The Sabah standoff: On which side are you? | Inquirer Opinion

The Sabah standoff: On which side are you?

/ 10:59 PM March 11, 2013

Judging by the mixed reactions from across the political spectrum, all this finger-pointing about the current standoff in Sabah is, in my humble opinion, counterproductive. Instead of helping solve the problem peacefully through diplomatic means, some people, in their desire to put their two cents in for reasons only they know, fail to see the forest for the trees. I think it would help if we put the whole issue in perspective. Yes, from a layman’s standpoint, I liken the incursion (or excursion as one royal family member jokingly put it) to a forcible entry made by a landlord into the property he has rented out to a tenant.

I am not contesting the legitimacy of ownership here. Yes, the landlord is the legitimate owner of the property. In fact, he has all the right to repossess it. Indeed, he does; it’s his property, no question about it. But the overriding question here is, “Can he just barge into the property with all guns blazing anytime he pleases without so much as notifying the tenant of his intention?” I don’t pretend to be an expert in the law, but common sense tells me that the landlord is not only duty-bound to honor their contract, be it written or verbal, but also to uphold social conventions.


It’s quite unfortunate that the rash decision resulting in fatal consequences has divided this nation yet again. I wholeheartedly support the idea of our brothers now embroiled in an impasse to come home, study their options dispassionately through open consultations and dialogue and, when the right opportunity presents itself, take up where they left off. This way, they can negotiate from the position of strength, fully aware that they are operating within the bounds of the law.

It may take a lot of time and diplomatic efforts to see the problem of repossession resolved, but the main consideration for now is they have the legal parameters to fall back on, and hopefully with the support of all parties concerned and the international community, the way to peacefully reclaiming what rightfully belongs to them becomes smooth and tenable.



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TAGS: Foreign affairs, Global Nation, Malaysia, Philippines, sabah standoff, territorial dispute
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