Sultan of Sulu: No to PH consular office in Sabah


THE Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo reiterated its rejection of proposals made by Malaysians for the Philippine government to open a consular office in Sabah.

Apparently agitated by the reports that the Aquino administration has decided to open a consular office in Sabah, Sultan Esmail Kiram 2nd, the reigning Sultan of Sulu and North Borneo, expressed serious concern.

The Sultan’s wazir, not quite his prime minister but his policy adviser, former Gov. Almarin Centi Tillah of Tawi-Tawi, relayed these concerns to The Manila Times’ Publisher-Editor Rene Bas.

“We have every reason to believe that the plan while being denied publicly by Aquino officials, was agreed upon in secret between President Aquino and Prime Minister Najib Razak,” Al Tillah said.

“This is a betrayal not only of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo but also of the Republic of the Philippines. It is against Philippine national interest to virtually abandon the claim to Sabah by opening a consular office there and thereby show the world that the Philippine government accepts Malaysian sovereignty over Sabah,” he added.

In a separate event also on Monday, the Sultanate’s spokesman, Abhraham Idjurani, told Manila Times reporter Ritchie Horario of the Sultanate’s rejection of the plans “of the government to establish a Philippine consular office in Sabah.

Idjurani said saying that this is tantamount to surrendering Philippine sovereignty over Sabah to Malaysia.

“The Sultanate of Sulu is vehemently opposing any move by Malacañang to put up a Consular Office in the disputed territory,” Idjirani said.

The establishment of a consular office in the disputed territory was raised during the recent visit of President Benigno Aquino 3rd in Malaysia.

In case the plan pushes through, Idjirani said, Aquino would be the first Philippine President to start with “a wrong policy to waste a national legacy and as part of the Muslim contribution to nation building.”

“He has forgotten that any effort to diminish this legacy is a betrayal to the Filipino Great Cause,” he added.

He added that Aquino must remind Malaysia that it should adhere to the rule of law embodied in the 1963 Manila Accord.

North Borneo is that part of Sabah that is the sovereign territory of the reigning Sultans of Sulu and North Borneo.

The present Sultan, Esmail Kiram II, as his predecessors did, gladly accepts the fact of his being a Filipino citizen. Therefore, any lands and seas in his realm is part of the Republic of the Philippines.

That Sabah is Philippine territory is affirmed by the transfer by the then reigning Sultan of Sulu and North Borneo, Muhammad Esmail Kiram I, “of full sovereignty, title and dominion” over Sabah to the Philippines on September 12, 1962. The President of the Philippines then was Diosdado Macapagal.

Legal documents show that Sabah was leased by the Sultan of Sulu and North Borneo to agents of the British North Borneo Company. The UK then handed over the lease to the leaders of Malaya when they, with British support, were forming the Federation of Malaysia.

The Malaysian government maintains that Sabah belongs to it and Sabah is a state of the federation. The Philippines disputes that claim.

During President Aquino’s visit to Malaysia last week, Malaysian media once again played up proposals that the Philippines open a consular office in Sabah.

Problems of Filipino “migrants” in Sabah—Filipino Muslims carrying Philippine passports—have been cited by Malaysians as the reason there should be a consulate.

The way the news reached the Philippines, it seemed as if President Aquino and his administration have agreed to these proposals.

That is not true. President Aquino himself has stated that he did not want the Sabah dispute to be discussed but that Prime Minister Najib Razak did.

The Malaysian PM suggested the establishment of a hotline over the Sabah dispute. The hotline would be between the Philippine and Malaysian security authorities. The Malaysian PM himself told journalists this detail.


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  1. Malaysia become independent in 1963, while Mindanao muslim have been living in Sabah since the time before Magellan came. What make Malaysia the right to annex Sabah? It’s another story of the dirty work of the Western colonizer, who are continue doing similar thing nowadays. PNoy’s not claiming Sabah is an act of betrayal to Pilipino people, especiall to our muslim brother. With Bangsamoro being pro Malaysia, the hope to reclaim Sabah becomes dimmer.

  2. jose b taganahan on

    Opening a Philippine Consular office in Sabah (formerly North Borneo) will be beneficial to Filipinos who are presently working in Sabah. Those who claimed that Sabah is part of the Philippines being part of the territory of the former Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo can never reclaim Sabah or forced the present citizens of Sabah to secede from the Malaysian Federation, (just like Singapore did in the early 60s) and join the republic of the Philippines.HOW CAN THE SULTAN OF SULU IMPOSE HIS WILL OVER SABAH?

  3. Any move by Pres. Aquino to open an Embassy to Sabah is a case of treason and subject for impeachment. The Sabah belong to Philippines, we need to pursue our claim thru legality and historical ownership. How come a country only existed or united on1963. Own the Sabah and North Borneo. If Malaysia can produce any document, legally and historically then our claimed is void and not pursuable but if not then by delicadeza must return back to its real owners the Philippines.

    • Mutalib Rahman on

      During ICJ hearing on Sipadan issue and the judgments October 2001 – its was stated Philippines try to obtain documentary evidence of Malaysia and Indonesia as they have none. Using your own word “delicadeza” can now the Filipinos stop talking about Sabah claim and move on?

  4. if this sabah consular office pushes through, it will be one more nail in the coffin of our country’s claim for ownership of sabah.
    simply stated, the opening of a consulate confirms RP recognition of malaysia’s sovereignty over sabah.

  5. How long this issue of Sabah claims to be settled. Why our Philippine leaders avoid to
    talked about this. Ones and for all our government should do something about this. How many Presidents had passed away but this claim is still remain unresolved. We are very concerned about West Philippine territory issue against China. But with regards to Sabah issue our government is quiet.

  6. A Consulate does not denote recognition. An Embassy does. Your
    Ambassador is accredited to Malaysia which by definition and accepted
    the world over includes Sabah as a constituent State of the
    federation. Any other argument is extraneous.
    When diplomatic relations between the two countries were severed
    because Macapagal refused to welcome Malaysia as per the very
    Manila Accord had required, ties between the two countries were
    restored but at Consular Level. They were upgraded to full diplomatic
    relations with Philippine recognition of Malaysia as defined.
    A consular office in Sabah would serve a practical and important
    function: to look after Filipino citizens who are working in Sabah.
    Presently this function is handled by the embassy from Kuala Lumpur
    an unsatisfactory arrangement at best bu that is their business.

    btw Malaysia may well get elected as a member the UN Security
    Council in 2015.

  7. Mutalib Rahman on

    Just because land grabbing is rampant in Philippines That don’t justify non sovereign sultanate to land grabbing Sabah. ICJ decision on October 2001 clearly indicate that not a single document can support Philippines / imaginary Sulu Sultanate claim – the joke is Philippines and Sulu Sultanate is asking ICJ to instruct Indonesian and Malaysian to turnover their documentary evidence to assist Philippines claim. ICJ already decided and it’s non appeals able decisions. Move on!

    • Philip R. Hernaez on

      hehehe!! That ICJ decision has nothing to do with Sabah Claim. The Philipppines has applied as mediator between Malaysia and Indonesia.

    • Mutalib Rahman on

      It’s unfortunate when you refuse to acknowledge the importance of the decision. Philippines Government spend million of pesos to hire the best lawyer in Philippines to come up with legal opinion on Sabah claim. Its been one year and not published? Its because politically it will not favor the current government. For everyone information, Sabah declare independent on 31st August 1963. Together with Federation of Malay, Singapore, Sarawak and Sabah they form Federation of Malaysia on 16th September 1963.

  8. Claro Apolinar on

    Beware, fellow Filipinos. The Malacanang officials are known to speak from two side of their mouths. In this case, they deny that President Aquino and his people have plans to abandon our Republic’s and the Sultan of Sulu and North Borneo’s sovereignty over Sabah to Malaysia. But the truth, as the Sultan of Sulu and NB suspects, is there has been a secret agreement.

  9. Rosauro Feliciano on

    I don’t even recognize that the name of North Borneo is Sabah, which is an inventing scheme of the ruler of Federation of Malaya under the British protectorate. The majority of the people of Mindanao and Sulu Christians and Muslims are behind the Sultan of Sulu and North Borneo.