Published: Friday March 22, 2013 MYT 11:22:00 PM
Updated: Friday March 22, 2013 MYT 11:25:46 PM
Lahad Datu: No need to bring to ICJ to determine Sabah’s sovereignty, says expert
KUALA LUMPUR: There is no need for Malaysia to bring the issue of Sabah's rights to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as historical and non-historical facts clearly show that it is a sovereign state of Malaysia, said historian Prof Emeritus Dr Ranjit Singh of Universiti Utara Malaysia.
He argued that apart from historical facts, the Sulu Sultanate and the Philippines had in fact lost their sovereignty rights of Sabah to Malaysia based on the principle of effectivity.
Despite being ruled by the Sulu sultanate, Sabah, which used to be known as North Borneo had been put under the administration of the British North Borneo Company in 1878 and later the British Empire, before being granted independence to form the Federation of Malaysia with Sarawak and Malaya.
"If you don't do anything to it, don't administer it, don't pass any law (in that area), you lost that title," he said at a discourse titled "The Lahad Datu Imbroglio: The Sabah Claim and Beyond" at Universiti Malaya, here, on Friday.
Citing the Pulau Batu Puteh case, Ranjit Singh, who also led the Malaysian team pertaining to the sovereignty of Pulau Sipadan and Pulau Ligitan at ICJ in 2002, said Malaysia lost its rights over the island to Singapore because, despite being the title holder, it (Malaysia) had never administered or was present physically on the island.
It was reported by a Filipino daily "Philippine Star" a few days ago that the Philippine government had not given up Sabah and had engaged a team of lawyers to study its claims on Sabah.
The issue of Sabah's sovereignty re-emerged after an incursion by a group of Filipino terrorists claiming to be the army of the now-defunct Sulu sultanate, in Lahad Datu and Semporna, which had led to a bloody clash between the Malaysian armed forces and the militants.
Ranjit Singh, who specialises on Sabah and Sarawak history, also said that the issue was non-negotiable as the will of the Sabahans must be respected whom through the Cobbold Commission of 1962 had chosen to form Malaysia with Sarawak and Malaya.
Ranjit Singh also urged Malaysia to stop any future annual cess payment to the sultanate and bring to a close the issue by coming up with a strong policy to protect the sovereignty of Sabah.
"The moment we negotiate, we compromise our sovereignty again," he said. - Bernama