such a move was the only means of protecting sharks in the area due to the reluctance of the Federal Government to legislate a ban on shark hunting.

” The area is rich in various marine life and located within the coral triangle covering waters within Luzon Island in the Philippines, Bali in Indonesia and the Solomon Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

” The triangle area has over 500 species of corals that is the habitat of numerous marine life. This includes 243 invertebrate species, 550 fish species, four species of turtles, dugongs, crocodiles and sharks,” he said.

As an open marine park, the Tun Mustapha Marine Park will be managed through a collaboration between various bodies involving both government and non-governmental organisations, as well as local communities, said Masidi.

Towards this end, he said the areas are divided into six zones, involving a conservation zone, community-use-zone, multi-use zone, commercial fishing zone, special fish management zone and aquaculture zone, adding that the park was gazetted under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Category Six.

This involves protected areas being set up to conserve ecosystems and habitats, together with associated cultural values and traditional natural resource management systems.

The marine park was first proposed in 2000, with the State Government approving its establishment on March 5, 2003.

The gazetting of the park had undergone various stages like public hearings from 2012 to 2015 as well as public consultations on the park zoning from 2012 to 2013.

The framework of management plan was drafted in July 2012 and was completed along with its gazetting plans, with the government planning to launch the new marine park in June this year.

Tun Mustapha Park is evidence of Musa Aman’s commitment to the Coral Triangle Initiative and contribution towards meeting the Aichi Biodiversity Target of at least 10% marine areas protected and managed.


Hullo once more!

I hope everybody had a wonderful weekend. It is day 13 of the Kickstarter campaign and with just three weeks to go we are slowly but surely crawling our way to our end goal. We could never have gotten this far without the pledges and the humbling support of all you out there so, sincerely on behalf of the team, Thank you so very, very much!

Over the weekend, the production had been working away at getting a video update ready as promised and we have indeed delivered. The video is a clip from the documentary and features a short introduction by cinematographer/editor/co-director Matthew Fillmore. I hope you will like what you see and continue supporting our project.

As a side-note, for all Malaysians who have come across this Kickstarter project and would like to contribute but have questions regarding donations, please do not hesitate to contact us via our production e-mail diambangfilm@gmail.com

Once again thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Terima Kasih!!

Azliana


Let me be the first to have this out there…

Over a year ago, I had the pleasure of meeting three young filmmakers who came fully prepared to document illegal Filipino migrants in Sabah. Travelling constantly from Kota Kinabalu to Lahad Datu, the three used every opportunity they had to find a way to tell a story on Sabah never before brought to the silver screen. They came fully prepared to undertake this difficult and rather sensitive issue, despite having to fund themselves, battle resistance from members of the public and encounter several episodes with the law.

What is most interesting about this project is that they had no predictions that the Sulu incursion that took place in March this year would be such an impact on their film, and despite the danger that entailed, followed their subjects throughout the crisis, a risk they were all willing to take.

Since returning to the states, where film is edited, the trio have kept rather quite, and I must admit that I wondered oftentimes if their film was ever going to happen.

That is until now.

Today I am proud to introduce all of you to the first glimpse of their work through their website and Kickstarter Campaign. The three are still trying to raise a little more funds and I hope those of you who want to see a professional feature film on Sabah and the most recent state of affairs, please fund them through these links. You could very well be part of a very big thing for Sabah and its people.

Help fund their film at:   Di Ambang: Stateless in Sabah
Visit the films website at:   http://diambangfilm.com/


by Joe Fernandez
Guest Columnist

COMMENTIf the Government in Putrajaya is truly honest with itself, it will confront the fact that there’s very little sympathy in Sabah and Sarawak on the ground for the security forces apparently battling it out in Lahad Datu. It’s 50 years too late. They might as well pack up and go home and instead recall the Sabah Border Scouts and Sarawak Rangers.

At the same time, the continuing statements from one Jamalul Kiram III, the Manila press, the Philippines Government and Nur Misuari of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) on Sabah and Sarawak are being viewed in the right perspective.

Local political parties in Sabah and Sarawak are convinced, like the descendants of the heirs of the defunct Sulu Sultanate and Nur Misuari that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague is the best venue to settle rival claims to the two Borneo nations. Already, the State Reform Party (Star) led by Jeffrey Kitingan, has reportedly included the ICJ option in their draft Manifesto for the forthcoming 13th General Election.

The ICJ is also the best venue to address the fact that Singapore was expelled in 1965 from the Federation of Malaysia by unconstitutional, unlawful and illegal means. It’s an open secret that then Malaysian Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman had the doors of Parliament locked until the MPs agreed to the expulsion of the city state from the Federation.

The general consensus across both sides of the Sulu Sea is that the Sabah/Sarawak issue will not go away unless there’s a final resolution one way or another. In the absence of a final resolution, the security of both Sabah and Sarawak will continue to be compromised and thereby affect investor and consumer confidence.  

Singapore Application would be a continuation of Pulau Batu Putih case

If Singapore is featured as well at the same time that the cases of Sabah and Sarawak are considered, it would amount to a revisitation of the Pulau Batu Putih hearings which saw the island of a few rocks being awarded to the city state.

The Singapore Application could be made by the Government of that island or vide a Class Action Suit commenced by concerned citizens seeking closure on an issue which has bedevilled relations on both sides of the causeway since 1965.

The descendants of the nine heirs of the defunct Sulu Sultanate claim that they have private property rights to Sabah or parts of it. They further claim and/or used to claim that sovereignty over Sabah rests with the Philippines Government. This is a grey area since one Sulu Sultan apparently “transferred” his sultanate’s sovereignty over Sabah to the Manila Government by way of a Power of Attorney which has reportedly since expired.

Jamalul Kiram III claims to be Sultan of Sulu.

Sulu claimants, Nur Misuari don’t have a leg to stand on in Sabah, Sarawak

At last count there were some 60 claimants to the Sulu Sultanship, not all being descendants of the nine heirs of the defunct Sulu Sultanate.

The nine Plaintiffs viz. Dayang Dayang Piandao Kiram, Princess Tarhata Kiram, Princess Sakinur Kiram, Sultan Ismael Kiram, Sultan Punjungan Kiram, Sitti Rada Kiram, Sitti Jahara Kiram, Sitti Mariam Kiram and Mora Napsa were recognised by C. F. Mackasie, Chief Judge of Borneo, on 13 Dec, 1939 in response to Civil Suit No. 169/39.

The Judge ruled that the nine heirs, as the beneficiaries under the will of the late Sultan Jamalul Kiram, who died at Jolo on 7 June 1935, are entitled to collect a total of RM 5,300 per annum from Sabah in perpetuity for having foregone in perpetuity the right to collect tolls along the waterways in eastern Sabah. The reference point was the deed of cession made between the Sultan of Sulu and the predecessors of the British North Borneo Chartered Company on Jan 22, 1878, and under a confirmatory deed dated April 22, 1903.

If the descendants of the nine heirs end up at the ICJ in The Hague, there are no prizes for guessing which way the case will go.

The Sulu claimants don’t have a leg to stand on in Sabah.

Nur Misuari ready to do battle with a battery of lawyers

The Sulu Sultans of old were extorting tolls, virtually a criminal activity, from the terrified traffic along the eastern seaboard of Sabah. The Brunei Sultanate meanwhile denies ever handing any part of Sabah, or the right to collect tolls along the waterways, to Sulu.

The British North Borneo Chartered Company had no right whatsoever to enter into negotiations on behalf of the people of Sabah with anyone.

The entire land area of Sabah, by history, Adat and under Native Customary Rights (NCR), belonged to the Orang Asal (Original People) of the Territory.

The sovereignty of Sabah rests with the people of Sabah. This sovereignty was re-affirmed on 31 Aug, 1963 when the state won independence from Britain which had occupied the state after World War II. Therein the matter lies. The sovereignty of Sabah had never been transferred to Brunei, Sulu, the Philippines, Britain or Malaya, masquerading as Malaysia since 16 Sept, 1963.

Likewise, Sarawak’s independence was re-affirmed on 22 July, 1963 when the British left. Sarawak had been an independent country for over 150 years under its own Rajah until World War II intervened and the Japanese occupied the country. The war over, the British coerced the Rajah to hand over his country to the Colonial Office in London because they had plans to form the Federation of Malaysia with Sarawak as one of the constituent elements. British occupation of Sarawak was illegal and an act of piracy.

Nur Misuari claims that Sarawak had belonged to his family, from the time of his great great grandfather. He claims that he has the services of the best lawyers at his disposal to make his case at The Hague.

Cobbold Commission a scam by British and Malayan Governments

The outcome of any hearing at The Hague will be a forgone conclusion: the Sulu and Nur Misuari petitions will be struck out without even a hearing; the Court will rule that the people of Sabah and Sarawak never agreed to be in Malaysia; and Singapore will hear that its expulsion from Malaysia in 1965 was unconstitutional, unlawful and illegal. The people of Sabah and Sarawak must be given the right to intervene in the Applications at the ICJ which will determine their fate. There’s nothing to prevent the people of Sulu and the southern Philippines from throwing in an Application that the Philippines Government has no business to occupy their traditional Muslim homeland.

The people of Singapore decided in a Yes or Note Vote in 1962 to the idea of independence through merger with Malaya via the Federation of Malaysia. The inclusion of Orang Asal-majority Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei was to facilitate the merger between Chinese-majority Singapore and non-Malay majority Malaya.

Brunei stayed out of Malaysia at the 11th hour after an armed rebellion in the Sultanate against the idea of Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei being in Malaysia.

No Referendum was held in Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and Malaya on Malaysia. The Kelantan Government even took the matter to Court.

A sampling of community leaders conducted by the Cobbold Commission found that only the Suluk and Bajau community leaders, perhaps sensing some personal benefits for themselves as proxies of Muslim-controlled Kuala Lumpur, agreed with the idea of Malaysia.

Revolution another possibility to finish off Sulu, Nur Misuari, Manila

Orang Asal community leaders wanted a period of independence before looking at the idea of Malaysia again. They asked for further and better particulars on Malaysia to be used as the reference point for a future re-visitation of the Malaysia Concept. They were not provided these further and better particulars.

The Chinese community leaders, keeping the eventual fate of the resources and revenues of the country uppermost in mind, totally rejected the idea of Malaysia. They were not wrong. Putrajaya today carts away all the resources and revenues of Sabah and Sarawak to Malaya and very little of it comes back to the two Borneo.

The Cobbold Commission disingenuously declared that two third of the people in Sabah i.e. Suluk/Bajau + Orang Asal supported Malaysia. The Commission made the same declaration in Sarawak where only the Sarawak Malay community leaders supported the idea of Malaysia for self-serving reasons.

When Singapore was expelled from Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak – the facilitators of the merger between Singapore and Malaya – were not allowed to exit the Federation. This is a crucial point which will feature at the ICJ.

Security became an afterthought. But as the continuing influx of illegal immigrants into Sabah and Sarawak, and the Lahad Datu intrusion, has proven, there has been no security for both Borneo nations in Malaysia. ESSCOM (Eastern Sabah Security Command) and ESSZONE (Eastern Sabah Safety Zone) comes too little too late, after 50 years.

In the unlikely event that the ICJ rules in favour of the heirs of the defunct Sulu Sultanate and Nur Misuari, it would be the sacred duty of Sabahans and Sarawakians to launch a Revolution and decapitate all the claimants to their countries from the Philippines.

This would bury the issue once and for all and shut up the Manila press and the Philippines Government.

Singapore’s re-admission to Malaysia, if it materialises, would not persuade Sabah and Sarawak to join the Federation as well. The people would want Malaya even quicker out Sabah and Sarawak. It would be the end of a long drawn out nightmare.

 

Joe Fernandez is a graduate mature student of law and an educationist, among others, who loves to write especially Submissions for Clients wishing to Act in Person. He feels compelled, as a semi-retired journalist, to put pen to paper — or rather the fingers to the computer keyboard — whenever something doesn’t quite jell with his weltanschauung (worldview). He shuttles between points in the Golden Heart of Borneo formed by the Sabah west coast, Labuan, Brunei, northern Sarawak and the watershed region in Borneo where three nations meet.