The new Sultan of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo has vowed to continue the fight to regain Sabah from Malaysia that his predecessor the late Jamalul Kiram 3rd, championed.
Datu Esmail D.S. Kiram, 73, succeeded his elder brother, who passed away on Oct. 19 due to multiple organ failure.
Abraham Idjirani, the sultanate’s secretary general and spokesman, said the new Moro royal leader will be officially known as Sultan Esmail Kiram 2nd.
Kiram 2nd said he will continue the family’s struggle for peace and economic development, including the fight to reclaim Sabah through peaceful means.
He said reclaiming Sabah through peaceful means has been his stand since he was young.
“Even from the beginning, during the time of my father as Sabah administrator, Sultan Punjungan Kiram, I was the one tasked to go to Sabah,” he added.
He said they have to fulfill the last decree of his brother to continue the fight to regain Sabah from the Malaysian government.
The Sabah conflict erupted on February 9 when 235 followers of the Sultanate of Sulu occupied a town in Sabah.
The Sulu Royal Security Force (RSF) was led by the sultan’s brother, Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram.
The Malaysian government gave the “intruders” until March 1 to surrender despite the appeal for “maximum tolerance” of President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
The following day, the Malaysian forces attacked, and the fighting left at least 68 Filipinos and 10 Malaysian soldiers and policemen dead.
It was only stopped after Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak had claimed that they had wiped out Kiram’s men.
Idjirani said there were no problems over the younger Kiram’s taking over because it was assured by the sultanate’s “strict adherence to the law and order of succession.”
“Everybody accepts the law and order of succession in the sultanate,” said Idjirani.
He added even the crown prince, Rajah Muda Agbimuddin Kiram, had made known that he will observe the succession’s law and order.
RITCHIE A. HORARIO