Malaysian foreign ministry condemns controversial Filipino lawyer for burning Malaysian flag

Ely Pamatong burning the Malaysian flag. Photo: President Pamatong Supporters FB account
Ely Pamatong burning the Malaysian flag. Photo: President Pamatong Supporters FB account

When will this guy stop with his crazy stunts?

The Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (also called Wisma Putra) released a statement yesterday condemning Filipino lawyer Elly Pamatong for burning the Malaysian flag at an event.

Pamatong is a controversial figure who is described by his supporters as the “legitimate” president of the Philippines. In 2003, he founded an organization called USA Freedom Fighters of the East (USAFFE) which The Philippine Daily Inquirer described as “an anti-communist paramilitary organization.”

The lawyer’s flag-burning incident was captured in a series of photos that appeared last month on the Facebook account of his supporters. According to the caption, Pamatong’s action was a protest against Malaysia’s “continuing invasion of the State of Sabah.”

The caption also stated that Pamatong is protesting against the ongoing plebiscite for the Bangsamoro Organic Law, The caption stated that instead, Pamatong “supports either the Tripoli Agreement of 1976 or the creation of Sabah and Sulu archipelago into an independent REPUBLIC OF BANGSAMORO.”

In a statement released by the Malaysian foreign ministry, it strongly condemned Pamatong’s actions.

It said: “The flag is a sacred national symbol and should be treated with respect. Such actions and anti-Malaysia comments made by this individual are offensive and the accusations made are baseless.”

The statement also added that the Malaysian government is urging the Philippine government to take action against Pamatong.

It said that the Philippine government should “ensure that such [an] incident does not recur as it could potentially tarnish the excellent bilateral relations which Malaysia and the Philippines currently enjoy.”

This is not Pamatong’s first brush with infamy. In 2014, he was arrested for allegedly committing sedition. In 2017, charges were filed against him when authorities discovered that he was allegedly in possession of a pistol, bullet, and grenades without the necessary permits. He was also charged with usurpation of authority for declaring that he was the Philippines’ president.

It was also in 2014 when members of USAFFE allegedly attempted to bomb the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3.

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