Filipinos losing jobs in Sabah following standoff


ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Malaysian employers have laid off a number of Filipino workers in Sabah in light of the tensions created by the “homecoming” of the heirs of the sultanate of Sulu and armed members of their “royal army” to press their proprietary claims over the eastern portion of the island, relatives of the workers and local officials in Mindanao said.

Among the first to be laid off was Myrna de la Cruz of Isabela City in Basilan.

Madeline, 18, Myrna’s daughter, said she received a call from her mother early this week to inform her that she was sacked by her Malaysian employer as a laundry attendant in Tawau.

Myrna had been working in Tawau for nearly two decades already before the Lahad Datu stand-off started on Feb. 12, three days after Agbimuddin Kiram, the sultate’s crown prince and younger bother of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, and his followers arrived.

“She told me her employer advised her to go home so she would not be implicated in the Lahad Datu situation,” Madeline told the Inquirer by phone.

Ramir Abdulhalil, a 20-year-old college student from Patikul, Sulu, said his father also informed the family he and three other colleagues had lost their jobs last week at an oil palm plantation in Sempornah, also in Sabah.

“The tension in Sabah was the most likely reason for the loss of my father’s job,” Ramir said, adding his father decided to come home instead of trying to find another job there.

The government has said the stand-off in Sabah between Malaysian security forces and the so-called Sulu “royal army” has put the jobs of Filipinos in Malaysia at risk.

Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II  told Manila reporters as early as last week that while the government was trying to help address the tension, brought about by the renewed ownership claim of the heirs of the erstwhile sultanate over  Sabah, Malaysian employers might view Filipinos as not trustworthy.

According to government data, about 800,000 Filipinos work in various Malaysian states. Most of them are in Sabah, where they have been tolerated for decades even if they didn’t possess working documents because of the historically close, even familial, ties between Sabahans and residents of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

There were more unverified reports of Filipinos losing their jobs in the wake of the Lahad Datu stand-off, according to Acting Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

If the termination of Filipino employees has indeed become a way for Malaysian employers to show they were standing up for their country and its territory,  local officials said a much larger problem lies ahead.

Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan admitted that the provincial government has no means to accommodate those who will be displaced if more Filipinos were sent home by their Malaysian employers.

“There is no job for them here. Many of them did not even have houses here,” Tan said by phone.

He said the influx of jobless Tausugs, many of whom were not even raised here, from Sabah would create a serious problem besides raising  local unemployment figures.

“They might contribute to social and peace and order problems in the future,” Tan said.

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  • Majorie

    The indigenous Sabahans like being in Malaysia.  Just because some Filipinos in Sabah claim that Sabah is theirs…the Kadazans, Muruts, and Rungus, etc prefer Malaysia.  We’ve been in Sabah for a very long time.  This should be the decision of the real people of Sabah.

    • Raja Kumar

      Filipinos don’t believe in democracy or freedom of thought unless it suits them that’s why they have so many extra judicial killings and threats to journalists who don’t toe the line.
      They will cry about China’s “bullying” about the Spratlys and Scarborough shoal which were supposedly annexed by Spain which is the only way they are claiming this island chain but then want to ignore the people and claim Sabah through a Sultan who they don’t even recognise in 2010 the people of Sulu actually voted for independence yet Philippines ignored them so don’t think these enemies of freedom would care about the feelings of Sabahans they see a rich province don’t have the military power to claim it by force so whine like girls they want to loot it like they did to Mindanao

      • Mao Mao Chamn

        This is another classic example of curry flavored nan, tortilla, and fajitas…..the Tamils are accommodating my motherland to set up naval base in Sri Lanka to contain India and Japan…….in exchange for “mickey mouse” renmenbi…..Its Tamil’s nature to sell off their sovereignty and people to the han chinese.  As servants of han chinese….it’s fair to say that the Tamil monkeys deserve our protection because Tamil nations are vassal states that are tributary states of the “middle kingdom” 

  • Majorie

     The indigenous Sabahans are the real owners.  Let’s not politicize this.

    • Mao Mao Chamn

      No.  The Sultan of Sulu and Sabah are the real owners…..just increase the rent from 5,300 ringgit to 200 million ringgit every month….get the payment from the income of your offshore drilling that is still part of Sabah and still owned by the Kirams.

  • Majorie

    I am a indigenous Sabahan and I don’t care to be called a ‘so-called Sabahan”.  One ethnic group, the Tausugs are trying to claim Sabah.  Well there are a bunch of other ethnic group who say Sabah belong to Sabahans.  We choose which country we want to be in.  How do you feel if one ethnic group in your country claim that they have more ownership of the land than the other ethnic groups? 

    • Mao Mao Chamn

      Stupid……the alleged “referendum” that happened was not even monitored by the United Nations before the formation of Malaysia in the 1960s……your British colonial masters were the ones who instigated the “staged” referendum to their own liking.  This was done in the Falklands Islands which are owned by Argentina.  How do you know if the true “Sabahans” voted to join Malaysia?  The so called referendum was not credible.  It was rigged.  This is the reason why Tunku Abdul Rahman had a “konfrontasi” with Sukarno of Indonesia.  Now, your British colonial master brought their proxies to subdue Indonesia.  These proxies are now known as ‘second-rated Britons” – the Australians and the New Zealanders, who also voted through referendum that their present nation wanted to join the British commonwealth and eased out the native Maoris.

      • Raja Kumar

        You pretend to be Chinese now you reveal yourself to be a troll it was not staged it was an international affair with international representatives.
        The people chose Malaysia and although everything is not as good as it should be it is a lot better than your country if you want money work for it rather than trying to steal from others.
        “Eased” out who eased out?
        NZ and Australia hahahaha in this case the natives voted for Malaysia this is before mass immigration of Sabah take your silly claim and put in the bin oh btw the Suluks want independence grant it to them so they can join Malaysia

      • Mao Mao Chamn

        stupid…..the referendum that was staged and manipulated by your colonial masters to include Sabah in the federated Malaysia was rigged.  The Sultan of Sulu and Sabah was not a party to it.  Your country, Malaysia, supported muslim extremism in Thailand and the Filipin while your country wants to look good in the international community of nations by mediating peace between muslims and non muslims.  The Moro rebellion with the support of the Malaysian government stunted the economic growth of the Filipin and southern Filipin for the last 40 years. It is time for Malaysia to suffer and experience the same fate for the next 40 years.  As of this writing, another 5 Malaysian police were ambush by the Royal Army of Sultan.  War will escalate.  Tell your government to dismantle all terrorist camps in Kuala Lumpur and Sabah that train Muslims from the Filipin and Thailand.  Cut the flow of money that funds these Muslim extremists by way of Malaysia.  These money comes from rogue and pariah states such as Libya and Iran and given to Malaysia to be distributed to muslim radicals in the Filipin and Thailand.  The table is now turned to you, the Malaysians.  You will suffer the same fate.  

  • Majorie

     The Moros are not indigenous to Sabah. 

    • Raja Kumar

      Exactly right nor do they belong there

      • Mao Mao Chamn

        Tamils do not belong to Sabah…..they are from Afghanistan.

  • jclarendo

    Pres Aquino what are u waiting for send help to ur people  in Sabah hindi yong election ang iniintindi mo suspend the election or send the NPA to reinforce the tausogs.

  • Danial Syed

    As Sabah is part of Malaysia then our units are there. Just waiting for orders now. I ask all residing Filipinos to leave Sabah territory. Our unit is not as forgiving as our regular army units. Our unit is basically going to do the “Clean Up” mission. If you see us in black balaclava, armed or not armed, you’d better run. 

  • Danial Syed

    One word to everyone, Sabah was given a mandate during British time. Either independence or join Malaysian Federation. They chose the latter. Sulu has no claims. Times has past us by. Sabah is not a subject. Thanks to the Sulu gunmen, now all Filipinos in Sabah and Sarawak are under threat. As i said we are not as forgiving as our regular army brothers. Our job is clean sweep. We do the job that the regular army are unable to do….ps. one of my guys collect ears as part of his trophy. 

  • Danny Bravo


    • Daimler Altschuh

      Please write in English

  • Daimler Altschuh

    The filipinos going home to Mindanao need not worry. The heroic sulu sultan take care of you. Just go see him or his representative once you arrive home.

  • AngAswang12

    Malaysia has the upper hand. It has a stronger economy, armed forces, and democracy than the Philippines. Real politik translates to sane decisions, the Kirams are bereft of sound judgment. Now they have dragged the whole country to this messy development which affects hardworking filipinos trying to earn a living in Malaysia.I hope Kirams, Nur Misuari, MNLF, and brainless Pinoys egging for a fight with a stronger neighbor are happier! SHAME on YOU. Allah will send yo to your fiery hell. Allahu Akbar!

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