The Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo on Monday offered the Malaysia government what it said is a “win-win solution” to resolve the territorial dispute over Sabah.
Sultan Esmail Kiram 2nd said the Sultanate is considering the proprietary aspect of the conflict.
Kiram said Malaysia must recognize the Sultanate’s ownership of Sabah and in turn, it will not withdraw Sabah from the Federation of Malaysia.
“Malaysia is Muslim, the Sultanate is Muslim, the problem can be discussed between Muslims. If Malaysia wins, the Sultanate wins,” the sultan said.
Sultanate’s secretary general Abraham Idjirani said the proprietary aspect has two issues: sovereignty and ownership.
He said the sultan’s solution indicates that sovereignty over Sabah remains with the Malaysian government.
Other options being considered by the Sultanate is the filing of cases before an International Court of Justice (ICJ) and a London court.
John Castriciones, one of the Sultanate’s legal counsels, said they are also looking at filing a case with a London court.
Castriciones said the British turned over North Borneo or Sabah to Malaysian federation in 1963.
He said the case aims to stop Malaysia from using funds, properties, assets sourced from Sabah.
The Sultanate earlier expressed willingness to negotiate with the Malaysian government to solve the dispute over Sabah.
Kiram said he has approved the recommendation of the Advisory Council of the Sultanate to push for a peaceful and civilized resolution of the Sabah claim.
He directed the chairman of the council to create a negotiating panel preparatory to the formal negotiation of the territorial dispute between the Sultanate of Sulu and the Federation of Malaysia.
The membership of the panel will be announced by the Sultanate on the next few days.
RITCHIE A. HORARIO