Archive for the ‘Sultan of Brunei’ Category


by Joe Fernandez
Guest Columnist

COMMENTIf the Government in Putrajaya is truly honest with itself, it will confront the fact that there’s very little sympathy in Sabah and Sarawak on the ground for the security forces apparently battling it out in Lahad Datu. It’s 50 years too late. They might as well pack up and go home and instead recall the Sabah Border Scouts and Sarawak Rangers.

At the same time, the continuing statements from one Jamalul Kiram III, the Manila press, the Philippines Government and Nur Misuari of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) on Sabah and Sarawak are being viewed in the right perspective.

Local political parties in Sabah and Sarawak are convinced, like the descendants of the heirs of the defunct Sulu Sultanate and Nur Misuari that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague is the best venue to settle rival claims to the two Borneo nations. Already, the State Reform Party (Star) led by Jeffrey Kitingan, has reportedly included the ICJ option in their draft Manifesto for the forthcoming 13th General Election.

The ICJ is also the best venue to address the fact that Singapore was expelled in 1965 from the Federation of Malaysia by unconstitutional, unlawful and illegal means. It’s an open secret that then Malaysian Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman had the doors of Parliament locked until the MPs agreed to the expulsion of the city state from the Federation.

The general consensus across both sides of the Sulu Sea is that the Sabah/Sarawak issue will not go away unless there’s a final resolution one way or another. In the absence of a final resolution, the security of both Sabah and Sarawak will continue to be compromised and thereby affect investor and consumer confidence.  

Singapore Application would be a continuation of Pulau Batu Putih case

If Singapore is featured as well at the same time that the cases of Sabah and Sarawak are considered, it would amount to a revisitation of the Pulau Batu Putih hearings which saw the island of a few rocks being awarded to the city state.

The Singapore Application could be made by the Government of that island or vide a Class Action Suit commenced by concerned citizens seeking closure on an issue which has bedevilled relations on both sides of the causeway since 1965.

The descendants of the nine heirs of the defunct Sulu Sultanate claim that they have private property rights to Sabah or parts of it. They further claim and/or used to claim that sovereignty over Sabah rests with the Philippines Government. This is a grey area since one Sulu Sultan apparently “transferred” his sultanate’s sovereignty over Sabah to the Manila Government by way of a Power of Attorney which has reportedly since expired.

Jamalul Kiram III claims to be Sultan of Sulu.

Sulu claimants, Nur Misuari don’t have a leg to stand on in Sabah, Sarawak

At last count there were some 60 claimants to the Sulu Sultanship, not all being descendants of the nine heirs of the defunct Sulu Sultanate.

The nine Plaintiffs viz. Dayang Dayang Piandao Kiram, Princess Tarhata Kiram, Princess Sakinur Kiram, Sultan Ismael Kiram, Sultan Punjungan Kiram, Sitti Rada Kiram, Sitti Jahara Kiram, Sitti Mariam Kiram and Mora Napsa were recognised by C. F. Mackasie, Chief Judge of Borneo, on 13 Dec, 1939 in response to Civil Suit No. 169/39.

The Judge ruled that the nine heirs, as the beneficiaries under the will of the late Sultan Jamalul Kiram, who died at Jolo on 7 June 1935, are entitled to collect a total of RM 5,300 per annum from Sabah in perpetuity for having foregone in perpetuity the right to collect tolls along the waterways in eastern Sabah. The reference point was the deed of cession made between the Sultan of Sulu and the predecessors of the British North Borneo Chartered Company on Jan 22, 1878, and under a confirmatory deed dated April 22, 1903.

If the descendants of the nine heirs end up at the ICJ in The Hague, there are no prizes for guessing which way the case will go.

The Sulu claimants don’t have a leg to stand on in Sabah.

Nur Misuari ready to do battle with a battery of lawyers

The Sulu Sultans of old were extorting tolls, virtually a criminal activity, from the terrified traffic along the eastern seaboard of Sabah. The Brunei Sultanate meanwhile denies ever handing any part of Sabah, or the right to collect tolls along the waterways, to Sulu.

The British North Borneo Chartered Company had no right whatsoever to enter into negotiations on behalf of the people of Sabah with anyone.

The entire land area of Sabah, by history, Adat and under Native Customary Rights (NCR), belonged to the Orang Asal (Original People) of the Territory.

The sovereignty of Sabah rests with the people of Sabah. This sovereignty was re-affirmed on 31 Aug, 1963 when the state won independence from Britain which had occupied the state after World War II. Therein the matter lies. The sovereignty of Sabah had never been transferred to Brunei, Sulu, the Philippines, Britain or Malaya, masquerading as Malaysia since 16 Sept, 1963.

Likewise, Sarawak’s independence was re-affirmed on 22 July, 1963 when the British left. Sarawak had been an independent country for over 150 years under its own Rajah until World War II intervened and the Japanese occupied the country. The war over, the British coerced the Rajah to hand over his country to the Colonial Office in London because they had plans to form the Federation of Malaysia with Sarawak as one of the constituent elements. British occupation of Sarawak was illegal and an act of piracy.

Nur Misuari claims that Sarawak had belonged to his family, from the time of his great great grandfather. He claims that he has the services of the best lawyers at his disposal to make his case at The Hague.

Cobbold Commission a scam by British and Malayan Governments

The outcome of any hearing at The Hague will be a forgone conclusion: the Sulu and Nur Misuari petitions will be struck out without even a hearing; the Court will rule that the people of Sabah and Sarawak never agreed to be in Malaysia; and Singapore will hear that its expulsion from Malaysia in 1965 was unconstitutional, unlawful and illegal. The people of Sabah and Sarawak must be given the right to intervene in the Applications at the ICJ which will determine their fate. There’s nothing to prevent the people of Sulu and the southern Philippines from throwing in an Application that the Philippines Government has no business to occupy their traditional Muslim homeland.

The people of Singapore decided in a Yes or Note Vote in 1962 to the idea of independence through merger with Malaya via the Federation of Malaysia. The inclusion of Orang Asal-majority Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei was to facilitate the merger between Chinese-majority Singapore and non-Malay majority Malaya.

Brunei stayed out of Malaysia at the 11th hour after an armed rebellion in the Sultanate against the idea of Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei being in Malaysia.

No Referendum was held in Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and Malaya on Malaysia. The Kelantan Government even took the matter to Court.

A sampling of community leaders conducted by the Cobbold Commission found that only the Suluk and Bajau community leaders, perhaps sensing some personal benefits for themselves as proxies of Muslim-controlled Kuala Lumpur, agreed with the idea of Malaysia.

Revolution another possibility to finish off Sulu, Nur Misuari, Manila

Orang Asal community leaders wanted a period of independence before looking at the idea of Malaysia again. They asked for further and better particulars on Malaysia to be used as the reference point for a future re-visitation of the Malaysia Concept. They were not provided these further and better particulars.

The Chinese community leaders, keeping the eventual fate of the resources and revenues of the country uppermost in mind, totally rejected the idea of Malaysia. They were not wrong. Putrajaya today carts away all the resources and revenues of Sabah and Sarawak to Malaya and very little of it comes back to the two Borneo.

The Cobbold Commission disingenuously declared that two third of the people in Sabah i.e. Suluk/Bajau + Orang Asal supported Malaysia. The Commission made the same declaration in Sarawak where only the Sarawak Malay community leaders supported the idea of Malaysia for self-serving reasons.

When Singapore was expelled from Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak – the facilitators of the merger between Singapore and Malaya – were not allowed to exit the Federation. This is a crucial point which will feature at the ICJ.

Security became an afterthought. But as the continuing influx of illegal immigrants into Sabah and Sarawak, and the Lahad Datu intrusion, has proven, there has been no security for both Borneo nations in Malaysia. ESSCOM (Eastern Sabah Security Command) and ESSZONE (Eastern Sabah Safety Zone) comes too little too late, after 50 years.

In the unlikely event that the ICJ rules in favour of the heirs of the defunct Sulu Sultanate and Nur Misuari, it would be the sacred duty of Sabahans and Sarawakians to launch a Revolution and decapitate all the claimants to their countries from the Philippines.

This would bury the issue once and for all and shut up the Manila press and the Philippines Government.

Singapore’s re-admission to Malaysia, if it materialises, would not persuade Sabah and Sarawak to join the Federation as well. The people would want Malaya even quicker out Sabah and Sarawak. It would be the end of a long drawn out nightmare.

 

Joe Fernandez is a graduate mature student of law and an educationist, among others, who loves to write especially Submissions for Clients wishing to Act in Person. He feels compelled, as a semi-retired journalist, to put pen to paper — or rather the fingers to the computer keyboard — whenever something doesn’t quite jell with his weltanschauung (worldview). He shuttles between points in the Golden Heart of Borneo formed by the Sabah west coast, Labuan, Brunei, northern Sarawak and the watershed region in Borneo where three nations meet.


by Farish A Noor
http://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/23020-between-a-fluid-region-and-a-hard-state

Allow me to begin by stating categorically that I am a committed Southeast Asian-ist and a committed ASEAN-ist.

In my work as a lecturer I have constantly reminded my students of the constructed nature of Southeast Asia today, the relative newness of our political borders, and the newness of our nation-states. I have also emphasized the shared overlapping histories of the many diasporas that populate this complex and sometimes confounding archipelago of ours.

I long for the day when the people of Southeast Asia can see themselves as ASEAN citizens, but despite the fact that the ASEAN Community is almost upon us (by 2015), many of us in the region are still driven by primordial attachments to place, identity, language and culture.

It can be summed up thus: We Southeast Asians are caught between a fluid region and a hard state.

No matter how hard some of the hyper-nationalists among us may try, they cannot deny the fact that we share a common, interconnected history/histories. These histories often overlap, make contesting demands and claims, and contradict each other. But that is the nature of history as a discourse, for it is a narrative without a full-stop and is a discursive terrain that has to be looked at from a multiplicity of angles.

There can never be a final history to any area or subject, for as soon as we put the pen down, time marches on and we are forced to return and revise our settled assumptions.

For those who seek a happy panacea to their existential angst, history is not the remedy because every single historical claim can and will be contested by another.

That makes history a soft and unstable foundation for any political-economic claim, but thankfully it is also the reason why historians like me won’t be unemployed any time soon.

So much for fluidity and shifting historical parameters. Now comes the hard part: We Southeast Asians also happen to be living in the present-day postcolonial world of ASEAN, made up of nation-states that do what nation-states do: Compartmentalize, categorize, delimit and demarcate, fix boundaries and police them.

I have to state here that I am not a big fan of the postcolonial nation-state for the simple reason that in my opinion the post-colonial nation-state is simply the inheritor of the proclivities, bias, myopia and solipsism of the colonial state of the past.

Look around us in Southeast Asia today and what do we see, but postcolonial nation-states that continue to police their people, their borders, their identities and the very epistemology and vocabulary that frames our understanding of ourselves and the Other. Categories like “citizen” and “foreigner” are modern labels that we, Southeast Asians, have inherited from our colonial past along with dubious concepts like racial difference.

Contradiction

What, then, are we today? It would appear to me at least that we Southeast Asians are a hybrid, mongrel lot of communities and peoples with a complicated past.

On the one hand we still retain the residual traces of our primordial roots to land and sea that tell us that this region is our shared home. But we also happen to be modern citizen-subjects living under the modern regime of the racial census, the identity card, the passport and the national flag.

We cannot escape this contradiction because this is what our common history has bequeathed us today. We are modern Southeast Asian citizen-subjects who live in a region with a complex history that predates modernity, colonialism and the nation-state, and we cannot escape our past any more than we can escape our present.

But this contradiction is now manifest in what is happening in the East Malaysian state of Sabah. In the midst of the chest-thumping, saber-rattling jingoism and hyper-nationalism we see rising in both Philippines and Malaysia today, we ought to take a step back and look at ourselves honestly in the face.

It seems that what is confronting us now is a clash between the modern state, driven as it is by its modernist logic of governmentality; and the primordial attachment of some people to land and space that exceeds the confines of temporality and space.

What has happened is that a group of non-state actors, namely those who claim to be the descendants of the Sultan of Sulu, have unilaterally and without the consent of the government of the Philippines, entered into the territory of another state – Malaysia – bearing arms and demanding their right to settle there.

Both the Malaysian and Philippine state are at a loss as to what to do, for both states are now forced to deal with a non-state actor that does not play by the rules of the modern state.

Such a situation can be extended hypothetically in a million directions: What if a bunch of Malaysian citizens unilaterally entered Singapore and claimed it on the grounds that it was formerly a part of the Malay kingdom of Johor? What if a bunch of Thais entered northern Malaysia and claimed the state of Kelantan on the grounds that it was formerly part of the Siamese kingdom?

The possibilities are endless, and dizzying to boot- but the problem would remain the same: How should a state or states deal with non-state actors?

Reviewing history

Two historical details ought to be brought into play at this point:

The first is that the history of Sabah itself ought to be foregrounded at this stage, as Philippine and Malaysian nationalists have failed to ask what do the people of Sabah think about this.

Let us note that Sabah was never an empty space that was passed on from one power to another. In the past, Sabah came under the domination of the Kingdom of Brunei, and it was Brunei that then gifted parts of Sabah to the Kingdom of Sulu, and it was both the kingdoms of Brunei and Sulu that then passed it on to the British North Borneo Company. But Sabah has its own past, its own history and its own people – who seem to have been left out of the discussion altogether.

The indigenous people of Sabah happen to be the Kadazandusuns and the Muruts, who consist of the Bonggis (Banggi island, Kudat), the Idaan/Tindals (Tempasuk, Kota Belud), the Dumpaas Kadazans (Orang Sungai, Kinabatangan), the Bagahaks (Orang Sungai, also Kinabatangan), the Tombinuo and Buludupis Kadazans (Orang Sungai, also Kinabatangan), the Kimaragang Kadazans (Tandek and Kota Marudu), the Liwans (Ranau and Tambunan), the Tangaah Kadazans (Panampat and Papar), the Rungus (Matunggong and Kudat), the Tatanah Kadazans (Kuala Penyu), the Lotuds (Tuaran), the Bisayas (Beaufort), the Tidongs (Tawau) and the Kedayans (Sipitang). Then there are the Muruts who consist of the Nabais, Piluans, Bokans, Taguls, Timoguns, Lundayehs, Tangaras, Semambus, Kolors and Melikops.

These are the indigenous communities of Sabah, and if anyone has a right to the land of Sabah it ought to be them. Nobody denies that Bruneians, Suluks, Ilanuns, Bugis, Malays, Chinese, Indians, Arabs and other communities have resided in Sabah too in the past, but the latter came from other kingdoms and polities, and in the case of the Bruneians and Suluks of Sulu, they also happened to be outsiders who imposed their dominance over the indigenous people of Sabah.

This brings me to the second point I want to make: It has to be remembered that both Brunei and Sulu held sway over Sabah as a territory under their dominion, in a manner that seems more akin to the way the British North Borneo company held sway over Sabah from the 1880s to 1940s.

When the descendants of the Sultan of Sulu claim to “own” Sabah today, what exactly does this deed of ownership entail and mean? Does it signify Sulu’s former political dominance over a territory that was gifted to it by another domineering power? If so, then how is this any different from making a colonial claim over a land whose people may not even recognize Sulu’s right to govern over them?

It is ironic that while the self-proclaimed Sultan of Sulu bemoans his loss of dominance, nobody (not even the Sultan) has asked if the Kadazandusuns, Muruts and other indigenous people of Sabah want to live under his dominion. Furthermore, it seems to only underscore the fact that Sulu’s claim (like Brunei’s and Britain’s) was that of an external polity claiming a territory that was not part of their homeland proper.

Cosmopolitan Sabah

None of this alters the fact that Sabah has always been, and remains, an extraordinarily cosmopolitan space where cultures and peoples overlap and share common lives and interests. In comparison to other parts of Malaysia, for instance, Sabahan society retains its fluid and dynamic identity until today.

In Sabah it is not uncommon to come across indigenous families where the siblings happen to be Muslim and Christian, all living under the same roof and celebrating Muslim and Christian festivals together. Sabah society also seems more decentered compared to other communities in the region: The Kadazandusuns do not have a concept of Kingship, and instead govern themselves along the lines of communal leaders (Orang Kaya Kaya) and their symbolic grand leader called the “Huguan Siou.”

So tolerant and open is Sabah society that inter-ethnic marriages are common, with Kadazandusuns and Muruts marrying Malays, Chinese, Arabs as well as Suluks, Bugis, Bajaos, Bruneians. It has been like this for hundreds of years; and I hasten to add that I actually grew up in Sabah between the years 1981 to 1984, and recall how open, eclectic and mobile Sabah society was then.

Sabahans have never had a problem with other communities settling there, and that is why we still see large numbers of Suluks, Bajaos, Malays and Chinese across the state, settling into mixed families or into smaller settlements. Furthermore Sabahans are attuned to the reality of living in a fluid archipelago, which is why its coastal settlements have always been transit points where people from abroad come in and out with ease.

Just before the Lahad Datu incident I was informed that a large number of Suluks had arrived for a wedding, and they came in without passports and visas, and left peacefully afterwards.

It has been like that in Sabah since my childhood. But my fear is that culture of openness and fluidity came to an untimely and graceless end when some of the followers of the Sultan of Sulu landed with guns and rocket-launchers.

Fluid borders only exist under one assumption: that the visitor is a friend, and not an aggressor. The moment guns come into the picture, the fluid border dries up and becomes hard.

Hardened borders, hardened hearts

I hate nationalism. I said at the beginning that I am a committed Southeast Asian-ist and ASEAN-ist, and this debacle in Sabah has not weakened my resolve, as both an academic and an activist, to work towards closer ASEAN integration.

Here in my institute in NTU, I see the faces of ASEAN every single day: My students come from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, in fact all of ASEAN. Being childless myself, I regard them as my wards and responsibility and like all teachers I want them to succeed in the future. I also want them to succeed in an ASEAN region where every ASEAN citizen feels that the entire region is his or her home, a place he/she belongs to, a place where he/she would not feel like a foreigner.

But as I said at the beginning, we ASEAN citizens also live in the age of the modern nation-state, and there is no escaping the fact that we are modern citizen-subjects as well. Being caught between a fluid region and a hard modern state is not an existential crisis that we cannot resolve, for we can bring to the modern nation-state our subjective longings to see greater integration on a people-to-people level that takes the nation-state one step further.

Already we see that the modern nation-state is beginning to transcend itself in ASEAN: The communicative infrastructure that we have built – through roads, rail and cheap airline communications – means that more Southeast Asians are traveling, studying, working and living in different parts of the region than ever before.

Gone are the days when a Malaysian, Filipino or Singaporean would be born in his country, study in the same country, work and die in the same country. In the near future, we may well live to see the birth of the first ASEAN generation who are born in one country, study in another, work in another and die in another, all the while feeling that he or she is still at home, in Southeast Asia.

But for this to happen, we cannot bypass the nation-state entirely; for we need the nation-state in order to transcend the nation-state. We need the nation-state to evolve where it may one day accept the reality that its citizens have multiple origins, multiple destinies, multiple and combined loyalties.

We need to work towards an ASEAN future where our governments may come to accept our complex, confounding hyphenated identities as something normal, and not an anomaly; when someone who is Javanese-Dutch-Indian-Arab like me can claim to come from Indonesia, be born in Malaysia, work in Singapore and love the Philippines.

Ironically, this is the impasse we are at today: To revive our collective memory of a shared Southeast Asian past, we need to work with and through the nation-state as the dominant paradigm that governs international relations.

What we cannot and should not do is selectively appropriate history to make outlandish claims that further only our own limited ends, the way China has been doing by turning to its own China-centric history books in order to claim the South China Sea as theirs.

Such selectivity, be it in the case of China’s or the Sultan of Sulu’s, denies the fact that history will always remain contested by others. Unless we are prepared to accept that whatever view we have of the ASEAN region is only one of many views, and that we need to accept that multi-perspectivism is the only way to navigate ourselves on the choppy waters of history, we will remain forever trapped in our own myopic delusions.

At present, the Sabah impasse has stirred violent emotions among nationalists in Malaysia and the Philippines, with armchair tacticians talking of more violence.

Such idle talk is unbecoming of us, a people who share a complex history whose richness we ought to be celebrating instead. And my final appeal is this: End this incursion into Sabah for the sake of the Sabahans as well as Filipinos and Malaysians; for what this has done is engendered feelings of deep fear and distrust among the Sabahans who have for centuries been among the most open communities in the region.

The thousands of Suluks, Bugis, Bajaos and others who have settled in Sabah for decades have done so with relative ease, but no longer. The Sulu gunmen who landed in Sabah did not only bring their M-16s and rocket-launchers with them, but also the divisive dichotomy of “Self” and “Other/Foreigner,” and the last thing this academic wants to see is yet another wall being built to divide Southeast Asians all over again. – Rappler.com

Dr Farish A Noor is Associate Professor at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, NTU University Singapore. The opinions expressed here are his own and do not necessarily represent his institution.

All photos by the the author.


South China Morning Post

When the Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels signed a framework peace agreement at the Philippine presidential palace last October, one man in the jam-packed Heroes Hall did not join in the jubilation.

That man was 75-year-old Jamalul Kiram III, who was invited to represent the Sultanate of Sulu in the southern Philippines. He comes from a once-wealthy ruling clan that traces its lineage back to the 15th century and what is now Malaysia’s Sabah state.

Kiram was offended that neither Philippine President Benigno Aquino nor Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak had acknowledged his presence.

That royal snub, along with persistent reports of Kiram’s supporters being flogged and deported once again from Sabah, was what drove dozens of his followers to sail from their remote Philippine islands last month to press his claim.

It wasn’t an invasion, Kiram insisted, but a coming home.

“Sabah is ours,” he said, referring to the oil-rich state.

The group representing itself as a royal militia in the service of Kiram arrived by boat on February 12 to re-establish its long-dormant claim to the North Borneo area. The ensuing stand-off with Malaysian authorities erupted into violence on Friday, leaving 14 people dead.

Little of the fabled wealth Karim’s family once owned is evident in the modest two-storey house in Maharlika Village that he calls home. The village is full of refugees from the decades-long Muslim rebel conflict in Mindanao.

From the statements of Kiram, his relatives and Philippine government documents, there emerges the colourful history of how his family has tried to reassert ownership over Sabah. To this day, the Malaysian embassy in Manila delivers a yearly payment – the equivalent of 5,300 ringgit (HK$13,300).

An exasperated Kiram told Aquino: “Mr President, what more proof do you want us to show that Sabah is ours? By the mere fact that Malaysia is paying us annually in the amount of 5,300 Malaysia ringgit, is it not enough?”

Ten years ago, Malaysia’s ambassador to Manila, Mohamed Taufik, confirmed this arrangement when he told the Sunday Morning Post: “I recently paid 5,000 ringgit to the Kiram family. It’s rather miniscule – around 70,000 pesos.” He said “the rent is still being paid but it doesn’t mean we recognise” the family’s ownership.

Neither Malaysia nor Britain disputes that Sabah was a gift to Kiram’s ancestors in the 17th century for helping put down a rebellion against their wealthy cousin, Sultan Bolkiah of Brunei.

In 1878, Kiram’s great grandfather, Jamalul Ahlam, leased Sabah to Alfred Dent and Gustavus Baron de Overbeck, Austria’s former consul in Hong Kong. Both then formed the British North Borneo Company in Hong Kong and applied for a Royal Charter.

The original contract – in Malay but written in Arabic script – used the word padjak or lease, Kiram said. But the British later chose to translate it as “cession”.

This was even though British foreign secretary Lord Granville wrote in 1882 that the contract gave Dent and Overbeck merely “the powers of government made and delegated by the Sultan in whom the sovereignty remains vested”.

By the time Kiram was born in 1938, the family’s hold on Sabah had become precarious. Two years before that, his great-uncle Jamalul Kiram II had died childless. Family lore says he was poisoned.

Kiram, in a letter to President Aquino on October 15, told how the family lost Sabah: Overbeck’s “company ceded North Borneo to the British Crown on June 26, 1946.

Soon after, effective July 15 of the same year, the Crown issued the North Borneo Cession Order in Council that annexed North Borneo and Labuan as part of the British dominions”.

“This unilateral action violated the spirit of the original lease agreement,” he said.

With the death of Jamalul II, his brother Mawalil succeeded him but died suddenly six months later – again allegedly from poisoning. Mawalil’s son Esmail became sultan.

In 1962, he ceded “full sovereignty, title and dominion” over Sabah to the Philippine government.

According to then Philippine foreign secretary and vice-president Emmanuel Pelaez, Sabah was to be made part of the Federation of Malaysia in order to be “a counterpoise to the Chinese elements in Singapore” and “to ‘sterilise’ Singapore as a centre of communist infection” within the Malaysian federation.

Asserting the Philippines’ claim, Pelaez met his Malayan and Indonesian counterparts in 1963. They issued a joint communique stating that the formation of the federation “would not prejudice either the Philippine claim or any right thereunder”.

A statement known as the Manila Accord and confirming the same was issued a month later by Philippine president Diosdado Macapagal, Indonesian president Sukarno and Malaysian prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, documents showed.

While all this was going on, Kiram was trying to live a normal life – finishing a law degree and falling in love at 28 with 14-year-old Carolyn Tulawie. He waited until she turned 16 to marry her, according to their daughter Nashzra.

Many years later the couple later divorced amicably, and Kiram married a Christian woman named Celia. He has nine children – six with Carolyn and three with Celia.

At one point, Kiram danced with the Bayanihan, an acclaimed national folk dance company that toured the world.

He also worked briefly as a radio announcer.

Kiram’s father, Punjungan, was officially named successor and crown prince by Punjungan’s older brother Sultan Esmail.

When Punjungan fled to Sabah in 1974 during the Muslim Mindanao conflict at the time of then president Ferdinand Marcos, Kiram said he became the “interim Sultan”. But Marcos designated Esmail’s first-born son, Mahakuttah, as sultan.

Kiram once ran for Philippine senator in 2007 under the banner of then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He lost but gathered two million votes.

Because Marcos meddled in the succession, confusion has reigned over the identity of the real sultan. At one point, as many as 32 claimants emerged.

In a separate interview, claimant Fuad Kiram – younger brother of the deceased Mahakuttah and Kiram’s first cousin – said there were “many fake sultans” because they think Malaysia would pay them off.

Officially, the money that Malaysia gives is divided among nine relatives and their descendants.

Because of their numbers, each family ends up receiving only 560 pesos. In contrast, Fuad complained that “Sabah contributes US$100 billion GDP to the Malaysian economy annually”.

(This article first appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition on Mar 03, 2013 as Sidelined sultan seeks to reclaim Sabah heritage).

http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/article/1170481/sultan-sulu-jamalul-kiram-iii-continues-fight-sabah


by Manuel L Quezon III

I am sharing a timeline I have compiled of key events and accompanying literature on the North Borneo (Sabah) issue. This timeline is being shared for academic and media research purposes. It is not being published as an official statement of policy in any shape or form, nor does this timeline purport to be representative of of the views of the Philippine government.

1640s

Spain signed peace treaties with the strongest sultanates, Sulu and Maguindanao, recognizing their de facto independence.[1]

1704

Sultan of Sulu became sovereign ruler of most of North Borneo by virtue of a cession from the Sultan of Brunei whom he had helped in suppressing a rebellion.

There is no document stating the grant of North Borneo from Sultan of Brunei to Sultan of Sulu, but it is accepted by all sides.[2]

March 17, 1824

Treaty of London signed by the Netherlands and Great Britain

Allocates certain territories in the Malay archipelago to the United Kingdom and the Netherlands (Dutch East Indies).[3]

September 23, 1836

Treaty of Peace and Commerce between Spain and Sulu, signed in Sulu

Granting Spanish protection of sultanate, mutual defense, and safe passage for Spanish and Joloan ships between ports of Manila, Zamboanga, and Jolo.[4]

Ortiz: Spain did not claim sovereignty over Sulu, but merely offered “the protection of Her Government and the aid of fleets and soldiers for wars…”[5]

1845

Muda Hassim, Uncle of the Sultan of Sulu,  publicly announced as successor to the Sultanate of Sulu with the title of Sultan Muda: he was also the leader of the “English party,”(today the term for Crown Prince is Raja Muda)[6]

The British Government appoints James Brooke as a confidential agent in Borneo[7]

The British Government extends help to Sultan Muda to deal with piracy and settle the Government of Borneo[8]

April 1846

Sir James Brooke receives intelligence that the Sultan of Sulu ordered the murder of Muda Hassim, and some thirteen Rajas and many of their followers; Muda Hassim kills himself because he found that resistance is useless. [9]

July 19, 1846

Admiral Thomas Cochrane, Commander-in-chief of East Indies and China Station of the Royal Navy, issued a Proclamation to cease hostilities (“piracy,” crackdown versus pro-British faction) if the Sultan of Sulu would govern “lawfully” and respect his engagements with the British Government

If the Sultan persisted, the Admiral proclaimed that the squadron would burn down the capital of the sultanate.[10]

May 7, 1847

James Brooke is instructed by the British Government to conclude a treaty with the Sultan of Brunei

British occupation of Labuan is confirmed and Sultan concedes that no territorial cession of any portion of his country should ever be made to any foreign power without the sanction of Great Britain[11]

May 29, 1849

Convention of Commerce between Britain and the Sultanate of Sulu

Sultan of Sulu will not cede any territory without the consent of the British. [12]

April 30, 1851

Treaty signed with Spain by the Sultan of Sulu, Mohammed Pulalun

The Sultanate of Sulu was incorporated into the Spanish Monarchy.[13]

January 17, 1867

Earl of Derby to Lord Odo Russel:

that, whatever Treaty rights Spain may have had to the sovereignty of Sulu and its dependencies, those rights must be considered as having lapsed owing to the complete failure of Spain to attain a de facto control over the territory claimed.

May 30, 1877

Protocol of Sulu signed between Spain, Germany, and Great Britain, providing free movement of ships engaged in commerce and direct trading in the Sulu Archipelago

British Ambassadors in Madrid and Berlin were instructed that the protocol implies recognition of Spanish claims over Sulu or its dependencies.

At this point the following western countries have possessions in Southeast Asia:

1. British = Singapore, Malaya, Brunei, Sarawak, and North Borneo

2. Germany = Papua New Guinea

3. Netherlands = Indonesia

4. Spain = Philippines, Guam, Marshall Islands, Caroline Islands

5. France = Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia (French IndoChina)[14]

December 1877

Expeditions of Alfred Dent to control north part of Borneo began

Alfred Dent, member of the commercial house of Dent Brothers and Co. of London [15]

January 22, 1878

Sir Alfred Dent obtains sovereign control over the northern part of Borneo for 5,300 ringgit ($5,000) from the Sultans of Brunei and Sulu. See contending translations of relevant portions of this document. See also the Spanish translation. See another English translation.

Concessions would later be confirmed by Her Majesty’s Royal Charter in November, 1881 granted to the British North Borneo Co.

The territory of the Sultan of Sulu over the island of Borneo,

commencing from the Pandassan River on the north-west coast and extending along the whole east coast as far as the Sibuco River in the south and comprising amongst other the States of Paitan, Sugut, Bangaya, Labuk, Sandakan, Kina Batangan, Mumiang, and all the other territories and states to the southward thereof bordering on Darvel Bay and as far as the Sibuco river with all the islands within three marine leagues of the coast. [16]

Sultan of Sulu Mohammed Jamalul Alam appoints Baron de Overbeck as Datu Bendajara and Raja of North Borneo

SEE THE REST HERE  http://www.quezon.ph/2013/03/01/north-borneo-sabah-an-annotated-timeline-1640s-present/ 


by Joe Fernandez
Guest Columnist

COMMENT The United Nations Security Council, acting through its previous 24-nation Decolonization Committee, would be the right body to resolve the renewed controversy in Sabah on whether it and Sarawak, the neighbouring sister state in Borneo, have been effectively colonised by the Federal Government in Putrajaya and/or Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia) since Malaysia on 16 Sept 1963.

The controversy reached its zenith when former Sabah Chief Minister Harris Salleh, a one-time blue-eyed boy of the Federal Government, challenged United Borneo Alliance (UBA) chairman Jeffrey Kitingan in recent days to a public debate on the issue.

Harris feels compelled to come forward “to defend the state and Federal governments on the issue of colonization” and feels that Jeffrey should not “chicken out” by laying down impossible conditions for the proposed debate to take place.

Jeffrey thinks that it’s not a question of being a chicken, as alleged by Harris, or a hero.

He wants something more than hot air to come out of the debate. He feels the debate should not be about scoring points on the issue or turning heroes into zeros or vice versa.

He wants the state and Federal governments to formally appoint Harris to represent them in the proposed debate.

Otherwise, Jeffrey & Co see the long retired Harris, “with due respects to him as a former Sabah Chief Minister”, getting involved unilaterally in the proposed debate for no rhyme or reason on behalf of the said parties and without proving locus standi.  Jeffrey & Co, however, are more than gratified that Harris has taken a keen interest in the issue and would prefer him to be on their side as a moral supporter  with a clear conscience but only after studying it (the issue) in depth on his own based on the various statements emanating from UBA in the local and alternative media.

Therein the matter lies. Jeffrey has since proposed June 17 for the debate to take place in Kota Kinabalu. This was after Harris said anytime, any place.

Enter the UN idea from Jeffrey’s camp, according to State Reform Party (Star) deputy chairman Daniel John Jambun. Harris agreed as well, in a statement on Tues 29 May in the local media, that the issue of colonization “is a UN case if true (Jeffrey’s allegations)”.

The starting point for the UN intervention, if any, on a point of history, ethics, morality, law, constitution, justice, diplomacy and politics could be why Sabah and Sarawak were not allowed self-determination as free states and were instead rushed into Federation with Malaya and Singapore on 16 Sept, 1963 after enjoying just 16 days of independence i.e. from Aug 31, 1963 to 16 Sept 1963.

History books were sanctioned by the Federal Government, and glossing over the 31 Aug 1963 date, even disingenuously claim that “Sabah and Sarawak became independent through Malaysia on 16 Sept 1963”.

Indonesia objected to the renewed loss of independence by Sabah and Sarawak.

The Philippines objected as well but for different reasons. It pointed out that its Sulu Archipelago was at one time together as one with the eastern and northern parts of Sabah, under the defunct non-territorial Sulu Sultanate, for the purpose of toll collection along the waterways. Hence, Manila raised its claim to Sabah.

No one paid any heed to them. Those were the days of the Cold War and the threat of communism terrorism raging in the region. The United Nations Security Council was firmly in the pockets of China (Taiwan), the United States, Britain and France with the USSR being the lone ranger among the five permanent members.

Hence, the sneaking suspicion that Sabah and Sarawak were re-colonised after 16 days of freedom and this time by the London-backed Malaya which went on to dominate and monopolize the Federal Government of Malaysia.

Britain had to give up its colonies in Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and Singapore in line with the dictates, demands and recommendations of the then 24-nation UN Decolonization Committee in which India under Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru played a sterling role.

Any UN intervention should also cover why Brunei stayed out from Malaysia at the 11th hour, why Singapore was expelled from the Federation two years later, and more importantly, why Sabah and Sarawak were not allowed to review their position in the Federation of Malaysia in the wake of the city state’s departure.

They had even demanded this right. In retaliation, Kuala Lumpur ousted Sabah Chief Minister Donald Stephens from power and dispatched into political exile as High Commissioner to Australia, a favourite dumping ground along with New Zealand for politicians in the two Borneo states who incurred the wrath of the Federal Government.

This Stephens was the same man, now as Chief Minister Muhamad Fuad Stephens, who died inconveniently – conveniently for Kuala Lumpur — in a tragic air crash in mid-1976 shortly after he refused to sign over Sabah’s oil and gas resources in perpetuity to the Federal Government-owned Petronas, or Petroliam Nasional, the National Oil Corporation.

Harris coincidentally, Stephens’s deputy, succeeded him as Chief Minister and appeared to have dutifully done what the Federal Government demanded.

Jeffrey’s elder brother Joseph Pairin Kitingan – currently demoted to Deputy Chief Minister — was the witness.

It’s this same Harris who’s now eager for a debate with Jeffrey probably because the latter keeps harping on the loss of the oil and gas resources – and recently Oil Blocks L & M to Brunei — as a major evidence of internal colonization.  So, partially at least, Harris has locus standi to debate Jeffrey.

Jeffrey has plenty of other evidence as well on internal colonization, besides oil and gas and Stephen’s untimely death, all of which Harris appears keen to “demolish” when presented at a debate.

Harris could have chosen to demolish them as and when they appeared in the local media from time to time. So far, he has chosen to keep a discreet silence on Jeffrey’s allegations in the local media on Sabah and Sarawak being internally colonised by Putrajaya. It’s difficult for Harris for anyone else sometimes to know whether Jeffrey is coming or going and hence some confusion for everyone.

If and when the Debate does take place, it will allow a re-visitation of several major aspects of the internal colonization allegations.

For starters, besides the mystery over the 16 days, Brunei, Singapore, Stephens, oil and gas, the Debate can hear evidence on the Federal Government being in non-compliance on four key constitutional documents and /or conventions which govern the participation of Sabah and Sarawak in the Federation of Malaysia.

The documents/conventions: the 1963 Malaysia Agreement; the 20/18 Points; the Inter Governmental Committee Report; and the Cobbold Commission report.

UBA has been making the case public that the Federal Government’s “non-compliance has rendered the Federation of Malaysia inoperable to the extent of the non-compliance” and thereby the question that arises is whether Sabah and Sarawak are in the Federation of Malaysia or out like Singapore in 1965.

If out, why is the Federal Government carrying on as if the two states are still in Malaysia? This means, the argument goes, that they are effectively colonies of Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia).

If the two states are still in Malaysia, why is the Federal Government in non-compliance? It (non-compliance) cannot be reconciled with the continued participation of Sabah and Sarawak in the Federation.

If the case can be made that the Federal Government has not been acting unlawfully on compliance – there being no mechanism on compliance and no law – it’s seems to be a kamikaze argument on the surface, as it cannot be said that it has not been acting unconstitutionally, and if so, it has not been acting lawfully at all by being in non-compliance.

UBA also points out that Malaysia is not functioning as an equal partnership of Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak – for example the Prime Minister of Sabah is not allowed to call himself Prime Minister; Malaya is not sharing the Federal Government with Sabah and Sarawak; Malaysia is not functioning as a two-tier Federation i.e. one at a lower level among the states in Malaya, and another at the higher level as a Federation of Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak.

UBA also alleges that Malaysia has been getting away from the concept of being a Federation and more towards a unitary state.

It’s alleged that the grinding poverty of Sabah and Sarawak, the poorest and second poorest in the country, is a direct result of internal colonization which includes taking away most or all of the revenue of the two states to Putrajaya and returning only a pittance to them “to keep them perpetually poor and unable to forge their own destiny in the community of nations”.

Other issues on internal colonization: statelessness; the Federal imposition of proxy state governments in Sabah and Sarawak; illegal immigration and disenfranchisement and as reflected in the electoral rolls, among other.

Last, but not least, UBA points out that Sabah and Sarawak were promised autonomy in Malaysia with the two states – unlike the states in Malaya — surrendering only defence, foreign affairs and national economic planning to the Federal Government.

The bottomline on internal colonization appears to be that Sabah and Sarawak see no need or reason to be in the Federation of Malaysia, tied to a peninsula on the other side of the South China Sea and virtually unable to even breathe without permission from their political masters, when they can quite easily make and pay their own way like Brunei, Singapore, South Sudan and Timor Leste, among others, as independent member states of the United Nations.


An oil producing offshore area, Block M and Block L belonging to Sabah near Brunei in the South China Sea is no longer a part of Sabah. It now belongs to Brunei. This Block M and Block L is close to 6000 square kilometers in size, which is like 10 times the size of Singapore. Both the blocks can produce 1 billion barrels of oil  or US$100 billion in revenue and it belongs to Sabah.

Our Chief Minister from Sabah, Musa Aman together with Abdullah Ahmad Badawi negotiated with the Sultan of Brunei to get back Limbang for Sarawak, in exchange they agreed to surrender this Block M and Block L belonging to Sabah. Can you believe this? Yes, Musa Aman with Badawi,  on march 17th, 2009 in Brunei, had signed away US100 billion dollars of oil to the Sultan of Brunei.

And this was not brought up at all by Musa Aman to the Sabah State Legislative Assembly. More importantly by giving up the Blocks L and M, both Musa  Aman and Pak Lah were altering the boundaries to Sabah, and the Constitution under Clause 2 (b) provides that this will require the consent of the state and as well as the Conference of Rulers.

To give away or demarcate boundaries of Borneo States, Badawi must first consult Parliament, then under the Federation Agreement with Sabah, Badawi must ask Musa Aman to convene an emergency sitting of the Sabah State Legislative Assembly and then take a vote in the  State Assembly. Musa Aman did not just do that.  Musa Aman concealed this whole thing, Brunei, Block M and Block L from Sabahans. This Musa Aman, did not bring this matter to the State Assembly at all and why was he hiding this from Sabahans? Musa Aman owes Sabahans and explanation.

Besides, only if  Sabah had cleared this matter in the assembly, then only, can this be brought to the Agong for a royal consent to the demarcation of the new boundaries. The Conference of Rulers MUST also agree and that too has to come BEFORE the signing of the Agreement with Brunei. But they did not.

Then why was Pak Lah and Musa Aman in a hurry to sign the Agreement with the Sultan? Why the rush? Pak Lah says he has got the approval from his Cabinet and so everything is in order. But is this true? Was the  process done constitutionally, as per the Federation Agreement?

To me this is like TREASON! Musa Aman  should be charged for Treason for concealing, hiding or aiding the crime of TREASON. Musa Aman concealed this action from the Sabah State Assembly, and for any public servant To conceal, hide, or aid the crime of TREASON is to be guilty of the same offence.

The facts are :

1. Malaysia, Sabah no longer has any sovereignty over the 2 areas i.e Block L and Block M.
2. Malaysian oil companies can only participate in jointly developing the areas for 40 years (with Brunei’s permission).
3. Limbang remains a disputed area with Brunei.

I stand by my opinion that Musa Aman and  Abdullah  Badawi should be tried for Treachery and TREASON for losing territory belonging to Sabah, Malaysia.

Then if  the KL boys were to say that the Blocks L & M are not within the Sabah State waters and therefore under the purview of the Federal Government, then I will say, why this not brought to Parliament, and not brought to The Agong, and then to the Conference of Rulers, as we are after all altering the boundaries of the federation? Is it because it comes under the Federal Territory of LABUAN?

Explain lah!

Dato’ Sri Anifah bin Haji Aman, the Malaysian Minister of Foreign Affairs the brother of Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman, you are the right person, please explain? You and your brother claim fighting for Sabah’s rights, show us lah! Sorry Anifah I have to bring you into this picture although you are just recuperating from a massive attack following surgery to clear blocked arteries in your heart. I hear you are recovering well following coronary bypass surgery in Singapore. I wish you speedy recovery my friend!

Read here my earlier post on this.