KOTA KINABALU, July 24 — DAP member of parliament (MP) for Kota Kinabalu, Chan Foong Hin said that the closed-door briefing on the claims of the descendants of the Sulu Sultanate held on Thursday night had nothing confidential in terms of content.

He further urged the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat, Azhar Harun, to approve the motion by Putatan MP Awang Hussaini for debate by MPs.

Chan said that the briefing to MPs on Thursday night was classified “RAHSIA” — not only the word was prominently featured on the top of the invitation letter, even MPs who attended the briefing were made to stick “RAHSIA” sticker on their shirt that night and mobile phones were confiscated during the briefing.

Chan said in a statement yesterday that he and his colleagues in the Opposition had been looking forward to the content of the briefing and the engagement. However, it turned out to be a sheer disappointment.


“I thought that the senior government officials briefing us would be sharing with us some state secrets or strategies, but it turned out that these officials were just summarising most of the timetables for the claims of the descendants of Sulu Sultanate, information of which can already be found on the Internet and the media! There was nothing that we didn’t already know!” he said.

Chan said that the invitation letter to them stated that only three federal ministers would be attending the briefing, including Minister (for Law) in the Prime Minister’s Department Wan Junaidi, Minister (for Economic Affairs) in the Prime Minister’s Department Mustafa Mohamed, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Saifuddin Abdullah. Even with these three, it was quite a grand event. However, apart from these three ministers, other heavyweights who attended the briefing included Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun, Minister (for Sabah & Sarawak Affairs) in the Prime Minister’s Department Maximus Ongkili, Minister of Tourism Nancy Shukri and also Minister of Energy Takiyuddin Hassan.

“With the attendance of all these heavyweights, I was expecting more of them to speak and share more information. However, despite all the fanfare, only the Minister of Law gave an opening speech and only the Attorney-General reported the ins and outs of the whole case. After the one-and-a-half hour briefing, many of the MPs present complained that the briefing was completely on facts that they already have knowledge of and that it basically was a regurgitation of the origins of the Sulu descendants’ claim and such facts are no state secret,” he said.


Chan then said that he remarked during the question-and-answer session that the issue of revealing the government’s plan or strategy to fend off the claim as claimed by Speaker Azhar Harun did not arise at all. As such, rather than being dismissive, the Speaker should accept the motions of the MPs, as long as they do not touch on the content of the specific case, and to allow the MPs to debate issues such as Sabah’s border security, how former Prime Minister Najib Razak made the decision to stop paying the cess money to the descendants of Sulu Sultans in 2013, etc.

Chan said that the issue of the seizure of Petronas’ overseas assets has caused many MPs to put forward various motions. As long as the issues of the motion are different, different ministers will be required to answer them.

“The motion by Awang Husaini is in response to Najib’s decision to stop paying ceded money to the descendants of Sulu Sultans in 2013, and although it seems to be related to the ongoing Sulu Sultan descendant’s claim case, it is actually not directly related. I sincerely hope that the Speaker will accept this motion and allow a debate,” said Chan. — Borneo Post