Wednesday, March 13, 2013

We respect Sabah’s decision to join Malaysia, says MNLF chairman

The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) recognises and respects the decision taken by the people of Sabah to join Malaysia in 1963, says chairman Muslimin Sema.

The Sabah people, he said, had the right to determine their own destiny by joining Malaysia, 50 years ago, and that right should not be disputed by any quarters.

“We (the MNLF) recognised the desire of the Sabah people to decide and determine their own destiny. They have decided to join Malaysia and we accede to their desire, that is our position,” he told Bernama in an exclusive interview via telephone from Manila Wednesday.

The dovish Muslimin, who is currently the vice-mayor of Cotabato City in southern Philippines, said he had been to Sabah in 1973 and personally witnessed the happiness felt by the Sabahans, led by their leaders after joining Malaysia.

“They have decided and we accepted it,” he said, adding that he still had many relatives in Sabah, who were loyal Malaysian citizens and earning a good and prosperous livelihood. “They have been able to earn a good and prosperous life in Sabah, which they are incapable of, had they remained in southern Philippines. I don’t want anything bad to happen to them because of what is happening now,” he said.

The MNLF, he said, considered Sabah and Malaysia as their “big brother”.

The chairman was commenting on the move made by the self-proclaimed sultan of Sulu, Jamalul Kiram, to assert the resource-rich Sabah which he claimed was part of the sultanate’s land.

According to Muslimin, the MNLF had nothing to do with the action taken by Jamalul Kiram.

Three weeks ago, Jamalul Kiram sent armed groups led by his brother, Azzimudie Kiram, to Kampung Tanduo, Lahad Datu to claim Sabah as their ancestral homeland.

Their action sparked an armed standoff with Malaysia’s security forces which encircled the group, before launching air strikes and ground operations to flushed them out after numerous deadlines to lay down arms.

The ongoing security operation codenamed ‘Operasi Daulat’, has until now, seen 10 policemen and soldiers dead, as well as 56 armed terrorists.

On allegations made by the foreign media and a Philippine intelligence official that several parties conspired and instigated Jamalul Kiram in the quest to reclaim Sabah, Muslimin said the allegations on the matter needed to be investigated.

The allegations stated that the armed terrorists were “invited” to Sabah by leaders aligned with Malaysia’s opposition party.

Nevertheless, the MNLF leader believes Jamalul Kiram “does not have the capacity” to carry out the complicated armed operation of sending armed terrorists across the sea to Sabah.

“It is quite surprising that they have the capacity to send an expedition (to Sabah) like that. It is not easy to go to another country and kill people,” he said.

Responding to allegations the Filipino armed terrorists who took part in Sabah’s intrusion were each paid US$600, the MNLF leader said he did not have any knowledge on the matter.

He was also asked on the relationship between MNLF’s former leader Nur Misuari and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, to which he replied that both were known as acquaintances.

“I don’t really know (about their relationship), but they have been acquaintances during Misuari’s post as the Governor of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao,” he said.

To a question, Muslimin said MNLF would check on claims that its members were involved in the armed intrusion in Sabah.

The MNLF chief said the organisation was keen to find out more about the identity of the gunmen’s leader known as ‘Commander Musa’ who was killed by the Malaysian security forces in Tanjung Batu, Lahad Datu during a firefight. - The Borneo Post


  1. Formation of Malaysia quashes Sulu claims on Sabah

    The joining of Sabah in the formation of Malaysia in 1963 eliminates any claim on the state, previously known as North Borneo, said a professor from Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), Assoc Professor Dr Bilcher Bala. as such, any claims made on Sabah today was invalid.

  2. Formation of Malaysia quashes Sulu claims on Sabah

    “The formation of Malaysia in 1963 eliminates any claim on Sabah. In 1888 Sabah became a British protectorate and under a 1903 protocol, the Philippines came under the control of the United States, but without Sabah included.

  3. Formation of Malaysia quashes Sulu claims on Sabah

    “In 1946 Sabah was handed over completely to the British and in 1963 it became part of Malaysia,” he said. Hence, he said, the action by Jamalul Kiram III in attacking Sabah, purportedly to claim the heritage of the Sulu sultanate, was a crime which could be regarded a terrorist attack.

  4. Formation of Malaysia quashes Sulu claims on Sabah

    On the payment by the Malaysian government to the heirs of the Sulu Sultanate, he said it was just a compensation payment or gift for a 1787 “lease permanent” agreement. Hence, the payment had to be made until death (the term used in the agreement is for as long as there is the moon and stars), he added.

  5. Formation of Malaysia quashes Sulu claims on Sabah

    Bilcher said the people of Sabah chose to be with Malaysia as contained in the Cobbold Report. “Only the Sulu Sultan regarded the Sabah people as his, but the Sabah people did not recognise the Sultan, except the Governor (now known as the Yang Dipertua Negeri).

  6. Formation of Malaysia quashes Sulu claims on Sabah

    “Therefore, the claim that he is the heir of the Sulu Sultanate, even if the Sultan exists, on Sabah is void because of the various agreements. “The fact is, Sulu does not have a government or a country to warrant it the right to make any claim. The claim is just by an individual,” he added.

  7. Formation of Malaysia quashes Sulu claims on Sabah

    In KUALA LUMPUR, former foreign minister Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar, commenting on the issue, said that the payment of about RM5,000 a year by the Malaysian government to the heirs of the Sulu Sultanate until today was not lease payment, but cession payment.

  8. Formation of Malaysia quashes Sulu claims on Sabah

    He claimed to have seen a cheque for the amount paid to the heirs of the Sulu Sultanate when he was foreign minister from 1999 to 2008. “The cession payment is like the payment made by the Penang government to the Kedah Sultan when the island was given to the British,” he added.

  9. Formation of Malaysia quashes Sulu claims on Sabah

    He also said that the self-proclaimed Sulu Sultan could not bring his claim to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). “The ICJ only handles cases involving a government which is recognised, The Sulu Sultanate is not a government,” he added.

  10. Formation of Malaysia quashes Sulu claims on Sabah

    He said the administration and governance of the Sulu Sultanate ended when Sultan Jamalul Kiram II signed the Carpenter Agreement in 1915 with the United States of America, which controlled the Philippines then.

  11. Formation of Malaysia quashes Sulu claims on Sabah

    Syed Hamid said the Philippines did make its claim over Sabah at a time when Malaysia and Indonesia were staking their claim over Sipadan and Ligatan at the ICJ in 2001. “The Philippines tried to join in the claim. However, ICJ rejected Philippines’ intervention in the claim over Sipadan and Ligitan which are in Sabah waters.

  12. Formation of Malaysia quashes Sulu claims on Sabah

    “This clearly showed that the Philippines has no right on the state,” he added. Syed Hamid said Sabah was a sovereign entity under Malaysia because a report by the Cobbold Commission, set up prior to the formation of Malaysia, stated that the people of Sabah and Sarawak wanted to be independent as part of Malaysia.

  13. Formation of Malaysia quashes Sulu claims on Sabah

    Meanwhile, historian Professor Dr Ramlah Adam expressed confidence of the government having the documents on the agreement on the cession money. She said the agreement stated that the payment was to be made to the heirs and not the Sulu Sultanate.

  14. Formation of Malaysia quashes Sulu claims on Sabah

    “It is money for the heirs, not the sultanate. The Sulu Sultanate no longer exists,” she added.

  15. Sabah aman bersama Malaysia


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