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Filipino Facebook page once again claims Sabah as part of the Philippines, sparked online firestorm

The North Borneo dispute, also known as the Sabah dispute, has been going on for decades, at least from the Philippine perspective.

The Philippines has been claiming ownership of Sabah, but there is no final solution to the dispute. On the other hand, Malaysia’s position is clear as it considers that this case has been resolved based on the decision of the people of Sabah themselves who chose to join Malaysia.

Recently, the matter has start to boil over again with a Facebook page called Asean Skyline sharing provocative postings that claimed Sabah is part of the Philippines.

The postings had caused an online firestorm with Malaysians berating Asean Skyline for the insulting postings.

Meanwhile, some people understand the issue including Filipinos and do not support the territorial claims. Some also compared this to Russian President Vladimir Putin claiming that Ukraine belongs to Russia.

How did it start?

The Philippines claims itself as the successor state of the Sultanate of Sulu and insists that the Sabah was a territory that was leased to the British North Borneo Company (BNBC) in 1878.

The fact is Sabah is part of Malaysia through the British. The British took over Sabah from BNBC which obtained it from Overbeck & Dent.

Overbeck & Dent was the recipient of certain rights and privileges conferred by the Sultan of Sulu, Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam, based on a document signed on 22 January 1878.

However, the document was written in Malay-Arabic, which became a problem due to different versions when translated. The Philippines argued that the rights and privileges acquired by Overbeck & Dent was a lease and not a cession as claimed by the British and later by Malaysia.

These different translations then gave rise to the disputes which lasted to this day.

Source: MalaysiaKini

The Malaysian Perspective

Meanwhile, Sabahans themselves willingly joined the Malaya Federation when they give their consent through the Cobbold Commission which was formed on 17 January 1962.

The commission was formed to gain insights from the people of Sabah and Sarawak regarding the formation of Malaysia.

In 1964, the Philippines had tried to challenge Malaysia to dispute the matter at the World Court in The Hague, the Netherlands.

However, Malaysia had rejected the Philippine claims as there is no legal basis for their claim and that it would get nowhere in the World Court.

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