AS the Muslim community celebrates Eid’l Adha, the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo on Tuesday assured that it will never abandon its territorial claim over Sabah.
Sultanate Spokesman and Secretary-General Abraham Idjirani said that they have no plans of giving up their fight to regain Sabah from the Malaysia despite the lack of support from the Philippine government.
“The claim of the Sultanate of Sulu over Sabah through the GRP [Government of the Republic of the Philippines] is now abandoned by the Philippine government,” he said.
Because of that, he added, “the Sultanate is compelled to pursue independently the claim, acting on its historic and legal rights over Sabah.”
He said the continued presence of Raja Muda (crown prince) Agbimuddin Kiram to Sabah, along with the 200 fighters of the Royal Security Forces (RSF) only proves their assertion of their sovereign and proprietary rights over the territory.
“The RSF remained in Lahad Datu, maintaining a defensive stand to avoid further clashes with the Malaysian security forces,” Idjirani said.
The sultanate’s presence in Sabah, Idjirani added, also hopes to prove to the international community that Malaysia does not respect international agreements as in the case of the Manila Accord of 1963.
“Malaysia is a mere administrator of Sabah as the issue is still pending resolution in the UN since 1962,” Idjirani said.
He said the RSF fighters were continuously repositioning in controlled areas to avoid an encounter with the Malaysian forces, which is in compliance with the previous call of the United Nations for sobriety.
On February, Sultan Jamalul Kiram 3rd sent his brother, Raja Muda to Sabah, along with 200 fighters to revive the sultanate’s long-standing claim over the resource-rich Sabah.
The intrusion prompted the Malaysian military to launch offensive operations to flush out Kiram’s armed followers.
A total of 68 members of the sultanate’s fighters and 10 Malaysian policemen and soldiers were killed in the series of clashes.
According to Idjirani, seven months after the cessation of hostilities, the RSF in Sabah has grown to 1,600 men, backed up by volunteers from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). RITCHIE A. HORARIO