Saturday, March 2, 2013

Sultanate of Sulu



Map from "The Economist" newsmagazine [http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21572251-chaotic-south-philippines-muslims-launch-foreign-policy-sultans-sabah-swing]:



2013-03-02  "Sulu sultanate to seek US help, cites 1915 agreement" by Bernard Testa from "InterAksyon.com" [http://www.interaksyon.com/article/56176/sulu-sultanate-to-seek-us-help-cites-1915-agreement]:
The  original letter address to the United Nations Commission of Human Rights. Idjirani also said they will press their claim before the International Court of Justice. (Bernard Testa/Interaksyon.com)

MANILA, Philippines -- The Sulu sultanate will seek the help of the United States to back up its claim to Sabah by invoking a 1915 agreement that, among others, assures the sultanate of American protection.
Abraham Idjirani, spokesman of the sultanate, said Friday that their council would write the US embassy in Manila and invoke the so-called Carpenter agreement signed on March 22, 1915 between Sultan Hadji Jamalul Kiram and Frank W. Carpenter, governor of the then Department of Mindanao and Sulu.
“We are seeking the intervention of the United States of America as stated in the Kiram-Carpenter argument of 1915” in which the Americans “assured the sultan of Sulu of (its) full protection should a problem arise in Sabah between the sultan of Sulu and other foreign countries,” Idjirani said.
“That’s the US historical and moral obligation to us,” he told InterAksyon.
Idjirani also said they plan to press their claim before the International Court of Justice.
At the same time, he stressed that Sultan Jamalul Kiram III is not demanding an increase in the token annual rental paid by Malaysia but the recognition of their claim to Sabah.
The Kiram family, he said, "don't want an increase on rental, it is not about money."
"Ayaw ng sultan na sila lang ang makinabang sa upa, gusto ng royal house of Kiram na lahat ng Pilipino ay mag-profit sa natural wealth ng North Borneo o Sabah (The sultan doesn’t want his family alone to benefit from the rent, the royal house of Kiram wants all Filipinos to profit from the natural wealth of North Borneo or Sabah)," he said.


2012-10-12 "Sulu Sultanate, North Borneo-Sabah & 1878 Treaty"
[http://www.faisalaziz.my/2012/10/sulu-sultanate-north-borneo/]:
The Sultan of Sulu Darul Islam (SDI)  sultanate that was founded in 1457 by a Johore-born Arab explorer and religious scholar Sayyid Abu Bakr Abirin after he settled in Banua Buansa Ummah (ummah is an Arabic term for “community”), Sulu. After the marriage of Abu Bakr and local dayang-dayang (princess) Paramisuli, he founded the sultanate and assumed the title Paduka Mahasari Maulana al Sultan Sharif ul-Hāshim. Sharif ul-Hāshim was a direct descendant of Islamic prophet Muhammad.
Syed Muhammad Naquib Al-Attas had outlined the ancestors of Sulu Sultanate including Maguindanao Sultanate (emcompasses Mindanao) through his book Historical Fact & Fiction where the facts had shown their lineage consists of Ahlul Bayt  descendants.

North Borneo-Sabah & 1878 Treaty -
On 22 January 1878 the ruler of Sulu, His Majesty Sultan Jamalul A’Lam, signed a treaty, under which he leased the territory of North Borneo to Gustavus von Overbeck, an Austrian who was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire‘s consul-general in Hong Kong and to his British partner Alfred Dent, residing in London, as representatives of the British North Borneo Company, without giving away his sovereign rights, and for as long as they desire to use these coastlines. Von Overbeck procured the necessary firearms and also promised to pay to His Majesty Jamalul A’Lam, his heirs and successors the sum of 5,000 dollars rental a year payable every year
A January 7, 1883, letter from the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Lord Granville confirms the position that the “takeover” of the British of Sabah, a Sulu property was a lease, not a purchase.
It states: “The British Charter [representing the British North Borneo Company] therefore differs essentially from the previous Charters granted by the Crown… in the fact that the Crown in the present case assumes no dominion or sovereignty over the territories occupied by the Company, nor does it purport to grant to the Company powers of government thereover; it merely conveys upon the persons associated the status and incidents of a body corporate, and recognizes the grants of territory and the powers of government made and delegated by the Sultan in whom the sovereignty remains vested. It differs also from previous Charters in that it prohibits instead of grants a general monopoly of trade.
“As regards the general features of the undertaking, it is to be observed that the territories granted to the Company have been for generations under the government of the Sultanate of Sulu and Brunei, with whom Great Britain has had Treaties of Peace and Commerce.”
In retrospect, the British Foreign Affairs communique conceded that the matter of sovereignty remained vested in the Sultan of Sulu and could not be delegated to any party because the Deed of 1878 expressly prohibited it.
Perhaps the thorniest item in the Sabah / Sulu agenda was whether the Overbeck-Dent pact with the Sultan of Sulu was a lease or sale (Padjak=Lease? or locally in north Borneo mean buy or lease ALL, and not part of something, paying rental of $5000 per year is the clear evident of lease and not sale). Scholarly sources, including those officially issued by Britain and the US, pointed out that the sovereignty over Sabah, as stipulated in the Philippine claim, was never, at any time in the past and present, relinquished in favor of any person, organization, or entity. Legally and technically, it remained to this day as the exclusive property of the heirs of the sultanate of Sulu. This statement confirms the observation that the transfer of rights made by the lessees to the British North Borneo Company was ab initio flawed and illegal.
However, in 1963 when a negotiation was made in London with Britain for the recovery of North Borneo. The British, in defense of their own argument, insisted the covenant entered into by Overbeck and Dent with Sulu Sultan Hadji Mohammad Jamalul Kiram was a sale, not a lease.


2013-03-05 "Salonga explains Sabah claim"
from "Philippine Daily Inquirer" [http://globalnation.inquirer.net/66739/salonga-explains-sabah-claim]:
(Editor’s Note: Following are excerpts from a speech that Sen. Jovito R. Salonga delivered on March 30, 1963, by way of rebuttal to the speech of Sen. Lorenzo Sumulong berating the Philippine claim to North Borneo (Sabah), which was filed by President Diosdado Macapagal on June 22, 1962, followed by the London negotiations of January 1963. Salonga was with the team of Vice President Emmanuel Pelaez who headed the London negotiations on behalf of our government. The Inquirer is reprinting excerpts from Salonga’s speech to shed light on the Sabah issue.)
A few days ago, Sen. Lorenzo Sumulong spoke on the floor of the Senate to air his views on the Philippine claim to North Borneo. My first reaction was to keep my peace and observe this shocking spectacle in silence, particularly in the light of the request of the British panel during the London Conference that the documents and the records of the proceedings be considered confidential, until they could be declassified in the normal course of diplomatic procedure. In part, my reaction was dictated by the belief, so aptly expressed elsewhere, that the best way to answer a bad argument is to let it go on and that silence is the “unbearable repartee.”
But silence could be tortured out of context and construed by others, not familiar with the facts, as an implied admission of the weakness of the Philippine stand. And so, I decided to make this reply, fully aware that in an exchange such as this, considering that our claim is still pending and each side is feeling out the other’s legal position, none but our British friends and their successors may well profit.
The good senator, whose patriotism I do not propose to impugn, has had access to the confidential records and documents of the Department of Foreign Affairs. By his own admission, he attended closed-door hearings of the Senate committees on foreign relations and national defense, where crucial matters of national survival and security were taken up. He knows the classified, confidential nature of the records and documents bearing on the Philippine claim.
Senator Sumulong has now found it proper and imperative, if we take him literally, to ventilate his views berating the merit and validity of the Republic’s claim, accusing his own government of gross ignorance and holding in unbelievable disdain the Philippine position on the British-sponsored Malaysia plan. He has chosen to assault the Philippine position at a time when his own government, by virtue of the British request, may be said to be somewhat helpless in making, right in our own country, an adequate, fully documented defense of the Philippine stand. I trust our British friends, here and across the seas, will understand if, in defense of our position, we come pretty close to the area of danger.
The good senator tells us that in view of the “importance and magnitude” of the subject, he decided to wait “until all the relevant facts and information” were in, that he had made his own “studies and researches,” which on the basis of the press releases issued by his office, must have been quite massive. The morning papers last Monday (March 25) quoted the senator as having bewailed, in advance of his privilege speech, that “only one side of the problem has been presented so far,” (meaning the Philippine side) seemingly unaware, despite the depth and range of his studies, that in the world press, only the British side has been given the benefit of full and favorable publicity and that the Philippine side has been summarily dismissed, just as the senator dismisses it now with apparent contempt, as “shadowy,” “dubious” and “flimsy.” It may interest the good senator to know that his statements, particularly on the eve of the talks in London, consistently derogatory of the Philippine claim, were seized upon by the English press with great delight, as if to show to the Philippine panel how well informed the senator was. It is, of course, not the fault of the senator that the British, in an admirable show of unity, enjoyed and were immensely fascinated by his press releases and statements.

Frame of reference -
But before I take up the senator’s arguments in detail, it may be well to set our frame of reference by restating the position of the Philippine government on the North Borneo claim.
Thousands of years ago, what is now known as the Philippines and what is known today as Borneo used to constitute a single historical, cultural, economic unit. Authoritative Western scientists have traced the land bridges that connected these two places. The inhabitants of the Philippines and Borneo come from the same racial stock, they have the same color, they have or used to have similar customs and traditions. Borneo is only 18 miles away from us today.
North Borneo, formerly known as Sabah, was originally ruled by the sultan of Brunei. In 1704, in gratitude for help extended to him by the sultan of Sulu in suppressing a revolt, the sultan of Brunei ceded North Borneo to the Sulu sultan.
Here, our claim really begins. Over the years, the various European countries, including Britain, Spain and the Netherlands, acknowledged the sultan of Sulu as the sovereign ruler of North Borneo. They entered into various treaty arrangements with him.
In 1878, a keen Austrian adventurer, by the name of Baron de Overbeck, having known that the sultan of Sulu was facing a life-and-death struggle with the Spanish forces in the Sulu Archipelago, went to Sulu, took advantage of the situation and persuaded the sultan of Sulu to lease to him, in consideration of a yearly rental of Malayan $5,000 (roughly equivalent to a meager US$1,600), the territory now in question. The contract of lease—and I call it so on the basis of British documents and records that cannot be disputed here or abroad—contains a technical description of the territory in terms of natural boundaries, thus:
“… all the territories and lands being tributary to us on the mainland of the island of Borneo commencing from the Pandassan River on the NW coast and extending along the whole east coast as far as the Sibuco River in the south and comprising, among others, the states of Peitan, Sugut, Bangaya, Labuk, Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Muniang and all the other territories and states to the southward thereof bordering on Darvel Bay and as far as the Sibuco River with all the islands within three marine leagues of the coast.”

Contract to Dent -
Overbeck later sold out all his rights under the contract to Alfred Dent, an English merchant, who established a provisional association and later a company, known as the British North Borneo Company, which assumed all the rights and obligations under the 1878 contract. This company was awarded a Royal Charter in 1881. A protest against the grant of the charter was lodged by the Spanish and the Dutch governments and in reply, the British government clarified its position and stated in unmistakable language that “sovereignty remains with the sultan of Sulu” and that the company was merely an administering authority.
In 1946, the British North Borneo Company transferred all its rights and obligations to the British Crown. The Crown, on July 10, 1946—just six days after Philippine independence—asserted full sovereign rights over North Borneo, as of that date. Shortly thereafter former American Governor General Francis Burton Harrison, then special adviser to the Philippine government on foreign affairs, denounced the cession order as a unilateral act in violation of legal rights. In 1950, Congressman Macapagal—along with Congressmen Arsenio Lacson and Arturo Tolentino—sponsored a resolution urging the formal institution of the claim to North Borneo. Prolonged studies were in the meanwhile undertaken and in 1962 the House of Representatives, in rare unanimity, passed a resolution urging the President of the Philippines to recover North Borneo consistent with international law and procedure. Acting on this unanimous resolution and having acquired all the rights and interests of the sultanate of Sulu, the Republic of the Philippines, through the President, filed the claim to North Borneo.

Basis of PH claim -
Our claim is mainly based on the following propositions: that Overbeck and Dent, not being sovereign entities nor representing sovereign entities, could not and did not acquire dominion and sovereignty over North Borneo; that on the basis of authoritative British and Spanish documents, the British North Borneo Company, a private trading concern to whom Dent transferred his rights, did not and could not acquire dominion and sovereignty over North Borneo; that their rights were as those indicated in the basic contract, namely, that of a lessee and a mere delegate; that in accordance with established precedents in international law, the assertion of sovereign rights by the British Crown in 1946, in complete disregard of the contract of 1878 and their solemn commitments, did not and cannot produce legal results in the form of a new tide. (Full text of Salonga’s and Sumulong’s speeches are available at Inquirer.net. [http://globalnation.inquirer.net/66689/does-sabah-really-belong-to-the-philippines])


2013-03-01 "Sultan: Sabah is the patrimony of the Filipino Nation"
[http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/opinion/editorials/42513-sultan-sabah-is-the-patrimony-of-the-filipino-nation]:
Patrimony simply means an inheritance from a father or an ancestor passed on through generations.  When we speak of  national patrimony the broader and deeper nuances in the notion of “heritage” come to the fore.
We learned from Almarim Centi Tillah, former governor of Tawai-Tawi, who is the policy adviser of Sultan Esmail Kiram (the same person who has been in the news these past two weeks as Sultan Jamalul Kiram 3rd of Sulu and North Borneo [Sabah], that the Sultan has been publicly speaking of Sabah as “the patrimony of the Filipino Nation.”
The last time Sultan Esmail (or Ismail) Kiram used this expression was late last year at a symposium on the “Philippine Sabah Claim” at the University of Makati. The event was sponsored by the Pimentel Center for Local Government.
Al Tillah told The Manila Times, “Sultan Punjungan Kiram, Sultan Esmail’s late father, told his children over and over again: ‘My children, if you will
be the ones to decide on the issue of Sabah, remember, do not sell it, because if you do, you will be cursed forever, and your descendants after you will be hounded by our own people till the end of time.”
Al Tillah points to the following events and urges Times’ readers to read up on them.
Indeed history shows without a doubt that Sabah belongs to the Sultanate of Sulu and Sabah (and therefore to the Filipinos because the Sultan signed over Sabah to the Philippine government).  But, Al Tillah told The Times, “the machinations of powerful people and nations” beclouded the facts and now Sabah is controlled by Malaysia.”

British and American anti-communists -
The British and American officials aided by United Nations bureaucrats were eager to make a strong anti-Communist Southeast Asia. Over the objections of the Filipinos and the Indonesians, the British, the Americans and UN officials worked to get Sabah and Sarawak in huge Borneo Island to become part of the soon-to-be formed Malaysian Federation.
Even before the UK and US manipulation to create Malaysia with Sabah in it, however, the Sultan of Sulu had been taking steps to assert his Sultanate’s sovereignty over Sabah.

Nov. 25, 1957 -
On this date the Sultan of Sulu, Esmail Kiram 3rd’s father, issued the proclamation repudiating the July 10, 1946 British Order in Council, reiterating so-called British sovereignty rights over Sabah

Sept. 12, 1962 -
Surrender of Sultanate sovereignty to the Philippine Government, then under President Diosdado Macapagal, with a proviso reverting the same to the Sultanate if the Philippine Government fails to get Sabah from the foreign occupiers.

Sept. 18, 1968 -
President Ferdinand Marcos signed R.A. 5446 defining the Philippine territorial baselines, without prejudice to Sultanate sovereignty. (This was based on the affidavit of then Rajah Muda Punjungan Kiram certifying the authenticity of the Macaskie 1929 decision on proprietary rights. Punjungan’s affidavit strengthened Ismail Kiram’s 1957 proclamation and cancelled the 1878 Lease Agreement effective January 22, 1958.)
The 1973 Constitution under President Marcos incorporated Sabah from Section 2 of R.A. 5446 on the Philippine territories by historic and legal rights.

1984 -
Upon the death of Punjungan, son Ismail or Esmail Kiram III succeeded as Sultan Jamalul Kiram III from 1984 to the present.

April 9, 1986 -
The Sultan sent a letter to then Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mohammad Mahathir reiterating the Sultanate’s sovereignty over Sabah.
Almarim Centi Tillah, reiterates the same appeal Sultan Jamalul Kiram 3rd’s made to all “brother Filipinos of all creeds, to help us in this historic fight, because sovereignty is indivisible, it cannot be partitioned, it is a God-given right for all of us Filipinos. Thank you. Insha’Allah.”

Aquino has sidelined the Sabah claim -
Unfortunately, the Aquino administration has decided not to bother about the Sabah claim. The President himself has said that he has first to learn what it is all about before he can do anything about it.
Late on Friday, Malacañang Palace expressed its deepest condolences to the families of the 12 Muslim Filipinos belonging to the Sultanate’s Army and the two Malaysian “commando” killed in the shootout (reports of which Malacañang until Friday afternoon was denying).
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak himself confirmed the reports at about 5 p.m.
The Aquino admnistration has again mishandled an important matter, the Sabah claim and the people of the Sultanate of Sulu and Sabah and their aspirations. It also incompetently handled the Sultanate Army’s incursion into Sabah (which should not be called an incursion because the Tausugs consider both Sulu and Sabah their home grounds).
And the Aquino administration failed to assure the other Filipino Muslims that the future Government-Moro Islamic Liberation Front peace deal will not mean their subjugation under an MILF yoke. For a key provision of the Framework Agreement is the abolition of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and putting all the provinces (including those of the Sultanate of Sulu) under the control of MILF leaders.
Not only has the Aquino administration given no value to the fact that, as Sultan Esmail says, “Sabah is the patrimony of the Filipino Nation.”  It has also not given much value to the interests and the aspirations of Moros—Filipinos of Mindanao whether Muslim, Lumad, Christian or atheists—who are not under the sway of the MILF.


2013-02-20 "Sultan of Sulu asks Malaysia not to harm followers in Sabah" by Al Jacinto, Francis Earl Cueto, and Ritchie A. Horario with a report from Jing Villamente [http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/news/top-stories/41930-sultan-of-sulu-asks-malaysia-not-to-harm-followers-in-sabah]:
Residents of Tanduo Village, where suspected Philippine militants are staying, gather at their relative’s house in Tanjung Labian, near Lahad Datu, on the Malaysian island of Borneo. Followers of a Philippine sultan who crossed to the Malaysian state of Sabah have pledged to remain in the area. AFP PHOTO

ZAMBOANGA CITY: A supposed heir to the throne of the sultanate of Sulu province and North Borneo has called on President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s government to peacefully pursue claims to Sabah, where hundreds of Filipino.
Muslims continue to defy orders from Malaysian government to surrender as he called on Malaysia not to harm the sultanate’s followers there.
Sultan Raja Mohammad Ghamar Mamay Hasan Abdurajak said that Sabah rightfully belongs to the sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo.
He also said that those who were rounded up by Malaysian security forces are natives of the sultanate and should be accorded their rights to the oil-rich Malaysian state near the Philippine province of Tawi-Tawi.
“Dapat respetuhin ng Malaysia ang aming karapatan at ang Sabah ay nananatili sa poder ng sultanate of Sulu at North Borneo. Kami ang nagmamay-ari ng Sabah [Malaysia should respect our rights, and Sabah continues to be part of the sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo. We are the owners of Sabah],” he said in an interview over Mindanao Examiner tele-Radyo in Zamboanga City.
The sultan called on the Malaysian government not to harm some 600 Filipino Muslims now holed out in a village in Lahad Datu town.
His wife, Queen Maria Makiling Helen Fatima Nasaria Panolino Abdurajak, also made an appeal to the President to ensure the safety of those being held in Sabah.
She said that thousands of Muslims in Sabah are supporting the sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo on its claims to Sabah.
“Dapat bigyan na ito ng aksyon ng pamahalaan at ng Kongreso upang maibalik sa atin ang Sabah. Ngayon ay tayo pa ang lumalabas na dayuhan sa sarili nating teritoryo [The government and Congress should do something to reclaim Sabah. It appears that we have become foreigners in our own territory],” she said.
Sabah was a gift by Brunei to the sultanate of Sulu for helping crush a rebellion. But Sabah was leased by a British company to Malaysia that also pays the sultanate of Sulu some 6,300 ringgits.

No sabotage -
Meanwhile, Aquino’s aunt-in-law, former gov. Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco of Tarlac province, on Wednesday, denied reports that she and her husband, former rep. Jose “Peping” Cojuangco of Tarlac, provoked Sultan Jamalul Kiram 3rd of Sulu, to regain Sabah.
Reports said that the Cojuangco couple, along with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chairman Nur Misuari and former national security adviser Norberto Gonzales, instigated Kiram to regain Sabah to bungle the administration’s peace efforts in Mindanao.
The report, citing highly reliable sources, also said that Aquino viewed the couple’s move as a way to sabotage his administration’s peace initiatives with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
But Cojuangco, who is a senatorial candidate running under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), said that the report did not come from the President himself but from an anonymous source.
She dared the source to come out in the open, otherwise, his allegations will remain “hearsay.”
“Sino yang unknown source na yan na napakaduwag dapat nang lumantad [who is that unknown source who is so coward he should come into the open],” she stressed.
Cojuangco said that it is unfair that she and her husband are being linked with the travel to Sabah of Kiram’s followers, denying that they had a hand in the incident.
She maintained that her relationship with the President remains intact amid the peace sabotage reports.
“Pinag-aaway kami,” she said. “Kaming pamilya matatag. Kaming mga Cojuangco di kami nag-aaway, naglalaban.
Basta family first kami all the time,” she said in an interview at the sidelight of the alliance’s sortie in Pampanga province.

Diplomatic resolution -
Former sen. Ramon “Jun” Magsaysay Jr. on Wednesday called for a diplomatic resolution to the Sabah land struggle and urged the group of armed Filipinos in Tanduao to retreat and return to their homeland in Sulu.
The Liberal Party senatorial candidate made the call following an announcement from Malaysia’s Home Minister Hishammudin Hussein that there will be no compromise on the Sabah claim issue.
Reports said that while Malaysian security forces maintained a distance of over 500 meters from the armed group of Rajah Mudah Agbimuddin Kiram, police, army and naval activities have significantly increased in Tanduao, Lahad Datu in the last 24 hours.
“Huwag nilang daanin sa dahas. It’s very embarrassing during these times of good diplomacy. We must remember that Malaysia is a very friendly country to us. Let’s discuss the issue diplomatically,” Magsaysay, former chairman of the Senate Committee on Defense and National Security, said in a news conference of Team PNoy in Cebu province.
“The government of Malaysia has always been there, helping us resolve our Abu Sayyaf, MILF and earlier, MNLF problems. There are many Filipinos working in Malaysia and they will only be caught in the middle of this skirmish,” he added.
Rep. Sherwin Tugna of Citizen’s Battle Against Corruption party-list also urged the current administration to either make a stand on the Sabah dispute like the country’s strong and indignant claim on the Kalayaan (Spratly) Group Islands and the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, or let go of Sabah completely.
Tugna, who is also the House assistant majority leader, also said that the government should clarify if the Philippines really has a claim over Sabah. The government, he said, cannot just go ahead and make a claim for it without supporting documents, or any historical evidence that would prove our innate right to Sabah.
“We have to have solid and undeniable proof that it is indeed ours to claim. A careful and thorough study would yield results that we need in order to make our claim stronger, one that is hinged on facts and historical documents,” Tugna added.


2013-02-21 "Philippines: Colonial-Era Dispute Resurfaces As ‘Fake Sultan’ Lays Down Claim"
by Joe Torres and Steve Finch from "UCAN" [http://www.eurasiareview.com/21022013-philippines-colonial-era-dispute-resurfaces-as-fake-sultan-lays-down-claim/]:
The Philippines dispatched six navy vessels and an aircraft off Sabah in northeastern Borneo on Thursday as tensions escalated with Malaysia after armed followers of a local sultan laid claim to a tiny corner in the northeast of the island.
Malaysia’s armed forces have surrounded more than 200 supporters of the Sultan of Sulu, Jamalul Kiram, in the coastal town of Lahad Datu and on Wednesday began a food blockade after the group sailed to the area on February 9.
Lt-Commander Gregory Gerlad Fabic, a naval spokesman, said the Philippines was ready to conduct maritime patrols with Malaysia in the disputed area.
“We want to prevent an escalation of the issue,” Fabic said in a statement.
The sultan’s claims to the disputed area date back to when Malaya was ruled by the British and involve a sovereignty issue that has never been fully resolved by the Philippines and Malaysia.
The dispute resurfaced after a peace deal between the Philippines government and communist rebels in October left out mention of the sultanate, a parcel of land that lies adjacent to the restive south Philippines island of Mindanao.
Newspapers in the Philippines have this week reported on rising fears that the standoff could negatively impact the fragile peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, not least because Malaysia is acting as an intermediary after bringing the two sides together.
Abraham Idjirani, secretary-general of the Sultanate of Sulu, said on Thursday that the sultan’s followers would not bow to pressure from Malaysia – and increasingly the Philippines government – by leaving the disputed area.
“The negotiations being undertaken favor one side only – Malaysia,” he said, adding that Malaysian authorities were responsible for human rights abuses against the sultan’s followers by stopping food from reaching the disputed area.
The saga took another twist on Thursday after rival Sharif Ibrahim Pulalun insisted he was the real sultan of Sulu, denying the claim by Jamalul Kiram.
“Nothing will come from the ongoing Sabah standoff because those who are behind it are pretenders to the position of Sultan of Sulu,” he said ahead of a press conference scheduled to take place in the southern city of Zamboanga on Monday in which he said he would substantiate his rival claim.
In response, Idjirani said that it was not uncommon for “so many sultans coming out” in the Philippines, adding that Kiram had been in recent negotiations with the Malaysian government “as the real sultan.”


2013-02-21 "Businessman: I am the Sultan of North Borneo"

by P.K. KATHARASON, MUGUNTAN VANAR, STEPHENIE LEE and AARON RAJ [http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2013/2/21/nation/12737830&sec=nation#136228717398897&if_height=10]:
Proclamation: Rajak showing his business card during an interview with The Star.

LAHAD DATU: A claimant to the North Borneo Sulu Sultanate is disputing the claim of a Sulu armed group that Sabah was their ancestral homeland.
“My family is the rightful owner of the throne,” said the 45-year-old Lahad Datu businessman Datu Abdul Rajak Aliuddin, who has proclaimed himself as the sixth Sultan of North Borneo.
The controversial Rajak has been detained and charged for burning the Sabah flag and raising the North Borneo Sultanate flag with the lion symbol.
He said that the Sulu armed group led by Raja Muda Azzimudie Kiram, the brother of the Philippines based Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram, had no right to claim Sabah, which was previously known as North Borneo.
“My father Aliuddin Agas was recognised as the fifth Sultan of North Borneo.
“He was one of those who signed the framework for the Malaysia agreement in 1962,” he said, showing documents to back his claim.
He said the Azzimudie group had no right to use the yellow flag with the lion, which was purportedly raised in Kampung Tanduo after they occupied the village at Felda Sahabat 17 from Feb 9.
Azzimudie and more than 100 of his followers, including gunmen in military fatigues, had demanded that Malaysia recognise them as the Royal Sulu Sultanate Army and that no subject of the Sultan of Sulu be deported as Sabah was their ancestral home.
Rajak told reporters here that the occupation of the village of Tanduo was a sandiwara (acting) for political reasons.
He claimed that after the 1863 Brunei rebellion, North Borneo was made an autonomous sultanate with two other autonomous sultanates of Bolongan covering northern Kalimantan and Sulu in southern Philippines.
He said they were all made autonomous, and individual children of the Sultan were given full control of their respective kingdoms.
Even Pahlawan, Tawi Tawi and Siasi in southern Philippines were under the sultanate of North Borneo, he claimed.
Historically, there were numerous claimants to the Sulu Sultanate.
Over the years, claimants to the throne have produced many documents to the media to back their claims.
Last year in Kota Kinabalu, businessman Datu Mohamad Akjan proclaimed himself as the rightful heir of the Sulu Sultanate and held a ceremony to declare himself as Sultan.
Police questioned Akjan after photos of him as the Sultan of Sulu became public.


2013-02-23 "SULTAN OF SULU’S 9 PRINCIPAL HEIRS"
from "Philippine Daily Inquirer" [http://sabahkini.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=17768:sultan-of-sulus-9-principal-heirs&catid=40:laporan-khas&Itemid=49]:
MANILA, Philippines : Every year, the Malaysian Embassy in the Philippines issues a check in the amount of 5,300 ringgit (about P77,000) to the legal counsel of Jamalul Ahlam’s descendants. Malaysia considers the amount an annual 'cession' payment for the disputed state, while the sultan’s descendants consider it 'rent.'
In 1939, a decision issued by the high court of North Borneo named the nine principal heirs of the last sultan of Sulu, whose descendants had been pressing their claim to Sabah.

Known as the 1939 Macaskie Judgment, the nine principal heirs of Sultan Jamalul Kiram II were Datu Punjungan Kiram, Datu Esmail Kiram, Dayang Dayang Piandao Kiram, Dayang Dayang Sitti Rada Kiram, Princess Tarhata Kiram, Princess Sakinur-In Kiram, Dayang Dayang Putli Jahara Kiram, Dayang Dayang Sitti Mariam Kiram and Mora Napsa.
Jamalul II’s father, Sultan Jamalul Ahlam, leased Sabah in 1878 to British North Borneo Co. Under the agreement, the company would pay 5,300 Mexican gold pieces a year to the Kingdom of Sulu. It continued to do so until 1936, when Jamalul II died.
According to Ahlam’s descendants, Sabah (formerly North Borneo) was ceded in 1704 to the sultan of Sulu by the sultan of Brunei, after the sultan of Sulu helped quell a rebellion against the sultan of Brunei.
After Jamalul II’s death, the British consul in Manila recommended the suspension of payments because President Manuel L. Quezon did not recognize Jamalul II’s successor.
Sultan Punjungan Kiram, crown prince of the sultanate at the time of Jamalul II’s death, went to the British consulate in Manila to demand the resumption of payments.
After the court decision, British North Borneo Co. complied for several years. It stopped paying when its rights to Sabah were transferred to the newly established Federation of Malaysia in 1963. The new government assumed the payment but in ringgit.
Every year, the Malaysian Embassy in the Philippines issues a check in the amount of 5,300 ringgit (about P77,000) to the legal counsel of Jamalul Ahlam’s descendants. Malaysia considers the amount an annual 'cession' payment for the disputed state, while the sultan’s descendants consider it 'rent.'

According to Abraham Julpa Idjirani, secretary general and spokesperson of the sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo, the direct descendants and heirs of the sultan of Sulu and North Borneo at present are Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, Sultan Bantilan Esmail Kiram III, Datu Alianapia Kiram, Datu Phugdal Kiram, Datu Baduruddin Kiram and the crown prince, Agbimuddin Kiram, official administrator of Sabah and son of Datu Punjungan.

Lies -
In July 2008, there were reports that Jamalul II’s heirs had “dropped” their Sabah claim, but these were dismissed as untrue by the heirs. In the reports, Malaysian Datu Omar Ali Datu Backtiyal told a local newspaper in Malaysia that he had obtained the signatures of the nine heirs for the relinquishment of their claim to Sabah. The heirs dismissed the reports as 'lies.'


2013-02-23 "Malaysia invaded: The sultan’s Sabah swing; In the chaotic south of the Philippines, Muslims launch a foreign policy"
from "The Economist" newsmagazine [http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21572251-chaotic-south-philippines-muslims-launch-foreign-policy-sultans-sabah-swing]:
AS AMPHIBIOUS assaults go, the invasion of the Malaysian state of Sabah by the self-styled Royal Army of the Sultanate of Sulu on February 11th is admittedly tame. Scores of men, many heavily armed, came ashore from motorboats that had brought them from the Philippines, an hour away, where they and the sultan of Sulu are citizens. Without firing a shot, they occupied a sleepy village. There they announced that they had come to enforce the sultan’s claim to Sabah.
At first the Malaysian security forces suspected the intruders were Islamist militants (the Philippines has plenty such people in its southernmost islands). They swiftly surrounded the village. Negotiations ensued. Malaysian officials informed the Filipinos that they had entered Sabah illegally and would be deported. The men refused to go, and as The Economist went to press were still there. The Philippine government was taken aback. It denied any hand in the incursion and asked for the safe return of its citizens.
To understand what it is all about, go back to 1658. Then the sultan of Brunei gave Sabah, in what is now the Malaysian portion of the France-sized island of Borneo, to the sultan of Sulu, who ruled a part of what is now the Philippines. In 1878 the sultan of Sulu leased Sabah in perpetuity to the British North Borneo Company. In 1946 the company ceded control of Sabah to Britain. Eleven years later, the sultan declared the lease void. But Sabah opted to become part of Malaysia when it gained independence in 1963. The sultan subsequently assigned his Sabah claim to the Philippines. Malaysia still pays him a token rent.
Some Filipino Muslims regard with nostalgia the heyday of the sultanate of Sulu—a time before colonial rule first by Spain, then by America, and latterly by the Christian majority in an independent Philippines. The sultan, Jamalul Kiram III (there is also another claimant), is now a merely symbolic figure. His claim to Sabah is a romantic fantasy, yet one that grips the imagination of those hoping for another golden era. It was the Philippine government’s betrayal in 1968 of a plot to pursue the claim to Sabah by force of arms that provoked the rebellion by Muslims seeking independence for their heartland in Mindanao in the south of the country.
The rebellion persisted for more than four decades, costing tens of thousands of lives. But last October the government and the main rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), signed a preliminary agreement to give Muslim areas greater autonomy in exchange for peace. The agreement was brokered by Malaysia.
The Philippine government suspects that the incursion into Sabah is a plot to wreck the peace agreement. A representative of the sultan denies this was the purpose. But the sultan himself says he is upset at being excluded from the process. Suspicion also falls on another Muslim rebel group, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). It made peace in 1998, but many of its fighters were never disarmed. A spokesman, while expressing support for the sultan’s claim, denies that the MNLF had a hand in the Sabah affair. However, its chairman, Nur Misuari, has frequently complained that the peace agreement between the government and the MILF has pushed his organisation to the margins.
The incursion clearly embarrassed the Philippine government in Manila. It has never renounced the claim to Sabah bequeathed to it by the sultanate. But it has let the claim lie dormant while Malaysia intercedes to bring about peace with the MILF. The Philippine and Malaysian governments are unlikely to be deterred by what seems to be an armed publicity stunt. They have a common interest in ending the Muslim separatist rebellion in the Philippines in case it once again descends into militancy. The Philippines remains awash with Muslim armed groups: the MILF, the MNLF, Abu Sayyaf, myriad criminal gangs—and now the Royal Army of the Sultanate of Sulu. Militants will be difficult to root out from an environment so disorderly that some have the nerve to try invading another country.


2013-02-24 "Malaysia Imposes Trade Embargo On Filipinos"
by Nonoy E. Lacson and Edd K. Usman, with a report from Genalyn D. Kabiling [http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/395421/malaysia-imposes-trade-embargo-on-filipinos]:
BONGAO, Tawi-Tawi – The Malaysian government has started to impose a trade embargo on Muslim Filipino traders from southern Philippines as part of their efforts to force fighters of Sultan Jamalul Kiram to leave Kampung Tanduo in Felda Sahabat 17 in Sabah, where they have been holed up since Feb. 9.
Gov. Sadikul Sahali said the embargo that the Sabah government is imposing on Muslim traders from Southern Philippines would greatly affect his constituents here.
Sahali said many residents in the province depend on Malay food products and other prime commodities particularly rice for their basic needs.
Local traders and stores sell Malaysian rice at P470 per 25-kilo sack of rice while Philippine-produced rice with the same variety sells for P1,100 to P1,200 per sack of 25 kilos.
Many people here are expected to suffer economically as a result of the trade embargo, a trader in this capital town said.
“I have to admit that our people here are using and consuming Malaysian products. This is because of our nearness to the federal state of Malaysia and the prices of their foodstuffs are lower compared to the products sold in the country,” an elderly resident here said.
Likewise he said, many residents of Sulu go to Sabah to seek greener pastures. Job opportunities in that state are unlimited unlike in the province or even the entire Philippines, he added.
Sahali said if Sabah continues to impose a ban on trading with them, he will simply ask traders here to get their rice and other food supplies in Zamboanga City.
“Never mind the price. What is important is that we will be able to have rice for the consumption of the people here,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo led by Sultan Jamalul Kiram III intensified yesterday its reaching out to the world community, this time to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Abraham J. Idjirani, officially appointed by Kiram III as the royal spokesperson of the sultanate, said yesterday the Sultan wrote a letter of appeal to the ICRC on Saturday.
He said Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chairman Richard “Dick” Gordon has agreed to forward the Sultan’s letter to the ICRC.
“The letter of the Sultan was given Sunday morning” to Gordon, Idjirani said.
As this developed, Idjirani said in an interview yesterday the stand of the Sultan is still the same: no pulling out from Lahad Datu, Sabah.
“Unless there is a dialogue with Malaysia, there are no plans to return to the Philippines,” he said.
Kiram III has also sent words to his people in Lahad Datu to “remain cool” and avoid provocations.
Idjirani said Kiram III appealed for help from the ICRC in the wake of information from Rajah Muda Agbimuddin Kiram, the crown prince, who, along with over 200 of the sultanate’s men, are still encamped since Feb. 12 in Kampung Tanduao, Lahad Datu.
Idjirani said at least two of the rajah muda’s men have fallen ill.
“It is nothing serious as of the moment,” he said, “but it is important the overall health or condition of the crown prince’s people is known through the ICRC,” said Idjirani.
The food embargo being imposed by the Malaysian government which started on Wednesday, he said, is still in effect.
So, it is not remote, he said, that some of the Moros who belong to the sultan’s followers still holed up in Lahad Datu will get sick.
Earlier, Idjirani appealed to the Malaysian authorities to lift the food blockade, especially since forcing people to go hungry violates the tenets of Islam, which both Malaysians and Muslim Filipinos equally respect and observe.
On the other hand, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) led by founding Chairman Nur Misuari also appealed to the UN to send its peacekeeping force to Sabah to prevent any violence from breaking out.
Over 2,000 MNLF leaders and commanders made the appeal through a resolution issued on Feb. 21 during the “MNLF Leadership Meeting” that Misuari convened in Zamboanga City.
In a separate interview, the MNLF chieftain appealed to the Malaysian prime minister to solve the current crisis “in a fraternal way” to prevent bloodshed.
At the same time, Misuari warned that the MNLF will help the rajah muda’s men even if only a drop their blood is spilled.
Over in Malaysia, the Home Ministry deferred to the Wisma Putra (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) in making a decision on the Philippine request for an extension of the deadline on the stay of the Filipinos in the Sabah standoff.
In an article on the New Straits Times online edition dated Feb. 24, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein objected to an extension that is “too long” should there be one.
“What is important is that we will not compromise on the country’s safety and the dignity of the people in resolving the matter peacefully,” he said.
He said Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hanifah Aman had called him on the phone. Malaysia described the sultan’s men as “intruders.”
On the other hand, Kiram III said he sent his younger brother (Agbimuddin) and their followers on a journey home to Sabah to establish their ancestral rights on the island.
Malaysia’s deadline for the Filipinos to pull out peacefully has been extended a few times already.
Meanwhile, at least the Malaysian government has acknowledged that the sultan’s descendants involved in the crisis are not members of Abu Sayyaf.
“The people should understand that the situation there is rather complex and view it in perspective as it differs from other cases involving al-Maunah, Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiah. The intruders in Lahad Datu are not militants or terrorists,” said the home minister.
Meanwhile, Deputy Presidential Spokeswoman Abigail Valte said the Philippine government is focused on efforts to peacefully resolve the conflict involving a group of armed Filipinos holed up in Sabah rather than proposals to revive the claim over the ancestral land.
She said the matter of pursuing the Sabah claim will be tackled “at the proper time” without harming the country’s relations with Malaysia.
She said a government team is now looking into the “historical and legal context” of the country’s claim over Sabah.


2013-02-26 "Aquino to Sultan: Pull out or face charges"
by Catherine S. Valente and Jefferson G. Antiporda" with report from "AFP" and from William B. Depasupil [http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/news/headlines-mt/42344-aquino-to-sultan-pull-out-or-face-charges]:
President Benigno Aquino 3rd has given Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram 3rd an ultimatum on Tuesday, but the latter had said that his followers will fight for their right to stay in Sabah. MALACAÑANG AND AFP PHOTOS

SULTAN Jamalul Kiram 3rd and his followers may face charges for violating the Philippine Constitution, which renounces war as an “instrument of national policy” and for endangering the lives of Filipinos by their “foolhardy acts.”
President Benigno Aquino 3rd himself issued the stern warning on Kiram and his men, who continued to defy appeals for them to leave Lahad Datu town in Sabah and return home.
“And so this is my appeal to you: These are your people, and it behooves you to recall them. It must be clear to you that this small group of people will not succeed in addressing your grievances, and that there is no way that force can achieve your aims,” Aquino said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
“As President and chief executor of our laws, I have tasked an investigation into possible violations of laws by you, your followers and collaborators engaged in this foolhardy act,” he added.
He explained that as citizens of the republic, Kiram and his relatives are bound by the constitution and its laws.

Financier -
The President also dropped hints that Kiram could not have acted alone in his quest and that the Muslim royalty could be enjoying support from a financier.
Aquino warned that the people behind the Sabah “instrusion” will suffer the full force of the law for conspiring to do prohibited acts.
The Chief Executive cited information indicating the Kirams could not have foot the bill in sending their followers to Sabah.
“We were given reports that they are not in very good financial condition. And we are also told that there are quite a large amount of money involved in ferrying people on launches from Tawi-Tawi to Sabah,” he said.
“Hence, the first logical question would be: Where did the funding come from? And who is funding them? So it seems clear at this point but we are still collating evidence that this was not an action just on their part,” he pointed out.

Defiant -
Kiram, however, stood his ground, saying that his brother, crown prince Raja Muda Abdimuddin Kiram and their supporters will stay put in Sabah.
He pledged that his followers will not initiate violence. But the Kirams claimed that they are prepared to defend their lives and aspirations.
Raja Muda is the leader of the group that is now in Sabah numbering to 230.
“History proves that the sultan of Sulu have never been involved in any violence in its quest for justice,” Kiram said in a statement read before the media at his house in Taguig City.
He told Mr. Aquino that they “also want peace.”
“We didn’t wage war in the Philippines unlike the other movements which went against the government after the Jabidah massacre in 1968, which is the basis now of peace process,” Kiram said.
The sultan assured the President that once an agreement between the sultan of Sulu and Malaysia has been reached, all arms will be returned to the Philippines and the 235 security forces will stay in Sabah.
“Mr. President, I, Sultan Jamalul kiram 3rd pledges that my brother, Datu Raja Muda Adbimuddin Kiram and our followers will not initiate violence and I will sign it with my blood and that of my brother but we are prepared to defend our lives and our aspiration,” Kiram said.
He added that there is sufficient proof that will show that Sabah is theirs, and that the mere fact that the Malaysian government is paying them 5,300 ringgit ($1,700) yearly further strengthens their claim.
Two former presidents of the Philippines and Malaysia also recognized them as the rightful owner of North Borneo. They were the late president Diosdado Macapagal and Malaysian president Soekarno.
    
Consequences
Mr. Aquino said that among the provisions that may have been violated by the sultan and his followers is Article 2 Section 2 of the Constitution, which states that the Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, the enabling law of which is Article 118 of the Revised Penal Code, which punishes those who “provoke or give occasion for a war . . . or expose Filipino citizens to reprisals on their persons or property.”
“My duty is very clear: it is to protect the interests of all of our people, and if that is not possible, then to do what will redound to the interests of the greatest majority. This is the time to demonstrate that you are a true leader both in name and deed. The right thing to do now would be to order your followers to return home as soon as possible,” he said.
“You are now fully aware of the consequences of your actions. The choices and consequences are yours. If you choose not to cooperate, the full force of the laws of the state will be used to achieve justice for all who have been put in harm’s way,” Aquino stressed.
The President stressed that Kiram should use his influence “to prevail on countrymen to desist from this hopeless cause,” noting that the longer
Kiram’s followers stay in Sabah, the more they endanger not just their own lives, but also those of the thousands of Filipinos living and working in Sabah.
“Most of these people are your fellow Muslims. This is a situation that cannot persist. If you are truly the leader of your people, you should be one with us in ordering your followers to return home peacefully,” he added

800,000 Filipinos in Sabah -
Also on Tuesday, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said that some 800,000 Filipinos in Sabah may lose their jobs and face deportation if relations between the Philippines and Malaysia are strained by the Sabah standoff.
“That is the [possible] repercussion of this incident. Imagine 800,000 Filipinos will be deported, where will you put them? Gazmin said.
“The sultan should think about the consequence. As a leader, a recognized leader, he should consider the interest of the people. How can we provide jobs for 800,000 people?” Gazmin asked.
In fact, Gazmin said that the “barter” trade between Mindanao and Sabah has already stopped and prices of goods in Tawi-Tawi and nearby areas have also spiked because of the incident.
Gazmin stressed that the Kirams could easily end the problem peacefully if he would order his followers to leave Sabah and look for other ways to strengthen their claim on Sabah.
“There are other legal ways of claiming. Right now our government, our President has tasked a group, a legal team to study the claim of the sultan,” Gazmin pointed out.
Gazmin added that a Philippine Navy ship is now on the territorial boundary of Sabah and Mindanao waiting for the group of Kiram.

50 percent of Sabah’s income -
Kiram, however, said that his troops would only lay down their arms if the Philippines and Malaysia agreed to negotiate terms for joint development of Sabah.
Pressed for details, Kiram’s adviser Abraham Idjirani told reporters the sultanate should receive as royalties 50 percent of proceeds from Sabah’s economic growth—potentially many millions of dollars.
But Kiram also said that his followers wanted to remain in Sabah even if a financial deal was struck.
“[They want to] peacefully settle in Sabah, which is our homeland,” he said.
Aquino said that the sultan had 180 followers in Sabah. But Kiram said that he had 235 members of the “Royal Armed Forces of sultan of Sulu and North Borneo” there.
However, Aquino cautioned that the sultan that he could not expect to test the Malaysian government’s patience indefinitely without repercussions.
“The avenue of peaceful and open dialogue is still available to us . . . we have not yet reached the point of no return, but we are fast approaching that point,” Aquino said.

Only through dialogue -
Aquino said that the standoff in Sabah will not lead to peaceful resolution of the situation.
“The avenue of peaceful and open dialogue is still available to us. Let us therefore sit down as brothers to address your grievances in a peaceful, calm manner according to our laws and according to correct processes when your people arrive home,” he said.
Reports said that Malaysian security forces have been given the go signal to disarm the sultan’s followers in Sabah.
Sabah police commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib told reporters on Monday that heir troops could enter Tanduo village anytime to end the siege.
“It is only a question of right timing for us to act,’’ he said after a two-hour briefing in Lahad Datu.
Reports said that the crack VAT 69 Force is waiting for a signal to enter the village where the Filipinos have holed up. Hamza, however, was still hopeful that the standoff could be ended peacefully.
He also confirmed that five men suspected to be supporting the sultan’s group have been arrested and are being investigated.


2013-02-27 "Manila Mail" newspaper of northern California [www.manilamailnews.com] V29N9:



2013-03-01 "Sultan defies president's order"
by Beting Laygo Dolor and Sheila Manalac from "Philippine News" newspaper [www.philippinenews.com]:






2013-03-01 "12 Filipinos, 2 Malaysians die as Sabah standoff ends"
by Bernice Camille V. Bauzon, Ritchie A. Horario Reporters and Al Jacinto with a report from Francis Earl Cueto [http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/news/top-stories/42496-12-filipinos-2-malaysians-die-as-sabah-standoff-ends]:
Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram 3rd (center) leads members of his family in prayer inside his house in Taguig City on Friday. Earlier, Malaysian authorities ended the standoff in Sabah—a territory controlled by Malaysia but which is owned by the sultanate—by assaulting the followers of the sultan, resulting in 10 Filipinos and two Malaysians killed in the firefight. photo by Rene Dilan

The three-week standoff between the Malaysian government and the followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram 3rd ended on Friday as an assault was conducted against the group of Filipinos that holed themselves up in Lahad Datu town in Malaysia-controlled Sabah.
Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said that Malaysian Ambassador to Manila Dato’ Mohd Zamri Mohd Kassim met with Foreign Affairs
Secretary Albert del Rosario at 2 p.m. on Friday to inform the secretary about the assault.
According to the ambassador, 10 members of the group led by Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram, the sultan’s younger brother, surrendered while the rest “escaped to the sea.”
At a press conference in Taguig City, Kiram said that 12 members of his were killed and four were wounded.
“We still need to validate that report,” Hernandez said.
Reports from Malaysia, meanwhile, said that two soldiers were killed when the Filipinos opened fire, forcing them to retaliate. Among those killed on the Malaysian side were an inspector and a sergeant.
The Filipinos, however, offered a different version.
Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram, the leader of the group in Sabah, told radio station dzBB that they were shot at and had to defend themselves.
“Biglang pumasok sa amin, we had to defend ourselves,” he said.
In a radio interview, Raja Muda said that Malaysian security forces started to fire at them at about 6 a.m. on Friday after the first deadline for them to peacefully leave the territory lapsed midnight of Tuesday.
“The first shot was done by Malaysian police authorities,” he told radio dzBB while gunfire could still be heard in the background.

Complete surprise -
The attack was a surprise for Raja Muda’s group after they were advised by Kiram that they were still seeking a peaceful resolution to the standoff.
“We would like to bring into your attention to an advice of our sultan his royal highness Jamal Kiram 3rd that the hope that we had for nearly three weeks for a peaceful resolution of the Sabah standoff resulted now into the first fire perpetrated by the Malaysian police authorities,” said Raja Muda.
There were no reports, however, as to the location of the younger Kiram and his group as of press time. The ambassador also failed to say if Malaysian authorities were provoked by warning shots from Kiram’s group.
Hernandez said that Kassim told del Rosario that the Malaysian authorities were “pursuing” the members of the so-called royal army of the Sulu sultanate.
“The Malaysian authorities, particularly, the Malaysian police, are now pursuing the group,” Hernandez said in a press briefing.
Reports from Kassim indicated that the owner of the house where Kiram stayed in Lahad Datu was among those killed during the early morning assault.
Local Muslims said that they are supporting the sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo and vowed to retaliate should Malaysia attack and kill the followers of Jamalul in Sabah.
“Tiyak na maghihiganti ang mga Moro kung totoo ang balitang marami ang namatay sa Sabah. Pati MNLF at Abu Sayyaf at NPA ay maghihiganti,” said Bensaudi Tulawie in Zamboanga City.
He said that Manila should throw its support behind Kiram instead of threatening them and their families with criminal charges for making a strong stand on their Sabah claim.
Initially, the Malaysian police reported that only one of their own was killed and two were wounded, Hernandez said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs official also said that the agency still has to validate reports if there were really 12 casualties from Kiram’s group.
Del Rosario’s meeting with Kassim lasted for more than one hour. During the meeting, the Foreign Affairs chief also handed the envoy a note verbale.
Kassim immediately left after the meeting and was not able to meet with reporters.

Help for surrenderees -
In the note verbale, the Philippine government asked the Malaysian authorities to allow Philippine officials to provide consular assistance to the group, especially those who surrendered.
“The secretary also asked clearance for the Philippine Navy ship, BRP Tagbanua, to proceed to Lahad Datu and enable Philippine medical personnel aboard to attend to the wounded and carry them back to their respective homes and families,” Hernandez said.
BRP Tagbanua was dispatched from Tawi-Tawi on Sunday. A report from Philippine Ambassador to Kuala Lumpur Eduardo Malaya said that the ship is now in a “rendezvous point” and awaiting further instructions from Malaysian and Philippine authorities.


2013-03-02 "Sultan Fuad Kiram is the true and legitimate Sultan of Sulu"
by Julmunir I. Jannaral [http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/news/headlines-mt/42577-sultan-fuad-kiram-is-the-true-and-legitimate-sultan-of-sulu]:
MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari (left) recognizes and supports Sultan Fuad Kiram

DARUL JAMBANGAN, MAIMBUNG, SULU: The position of true and legitimate monarch in the Royal Sultanate of Sulu is claimed by several, up to nine, claimants of the throne.
They are all relatives of the original Sultan of Sulu—and later Sultan of Sulu and Sabah (North Borneo) when the Sultan of Brunei gave Sabah to the Sulu monarch in gratitude for his help against a cousin’s rebellious forces.
The 35th ruling monarch, His Majesty Sultan Muhammad Fuad Abdulla Kiram 1st, or Sultan Fuad Kiram for short, is the true Sultan of Sulu and Sabah.
My family in Sulu and I have been witnesses from the start of the peaceful conflict among the Kiram cousins. My father was a Maharajah to the late father of Sultan Fuad Kiram, His Majesty Sultan Esmael E. Kiram 1st, who reigned from 1947 until 1973.
This Special Report is not meant to downgrade nor besmirch anyone’s reputation. I write it to clear many doubts about who the true and legitimate Sultan is. It will also help the complete stranger to Sulu understand the complex situation in the Sultanate of Sulu & North Borneo (Sabah) in the wake of the recent standoff in Lahad Datu, Sabah.
The first and foremost issue to consider is the “Law of Succession” in the sultanate. This monarchy’s law of succession dictates that “only those direct descendants from the Sultan can inherit all the titles, properties, rights, responsibilities, and privileges of the Sultans.”
Therefore to be Sultan of Sulu “the legitimate claimant must be the son of the Sultan only.” This has been the law of the Royal Sultanate of Sulu since 1457 and, prior to that, in 1390 succession in the Kingdom of Sulu was always the same from father to son only.
This is also the ancient law in other sultanates, kingdoms and principalities the world over.
“To be Sultan is from father to son only. No one can be Sultan if the father was not the Sultan.”
This is the law in Sulu, in Brunei, Malaysia, Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco, Muscat and Oman, other sultanates, kingdoms and emirates in the Middle East and other nations.
Hence, Sultan Fuad Kiram, just like his late brother, Sultan Mahakuttah Kiram who succeeded his father Sultan Esmael Kiram in 1974 and was the reigning Sultan until 1986.
The pages of history tell us that Sultan Esmael Kiram has a half-brother named Datu Punjungan Kiram. Because of the urgency to complete his Royal Cabinet, the Sultan named his half-brother Rajah Mudah or heir apparent.
In 1947 Datu Mahakuttah Kiram, Sultan Esmael’s son, was a young boy of six and therefore not yet “aqil balegh” or equipped with the comprehension of an adult. He was note named Rajah Mudah and his place his uncle, Datu Punjungan Kiram, became the Rajah Mudah.
Datu Punjungan and his family — one of his sons was a playmate of mine as we were neighbors in Asturias, Jolo— left for Sabah in 1971, prior to President Marcos’ declaration of Martial Law in 1972.
In 1973 Sultan Esmael E. Kiram 1st died. Before his death he made in a public announcement for all to hear (he used a public address system when he gave his speech on the occasion of Mauludin Nabi (birthday of Prophet Mohammad pbuh)) in Buwaloh Kanjal, Maimbung, that in the event of his death, his successor would be his son Datu Mahakuttah. Therefore, not the named heir apparent, Datu Punjungan Kiram.
So in 1974, Datu Mahakuttah was crowned as the next Sultan of Sulu & Sabah. The enthronement was a public event in Plaza Tulay in downtown Jolo. No less than President Ferdinand E. Marcos declared his tacit recognition of Sultan Mahakuttah A. Kiram as the legitimate ruler of the Sultanate of Sulu & North Borneo (Sabah).

Contested by cousin Datu Jamalul Kiram -
But this enthronement was contested by his cousin Datu Jamalul Kiram, then a radio announcer at the dxSM radio station in Camp Asturias, Jolo. Jamalul Kiram then had himself crowned also as Sultan of Sulu.
Datu Jamalul believes the Sultan’s crown should belong to him despite the many who are are also of the belief that his ascension to the throne was not in accordance with the Law of Succession.
Nevertheless Sultan Mahakuttah served as the reigning Sultan of Sulu & Sabah until his death in 1986.
With the demise of Sultan Mahakuttah Kiram, his cousin Jamalul Dalus Kiram now got to occupy the throne as Sultan Jamalul Kiram III. However, when the Law of Succession is applied, one may question his legitimacy, no matter how much he believes that he is the rightful Sultan.
At this juncture, Jamalul who is now known as “Sultan Jamalul Kiram III” and who has been based in Maharlika Village in Taguig City (not in Sulu) for many years, designated his brother Datu Esmail Dalus Kiram, who was based in Jolo, Sulu, as his Rajah Mudah (heir apparent.)
For clarity, we shall call them by their first names but this is no disrespect for their position, as they prefer to be called as “sultan, datu or prince.”
However, Datu Esmail who wants to be Sultan also — though his brother is still alive — had called himself “Sultan Bantilan” or caretaker of the Sultanate (since Jamalul does not stay Sulu and is remote from us Tausugs of Sulu). That there was now two Sultans led to the confusion of many Tausugs. For time immemorial, there has only been one Sultan of Sulu and legitimate ruling monarch.
Esmail or Sultan Bantilan appointed his brother Datu Agbimuddin— known as Datu Puing who is based in Tubig Indangan Simunul, Tawi-Tawi —as his own Rajah Mudah. Datu Agbimuddin the same person who courageously led the people of the Sulu Sultanate to go to Lahad Datu, Sabah, and has been in the news every day for two weeks now.
Be that as it may, Sultan Fuad Kiram who at first declined to comment on the Law of Succession, for anything he says might be construed as self-serving, volunteered to relate a piece of history to this writer that will put to rest the question of who is really the real Sultan of Sulu and who is therefore the legitimate one.

Sultan Fuad’s historical narrative -
According to Sultan Fuad Kiram his uncle, the Sabah-based Datu Punjungan Kiram, was not able to assume the throne as Sultan of Sulu & North Borneo upon his father’s death. Based on this premise, therefore, both his two sons Jamalul and Esmail are not sons of the Sultan, if their father failed to assume the throne of Sultan of Sulu & Sabah.
One who is not son of the Sultan have no rights to be Sultan.
With this ongoing Sabah standoff, media people (including The Manila Times) refer to Jamalul as Sultan Jamalul Kiram III. Anybody has his own right to be called by what title he prefers to be called. But a problem may arise when there is a law of succession that must be strictly followed.
Jamalul and his brother Esmail (who was born “Ismail” but he accordingly changed it to Esmail) were both installed by their supporters and claimed to be Sultan at the same time. In Sulu or anywhere, we cannot have two Sultans at the same time. Only one or one at a time, but not together.
Again Jamalul and Esmail if the law of succession is to be followed and strictly observed could not be Sultan because their father was “Datu Punjungan” (half-brother of Sultan Esmail E. Kiram I, the Sultan from 1947 to 1973). Sultan Esmail was first son from the “first wife” of the Sultan, while Datu Punjungan was son from “second wife” of the Sultan.
Hence, based on historical facts, Datu Punjungan was not the Sultan – but Sultan Esmail E. Kiram I. So the two sons of Datu Punjungan namely Jamalul and Esmail were “half-nephews” of Sultan Esmail E. Kiram 1st.

Sultan Fuad Kiram, the legitimate Sultan -
Sultan Fuad A. Kiram 1st is the last son of Sultan Esmail E. Kiram I, so Sultan Fuad for all intents and purposes and based on the royalty law of succession is the most suitable and legitimate Sultan of Sulu and North Borneo: "Sultan Esmail E. Kiram 1st is the father of Sultan Fuad A. Kiram 1st, now the current 35th Reigning Sultan of Sulu and Sabah. Thus, by law of primogeniture of father to son and by the law of succession, Sultan Fuad is the Sultan because he inherited the ranks, titles and positions of his royal father, Sultan Esmail E. Kiram I."

Who proclaimed Sultan Fuad?
The legitimate claimant must be recognized by the Royal Datus and Sharifs:
His Majesty Sultan Fuad A. Kiram I was proclaimed and recognized by the Council of Royal Datus as the Sultan of Sulu & North Borneo on 3 June 2006. Also on 3 June 2006 His Majesty Sultan Fuad A. Kiram I was recognized and proclaimed by the Sharifs of Sulu (descendants of Prophet Mohammad) as the Sultan.
Likewise, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Central Committee headed by MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari recognized and accepted His Majesty Sultan Fuad A. Kiram I as the Sultan of Sulu and Sabah on 15 January 2008.

Being haram disqualifies any claimant to be Sultan -
There is also a strict law for claimants of the Sultanate’s throne. The son must not have physical deformity or disability and must be pure and clean and has not committted any “haram or forbidden act” such as assault upon a woman, child assault, child abuse or any capital offense such as killing, murder, drug addiction, robbery or any crime that is forbidden by Islam as haram.
The Sultan of Sulu is the “Head of Islam and Protector of Islam” so this law to be clean and pure is a quality that the heir of the Sultan must adhere to strictly.

Sultan must be above politics -
The Sultan, King or Queen must be above politics and should not be involved in politics so as not to divide but to unite his or her people. Politics though full of good intentions divide people. That is the nature of politics. Being involved in politics is a disqualification of any claimant for the
throne.
Ustadz Abdulbaki Abubakar, a Tausug and a graduate of Al Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, who is the Grand Mufti (chief religious scholar and explainer of the law) of Region 9, issued a legal opinion that anyone claiming the throne of the Sultanate of Sulu is deemed disqualified if he seeks an elective post in government.
Hence, based on this legal opinion it declared Jamalul, Esmail and Muedzul-lail as disqualified to be Sultan for being involved in politics. The latter is the son of the late Sultan Mahakuttah Kiram who is a nephew of Sultan Fuad Kiram. Muedzul-lail, popularly known as Butch, had himself crowned also as Sultan of Sulu. The declaration of Mufti Abdulbaki is supported by Imams and Islamic scholars.
Therefore, Mufti Abdulbaki’s legal opinion renders Jamalul, Esmail and Muedzul-lail to be disqualified and bereft of legitimacy to be Sultan because they all ran for public office.
Jamalul ran for Senator in 2007 as one of the administration candidates of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo but lost in that election.
Many years back, Esmail ran in 1992 for Sulu provincial board member and he also lost.
Muedzul-lail ran in 2007 for “Barangay Kagawad” or village councilor (the lowest public position in Philippine local government) in his home village of San Raymundo, Jolo, Sulu, and he also lost because his constituents did not vote for him.
Thus, based on primogeniture (blood line of father to son) and law of succession of the Royal Sultanate of Sulu, and based on undeniable proof and evidence, His Majesty Sultan Fuad A. Kiram 1st is the true and legitimate Sultan — no one else.
The Moro National Liberation Front and the Tausug people of Sulu and Sabah or North Borneo today recognize His Majesty Sultan Fuad A. Kiram 1st as the Sultan.

Sultan Fuad’s words of condolence to Lahad Datu standoff victims -
The government-recognized and legitimate Sultan of Sulu & Sabah, His Majesty Sultan Fuad A. Kiram 1st, through his Royal Protocol officer, issued these words of condolence to the family of the victims of Lahad Datu standoff in Sabah.
“His Majesty Sultan Fuad A. Kiram 1st, the Sultan of Sulu & the Sultan of Sabah and Head of Islam, with the Royal Family, Royal Cabinet and our beloved Tausug people, along with all members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), headed by MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari, together with our global supporters the noble patriots, offer our deepest sorrow and heartfelt condolences to the families and relatives of the slain and we sadly mourn the loss of life of our 12 Tausug men in the encounter in Lahad Datu, Sabah, with Malaysian forces with 2 dead and 3 wounded as per media reports.

Reaffirmation of Philippine ownership of Sabah -
“We repeat our call to all parties to exercise restraint, calm and sobriety so that this issue is resolved by peaceful means. As we always stated before and we repeat once more, Sabah is owned by the Royal Sultanate of Sulu since 1658 to this day and co-equally owned by the Philippines and all Filipinos by virtue of the Sabah sovereignty transfer signed by our royal father His Majesty Sultan Muhammad Esmail E. Kiram 1st (Sultan 1947 to 1973) from the Royal Sultanate of Sulu to the Republic of the Philippines on September 13, 1962 during the incumbency of His Excellency President Diosdado Macapagal.”


2013-03-02 "Fight not yet over – Sultan"
by NEIL A. ALCOBER REPORTER and AL JACINTO from "Manila Times" newspaper with reports from "AFP" and JERRY ADLAW [http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/news/top-stories/42538-fight-not-yet-over-sultan]:
THE bloodbath that ended the standoff in Sabah does not mean that the fight for ownership of the island is over, according to Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram 3rd.
Kiram vowed to continue the fight for their historical rights over Sabah despite another plea from Malacañang that they surrender with no conditions. The sultan said that they are ready to give up their life to defend themselves against attacks by Malaysian security forces.
“Buhay pa naman yung kapatid ko at kausap ko siya kanina lang . . . tuloy itong laban na ito . . . kung mapatay nila ang aking kapatid eh may kapatid pa kami, marami pang mga tao diyan [na magtatanggol sa Sabah] [My brother is still alive and I talked to him awhile ago. The fight will continue . . . if they kill by brother, we still have other brothers who will take up the fight]” the sultan said.
He was referring to his brother, Raja Datu Muda Agbimuddin Kiram, who led hundreds of their followers in crossing over to Sabah three weeks ago.
The sultanate of Sulu called for a truce with the Malaysian forces on Saturday to give those who died in the Friday encounter a decent burial.
Two Malaysian police officers died in the firefight. Malaysian officials claimed that 12 armed Filipinos were killed, but Kiram insisted that only 10 of his men died in the incident.
At a press conference in Taguig City, Kiram said that Malaysia should treat the dead with dignity and respect. In Islam culture, the deceased are to be buried within 24 hours.
Kiram’s daughter Princess Jaycel earlier said that the remaining 224 followers of the sultanate in Sabah have decided to stay put in Lahad Datu town “in pursuit of their dreams and aspirations.”
“The sultanate’s followers decided not to leave Lahad Datu despite the shootout with Malaysian security forces,” Princess Jaycel said, reading Agbimuddin Kiram’s letter.
“After we buried our nine brothers and one sister at sundown, everyone of the 224 left decided to die in Lahad Datu in pursuit of their dreams and aspirations . . . and have decided to put everything in the hands of Allah,” the letter added.
Abraham Idjirani, the sultana-te’s spokesman, also said that the remaining 224 Filipino forces remain intact.
Idjirani said that the standoff continued and the group of Raja Muda had moved to another location to continue their fight.
On Saturday, Idjirani confirmed that no shootout between Raja Muda’s group and Malaysian forces had occurred since 8 p.m. on Friday.
Idjirani also admitted that 10 men from the royal army were arrested by Malaysian authorities but that no one surrendered.
Princess Jaycel said that there has been no order for the sultanate’s followers to retreat and return to the Philippines, despite the confirmed casualties and injuries from their side.
“My father was about to consider ‘yung sina-suggest ng gobyerno natin. But because of the lies of this government, my father stayed firm to continue the fight and not surrender,” she said.
Princess Jaycel criticized the Philippine government for not taking any action after the incident.
The bloody firefight, she said, was “tantamount to a massacre,” noting that the group of 200 Filipinos was not match to the 3,000-strong Malaysian force.
“Wala sinuman from the office of the Malacañang is taking this seriously. Bakit kung sincere kayo sa mga pangako niyo, bakit hindi mismo ang mga officials ng Malacañang ang magpahayag direkta sa amin?” she added.

Drastic action -
Malaysia threatened on Saturday to take “drastic action” against the sultan’s followers.
“We want them to surrender immediately. If they don’t, they will face drastic action,” Hamza Taib, police chief of the Malaysian state of Sabah where the drama was taking place, told Agence France-Presse.
He declined to provide details of what security forces had in store but his comments echoed growing Malaysian impatience with the situation.
Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose government has been embarrassed by the security breach, said in the shootout’s aftermath that he told police and armed forces to take whatever action necessary to end the impasse.
“Now there is no grace period for the group to leave,” he was quoted as saying by Malaysian media, blaming the intruders for sparking the violence.
Muslim-majority Malaysia had previously avoided tough talk, expressing hope the intruders would leave peacefully.
But even if they give up, they will face Malaysian prosecution, Hamza said, after he met with Malaysia’s home minister and other top security officials.
Hamza has said that the shoot-out erupted when the armed Filipinos opened fire on police, who were attempting to tighten their security cordon.

Subservient -
Also on Saturday, former sen. Richard “Dick” Gordon condemned the violence in Sabah.
Gordon described the Philippine government’s handling of the situation in Sabah as “severely woeful, anti-Filipino and subservient to Malaysia,” adding that a bloody encounter could have been avoided.
Gordon, who is seeking a Senate seat in he upcoming election, questioned the manner in which the Department of Foreign Affairs officials handled the situation.
According to him, the Foreign Affairs department should be at the forefront and should not have allowed President Benigno Aquino 3rd to make comments about the issue.
He also questioned the lack of attention, priority and importance given by Malacañang to Kiram’s letter.
“Whoever is advising the President on foreign policy matters has done terribly wrong by our people and has put us on a slippery slope with regard to this conflict,” Gordon said.
According to him, the government sent the wrong signal to the Malaysian government when it portrayed the Filipinos pursuing the claim on Sabah as common criminals.
“The Malaysians were allowed to think by our own authorities that Filipinos are expendable,” Gordon said.
“This issue should have been more carefully handled by our Foreign Affairs officials, but clearly foreign policy and crisis management have not been the strong suit of this administration,” he added.
Liberal Party senatorial candidate Ramon “Jun” Magsaysay Jr. also called for sobriety amid the tension in Sabah.
“We must maintain a sense of calm and explore areas where both parties can be encouraged to settle the dispute amicably, peacefully. It is not too late,” he said.
“Let us keep in mind the highest interests of our country, our fellow Filipinos in Sabah, including those supporters of Kiram. There need not be any bloodshed,” Magsaysay Jr. added.
He said that the sultan’s claim on Sabah should be asserted “but it should not be in injudicious and violent means.”
“As the government pursues a peaceful solution to the situation, we can only hope that this firefight would not lead to something that will affect a greater number of innocent Filipinos in Sabah, those who have been living peacefully there,” he said.

Muslim support -
Meanwhile, local Muslims said that they are supporting the sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo and vowed to retaliate if Malaysia killed the leaders of the group in Sabah.
“Pati MNLF [Moro National Liberation Front] at Abu Sayyaf at NPA [New People’s Army] ay maghihiganti,” said Bensaudi Tulawie in Zamboanga City.
He said that Manila should throw its support to the sultan instead of threatening them and their families with criminal charges for making a strong stand on the Sabah claim.
Bensaudi said that he and his families and friends would also campaign strongly against the senatorial candidates being supported by the President.
Other MNLF sources believe that the Philippine government will not antagonize Malaysia because it brokered the peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
A source added that the MNLF leadership will not hesitate to fight the Malaysian government.
“The Philippine government cannot anymore react because the MILF forces will surely back up the Malaysian government to fight followers of [Nur] Misuari if ever there would be a retaliation for what happened in Sabah,” the source said.


2013-03-02 "Malaysia threatens 'drastic' steps in Borneo siege" by "AFP"
[http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/news/breaking-news/42524-malaysia-threatens-drastic-steps-in-borneo-siege]:
LAHAD DATU, Malaysia: Malaysia threatened Saturday to take "drastic action" against intruding followers of a self-proclaimed Filipino sultan who have vowed to dig in following a shootout that killed 14 people.
Twelve followers of the little-known sultan of Sulu and two Malaysian security personnel were killed in Friday's firefight, police said, as the more than two-week-old siege in a remote corner of Malaysia turned deadly.
Dozens of Filipinos have been holed up on Borneo island, surrounded by a massive Malaysian police and military cordon, since landing by boat from their nearby Philippine islands to insist the area belongs to their Islamic leader.
"We want them to surrender immediately. If they don't, they will face drastic action," Hamza Taib, police chief of the Malaysian state of Sabah where the drama was taking place, told AFP.
He declined to provide details of what security forces had in store but his comments echoed growing Malaysian impatience with the situation.
In Manila, Philippine President Benigno Aquino urged the gunmen to surrender immediately.
"To those who have influence and the capacity to reason with those in (the affected town of) Lahad Datu, I ask you to convey this message: surrender now, without conditions," he said in a statement.
The Filipinos, who are estimated to number between 100 and 300, sailed from their remote islands to press Jamalul Kiram III's claim to Sabah.
Kiram, 74, claims to be the heir to the Islamic sultanate of Sulu, which once controlled parts of the southern Philippines and a portion of Borneo.
In an immediate response to President Aquino's appeal, Kiram's spokesman Abraham Idjirani said the gunmen would remain in Sabah.
"We have spoken: It's honour over lives," he said, adding the Filipino deaths have "only strengthened our resolve to defend the rights of the Filipino people over Sabah."
Jacel Kiram, daughter of the self-proclaimed sultan, said: "The decision remains the same. They won't be coming back because honour is above life."
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose government has been embarrassed by the security breach, said in the shootout's aftermath that he told police and armed forces to take whatever action was necessary to end the impasse.
"Now there is no grace period for the group to leave," he was quoted as saying by Malaysian media, blaming the intruders for sparking the violence.
Muslim-majority Malaysia had previously avoided tough talk, expressing hope the intruders would leave peacefully.
But even if they give up, they will face Malaysian prosecution, Hamza said, after he met with Malaysia's home minister and other top security officials.
Local residents were staying indoors and the usually bustling coastal town of Lahad Datu was quiet with most shops closed on Saturday.
The Sulu sultanate's power faded about a century ago but it has continued to receive nominal payments from Malaysia for Sabah under a historical lease arrangement passed down from European colonial powers.


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