Abang Johari (centre) arrives at the PBB headquarters accompanied by (from left) PBB vice-president Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi, Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, PBB secretary-general Dato Sri Alexander Nanta Linggi and PBB vice-president Datuk Julaihi Narawi. – Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi

KUCHING (Sept 1): Sarawak is backing Malaysia’s position in rejecting China’s 2023 standard map, which outlines portions of Malaysian waters near Sabah and Sarawak as belonging to China, said Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

“Malaysia has issued our position that it does not acknowledge that map. That means that area is still ours.

“Well, Malaysia has clarified its position – they cannot accept the map. It’s not binding on Malaysia. Sarawak is within Malaysia, that is our position,” he told reporters after chairing a Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Supreme Council meeting at the party’s headquarters off Jalan Bako here today.

He pointed out the new map outlined by China “doesn’t affect us because there is an international law that you have to comply with”.

He stressed that all nations have to comply with the international law sanctioned by the United Nations (UN), which China is a member of.

He opined that the core issue is that the area claimed by China is within Malaysia.

“Don’t tell me we can also issue a new map. That new map is not binding internationally. That’s why we have to comply with international law,” Abang Johari said.

On Wednesday, the Foreign Ministry in Wisma Putra issued a statement to announce that Malaysia does not recognise China’s 2023 standard map, which outlines portions of Malaysian waters near Sabah and Sarawak as belonging to China.

It reiterated Malaysia’s commitment to continue working with all parties in ensuring the full and effective implementation of the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).

“Malaysia further remains committed towards the negotiations of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC), as well as its expeditious conclusion,” said the ministry.

The Foreign Ministry added that Malaysia remains consistent in rejecting any claims on the nation’s maritime areas which is based on the 1979 map of Malaysia.

On Tuesday, Beijing reportedly published its official standard map of China for 2023, which also included parts of India as coming under China.

Maritime areas within Malaysia’s exclusive economic zone near Sabah and Sarawak were included, as well as areas belonging to Brunei, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.