KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 16 — Former deputy defence minister Liew Chin Tong has called for Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to resign for shifting the blame for the Sabah territorial dispute with the Philippines towards Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal.
The Johor DAP chief said Hishammuddin has been trying to downplay the seriousness of the issue by not appearing in Dewan Negara to answer questions regarding the matter.
He also said Hishammuddin was trying to “act tough” by claiming Shafie’s request that Malaysia open discussion with Philippines over the matter was a sign of Shafie’s acknowledgment that the claims over sovereignty of Sabah had legitimacy.
“Hishammuddin is unscrupulous in making false claims and should just resign from his position for electioneering foreign policy matters.
“We need mature politicians who do not lie and double speak. And Malaysia can do without a foreign minister who uses foreign affairs, which should be a bipartisan affair as much as possible, for instant electoral gains. Such an act by Hishammudin is highly irresponsible,” Chin Tong said in a statement.
Yesterday, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak blamed Shafie for stirring up the Philippines’ claim over Sabah when Shafie, on August 28, urged the federal government to hold government-to-government talks with the country on an Asean platform level to resolve the issue.
In his Facebook post, Najib said Shafie’s “big mistake” will trouble Sabah for a long time as it had given legitimacy to Philippine’s claim over the state.
Following that, Hishammuddin who is also Najib’s cousin, also posted a statement on Facebook where he said Shafie should be more assertive, and not yield to foreign claims that undermine Sabah's sovereignty.
This, Liew said, was nothing more than political opportunism by Hishammuddin.
“I am appalled that Hishammuddin has taken Najib’s cue to attack Shafie, claiming that Shafie was soft on the Philippines,” he said.
“For Hishammuddin to attempt to turn this into an issue to portray himself as ‘tough’ while Shafie as ‘soft’ on the Philippines is utterly disgusting political opportunism.”
Last month, the Philippines’ House Committee on Foreign Affairs approved a substitute Bill requiring the printing of the country’s map, including its 200-mile exclusive economic zone and Sabah, on Philippine passports.
Later, its Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr said the country will revive the Department of Foreign Affairs' North Borneo Affairs which is dedicated to efforts to reclaim Sabah, which he described as “the tropical island of Borneo.”