Philippines-Malaysia relations

Malaysia to summon PH ambassador over Locsin’s Sabah tweet

Sofia Tomacruz
In a display of Twitter diplomacy, Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein calls Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr's tweet 'irresponsible'

Malaysia said on Wednesday night, July 29, that it will summon the Philippine ambassador after Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr raised the issue of Sabah in a tweet. 

Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein made the announcement on his official Twitter account in response to Locsin’s own tweet which said “Sabah is not in Malaysia if you want to have anything to do with the Philippines.”

Locsin had made the remark in relation to another tweet posted by the United States Embassy that showcased the United States Agency for International Development’s donation to Filipino repatriates from “Sabah, Malaysia.”

“This is an irresponsible statement that affects bilateral ties. [The Malaysia Ministry of Foreign Affairs]  will summon the Philippines Ambassador on Monday to explain,”  Hussein said. 

“Sabah is, and will always be, part of Malaysia,” he added. 

Sabah is a territory claimed by the Philippines but occupied by Malaysia. 

Hussein’s remarks are the latest on the territorial issue and come after Malaysia slammed the proposal to make Sabah the Philippines’ 13th federal state under a new Philippine Constitution last January 2018. 

The current Philippine Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Malaysia is Charles Jose, a seasoned diplomat.

Not the first time

This is not the first time a Philippine ambassador was summoned by a host country over Locsin’s controversial statements.

In February 2018, Germany summoned the Philippines’ acting ambassador after Locsin defended President Rodrigo Duterte’s remarks on Adolf Hitler in an interview in that country.

Locsin’s Twitter account has long been the subject of controversy as he had frequently posted outlandish statements and policy pronouncements on the platform.

Earlier in March, he was locked out of his account for a few hours after Twitter said the Philippine official violated its rules. –

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at