I wanted to write about Sabah but I felt inadequate to do so. When news of what’s been happening there broke, I wanted to learn as much as I could about the issue to augment what I currently know. Something that, at this day and age, is impossible to not do. The best background info I got on the issue is HERE.
What I know is this: when much of Asia was still a colony of the Europeans, Sabah was leased by a British firm from the Sultan of Sulu. Said lease was kind of swept into the events that led to the end of British rule in Malaysia. And probably in their haste to leave, the British turned over Sabah along with its holdings to the new rulers of Malaysia.
Many many years later, the Philippine government’s campaign to reclaim Sabah has fluctuated as many times as the stock market, with efforts ranging from under-the-radar diplomatic means to a military operation that cannibalized its own fighters. The state of the claim, it seems, is contingent on the interests of who was in office. It feels the same now, to be frank.
Then there are the numerous heirs, who never came to a mutual agreement on how they wanted to make their claims known. Efforts were made to unite them, but their association was fraught with turmoil that such efforts never came to full fruition. The wrangling among the heir is the stuff of teleserye.
Such is life.
And then there is Malaysia, smug in its good fortune of acquiring something for virtually nothing. Their own claim, they say, is a one that rests on history, but whose history? They gloat over our discord and inconsistencies and scare us with severing diplomatic ties and what-not. And the question that’s in my mind is why is our government so eager to please Malaysia? This question had been posted by a woman whose acuity of thought I admire, and she wrote about it HERE.
I think, in light of everything that happened, is happening, and will happen in Sabah, our government’s response should have been tempered in civility without sacrificing concern, or even just a touch of sensitivity, to the plight of the claimants. Expressing doubts on the claimant’s honesty, on public media even, only reflects badly on us as a people. Is saving face to a country, who has never been good to our people, more important than expressing solidarity to our Muslim brothers?
I do not agree to the methods of the claimants, and the government makes it clear that it doesn’t as well. But Mr President, that is no reason to treat your countrymen as shabbily as that. That is no way to treat your fellow citizen, and your fellow human being.