LAHAD DATU, May 28 – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has pointed out that the claim on Sabah by any quarters is a non-issue because the state had gained independence in Malaysia as had been decided in 1963. He said the status of Sabah was decided by the Cobbold Commission which was recognised by the United Nations (UN). Thus, he said, no one could dispute the status of the state in terms of international law.
“As such, I consider this (claim on Sabah) as a non-issue and I wish to state that we will continue to defend Sabah as the state had gained independence in Malaysia. The people of Sabah have already stated their aspiration to be together with Malaysia and this was also stated by Datuk Seri Musa Aman as the Chief Minister,” he told a media conference after officiating the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the Lahad Datu helicopter forward operating base (FOB), here Saturday.
Najib issued a warning to all quarters against doing anything that could affect the sovereignty of Sabah and Malaysia. The Prime Minister emphasised that various initiatives had been taken by the government to defend Sabah and these demonstrated the government’s strong commitment in ensuring, preserving and giving meaning to Sabah as an independent state within Malaysia.
He said the government would continue to defend every inch of the state to ensure that the people of Sabah could live in peace and in safety at al times. Najib said that if everyone were united and played their role in defending the Sabah soil together with the government, this would ensure that the state continued to be safe.
“The people must be loyal to the government, to the state of Sabah and to Malaysia…do not ever become stooges for the country’s enemy. We also want the tourism industry to continue to progress in Sabah and it is most important in the government’s endeavour which involves considerable expenditure, the people must also play a role,” said the prime minister. Also present at the event were Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein and Musa.
The helicopter FOB project with an allocation of RM9 million on a 0.48-hectare area at the Lahad Datu Airport involved the construction of a shelter and apron capable of accommodating six helicopters. The FOB will function as a transit and air support centre for the operations of all types of helicopters of the Malaysian Armed Forces besides acting as an operations centre when defence operations are carried out to fend off external threats.