New Sultan of Sulu slams Sabah border trade closure

Sultan Abdullah Kiram

Sultan Abdullah Kiram

THE newly-crowned Sultan of the Royal Supreme Sultanate of Sulu Archipelago & North Borneo Islands (RSSSNBI) has called the move of the Malaysian state of Sabah closing its cross border trade in the Southern Philippines as “questionable and without legal basis.”

Sultan Abdullah Kiram said he strongly opposed the unilateral action by the Malaysian government, and will set a meeting with its ambassador to the Philippines to clear the issue.

“The act of Malaysia is widely questionable and without legal basis,” he pointed out.

Sultan Kiram was enthroned in a ceremony held at the Bulwagang Plaridel of the National Press Club (NPC) in Manila on Saturday with the launching of the Royal Supreme Sultanate of Sulu Archipelago & North Borneo Islands (RSSSNBI) as a unique cultural and traditional kingdom, witnessed by religious leaders and the royal council of ministers of the Sultanate.

“I will be sending a formal request to the Ambassador as a private citizen and taxpayer and, of course, in my capacity as Sultan of the Sulu Archipelago & North Borneo Islands for a private meeting on how to resolve this problem so that the Philippine and Malaysian governments can diplomatically solve the situation that has greatly affected our people in Southern Philippines,” Kiram said.

Early last month, Sabah shut down its cross-border trade with Tawi-Tawi province following the spate of daring kidnappings by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) within its territory.

Following the closure, residents there can no longer travel to nearby Sabah since the Malaysian Coast Guard, backed up by its Navy, are keeping close watch on the border where boats from Tawi-Tawi are prevented from coming in. It also affected economic activities in the province, where traders buy goods from Sabah and sell them back home.

Sultan Kiram lamented that Sabah (formerly North Borneo) was unilaterally annexed or absorbed by Malaysia when the Federation of Malaysia was formed in 1963 without the express consent of the Sultan of Sulu that has proprietary rights over the timber and oil resources there.

He said two distinct juridical governments encompass the Sultanate – the Republic of the Philippines and the Federal Republic of Malaysia – but tradition and culture bind the people who are largely Christian and Muslim minority.

Historically, North Borneo and the island of Palawan were gifts to the Sultan of Sulu by the Sultan of Brunei in 1658 in gratitude for the assistance rendered by the former to avert civil war in Borneo. Since then, Sabah became a property of the Sultan of Sulu and the Sultanate of Sulu.

However, Malaysia as the tenant is not paying the right amount to the Lessor Landlord that is the Sultan of Sulu. The basis is a Standard Chartered Bank check received from the Embassy of Malaysia in the Philippines on April 16, 2003 as payment of cession money to the heirs of the Sultan of Sulu in the amount of P73,940.77, corresponding to the annual rental by Malaysia over Sabah.

The Sultanate, in 1878 Sultan Jamalul Ahlam Kiram (The Sultan of Sulu and the Sultan of Sabah) as legitimate owner, leased Sabah to the British company of Gustavus Baron de Overbeck and Alfred Dent for their and their heirs’ use, however, the lease prohibits the transfer of Sabah to any nation, company, or individual without the consent of His Majesty’s Government, or the Government of the Sultan of Sulu.

Hence, the transfer of Sabah by Great Britain to Malaysia in 1963 constituted a breach of the provisions of 1878 lease as the Government of the Sultan of Sulu did not consent to the transfer to Malaysia.

Legally, Sabah must and should be returned to the Sultan of Sulu and the Sultanate of Sulu as the Lessor, Kiram further said.



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  1. Haha, “Federal Republic of Malaysia”?? Since when Malaysia become a “republic”?? Pssssst, only from this most readers already know this so-called Sultan has fail in historical context. What’s more with his ‘rubbish history’. No wondering you’ve been kicked out from the International Court of Justice. Me as a westerners, although I’m an Italian, laugh so hard with your statement. Many Filipinos said Malaysia langrabbed, but look to your own backyard that full with crimes and terrorism. Do you think Sabah residents wants you? No, they will kill you instantly if they get any chances.

  2. Malaysia landgrabbed North Borneo from Sulu Archipelago Sultanate . Cobbold Comission who maneuver the referendum to make it appear people of North Borneo is infavor to join Malaysia by highly suspicious handfull of voters not the population in general.Malaysia is cunningly immitating the British ploy when they use Overbeck and Dent to rent North Borneo and Charter later to the British crown to landgrab North Borneo.

    • JJ Hernandez on

      Although if we don’t want to joining to form the Federation of Malaysia, we will establish our own country without merging with the Philippines which already a ‘fail state’ full of corruption, murders everyday, robbery, kidnapping, beheading especially with that troubling Mindanao. If Sabah merging with Philippines, those criminals in Mindanao who will massively flooding Sabah and not the good people from Manila, Luzon, elsewhere. No, we don’t want to lived in a hell place like that. Philippines has no death penalty that’s why there are so many people brave doing crimes. See the statistics in Sabah on who is top as the troublemakers, majority Filipinos from Mindanao, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, while Filipinos from the north area are much more discipline.

  3. Mutalib Rahman on

    It’s important these group of self proclaim Sultan to stop harping on Sabah Claim issue. Sabah was never annexed or surrender to Malaysia. Instead, on 31st August 1963 Sabah declare independent from British and then as independent country (fully recognised by UN)together with Sarawak, Singapore and Malaya Federation they form Federation of Malaysia. The International Court of Justice has rejected Philippines request to intervene the dispute of Sipadan Island between Malaysia and Indonesia. That should already final. Be civil and move forward!

  4. JJ Hernandez on

    Mehhhh, no one cares! If this so-called fake Sultan come to Sabah and tried to rule them in this modern days, he must already been beaten so hardly. He would be lucky enough if he can escape back to the Philippines.

  5. Is Britain too proud to admit mistake by “giving” Sabah to Malaysia? Or was it politically motivated since Malaysia was under Britain? It is very clear that the territory belongs to the Sultanate of Sulu. I am so appalled the Sultanate gets a pittance from this resource rich property.

    • as a citizen of Sabah, i must thank Jesus, Allah, Buddha, Sai-Baba, Ahura-Mazdah, Vishnu, Zeus, all gods old and new, that we never got under the rule of Sulu. thank you Great Britain for appointing Sabah to Malaysia.

      god knows how Sabah will turns out if it falls under Sulu. probably turns into another fail state full of terrorists n jihadis.