Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Kingdom arose from the GRP-MILF Peace Agreement

For a comprehensive understanding of what is happening in Sabah right now, read my friend Arlyn dela Cruz's article over at the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) at http://globalnation.inquirer.net/64577/heirs-of-sultan-of-sulu-pursue-sabah-claim-on-their-own.

Now, the more important question---why is it that the Government of the Republic of the Philippines practically ignored the claims of the Kitams who claim to be the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo?

According to deep sources, Malaysia insists that the GRP should ignore the claims of the heirs of the Sultan of Sulu in exchange for a peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Malaysia's interests in serving as mediator in the peace negotiations between the GRP and the MILF is really in keeping with its general national interests of keeping Sabah as their "property" and under their management.

Meaning, Malaysia used the MILF as a bait for the GRP to ignore the legitimate claims of the Kirams in relation to Sabah. Therefore, the GRP-MILF peace agreement is nothing more than a concession.

Sabah was a gift of the Sultan of Borneo to the Sultan of Sulu after the Islamic forces quelled a possible rebellion and war in Borneo. The Bornean sultan gave his two territories--Sabah and Palawan--to the Sultan of Sulu who, back in the 16th century, was the regional hegemon. The cession of territory happened in 1658.

In 1878, Sultan Jamalul Ahmad Kiram leased Sabah to a British company. The British at that time, was the colonizer of Malaysia. The lease agreement was between Gustavus Baron de Overbeck and Alfred Dent. In the agreement, it specifically disallowed the turnover of Sabah to any other government or personality without the expressed approval of the Sultan of Sulu.

In 1968, Britain granted political independence to Malaysia and in turn, ceded the administration even of Sabah to the Malaysian government.

The entire Kitam clan has already united. Their claim is basically legal in the sense that even the Malaysian government is paying them monthly rent or "cession money" amounting to US$1,500, which, to the heirs of Sultan Jamalul Kiram, especially to Muhammad Fuad Kiram I, the reigning Sultan, is very small. Sabah is about 77,000 square kilometers and contributes 30 billion dollars annually to the Malaysian economy. IN current terms, Malaysia should pay the current lessor at least US$ 3 billion dollars in rent annually.

However, because of the consistent ignorance of the Philippine government, and the fact that, the Philippine government is, in itself, a colonizer so to speak of the Sultanate of Sulu, this administration practically abandoned the claim and in exchange for a so-called "lasting peace" in Mindanao, allowed Malaysia's participation in the peace process.

Thus, a Kingdom now rose up, and is expected to press its legitimate claims until the end.