Brave New World (The Star)
6 March 2013
Despite the emotional calls of the invaders that they are simply taking
what is theirs, what they have done is deeply wrong and unlawful. In
international law there is no justification for the use of arms except in
THINGS are moving so quickly in Sabah, that I dare not make any comment on
the current situation, since what is “current” seems to change by the hour.
From the start, let me say that it is sad and regrettable that there has been
so much loss of life. Our thoughts ought to go to the dead, but perhaps more
importantly to those they leave behind.
I am still befuddled as to why this has happened at all.
The claims made by the invaders that Sabah belongs to the Sultanate of Sulu
and therefore they are justified in taking it, is very doubtful.
Historically, it is true that Sabah fell under the jurisdiction of Sulu, but
this was handed to the British via a treaty.
It follows that when Sabah joined Sarawak, Singapore and Malaya to create
Malaysia and in this process gain independence from the British, the arrangement
between the British and the Sulu Sultanate then simply transferred to the new
Of course the treaty itself can be re-examined. Or the manner in which the
Sultan of Sulu agreed to the agreement can be questioned; perhaps he was coerced
But even if this was to be done, it has to be done peacefully and not by
force of arms.
In international law there is no justification for the use of arms except in
There is no element of self-defence here, it was an invasion.
And here again, another legal conundrum arises for the Sultanate of Sulu does
not exist as an international legal entity. It is not a sovereign state.
The Philippines is a sovereign state and they clearly did not order this
So, in effect, this crisis is the result of private individuals and thus
outside the ambit of international law.
Be that as it may, the effect is still the same as one army attacking
another; violence and the people of Sabah living in fear.
I believe that despite the emotional calls of the invaders that they are
simply taking what is theirs, what they have done is deeply wrong and
All that remains is to hope that this episode can end soon without further loss
I have no doubt the Malaysian armed forces will be victorious; it is just a
matter of how soon and with how many casualties.
What we don’t need at this time is the politicking of the situation.
Seriously, all these conspiracy theories going around, if they were true
could only mean that all politicians in this country on both sides of the divide
are utterly mentally dead.
Neither Barisan nor Pakatan can gain from this crisis.
Depending on who you talk to, both sides are accused of having a hand in the
incitement of this invasion.
Seriously, I know they are politicians, but even they can’t be that
If Pakatan did this and they were found out, they will be traitors and their
future will be ashes.
The same goes for the Barisan. And what good would a situation like this gain
There is talk about the elections being put on hold if this goes on because
the Government will declare an emergency. Would an emergency really help them
gain popularity and legitimacy? I don’t think so.
Once this is all over we can have a proper impartial investigation to find
out the full story of this sad chapter in our lives.
But until then, I hope that all this tasteless politicking can be put aside
and that peace will be restored as soon as humanly possible.