Sabah is Philippines!
The Malaysian government is again posed to repatriate several thousand “illegal immigrants”from Sabah to the Philippines this year. The words “repatriate and illegal immigrants” to me arenot fitting given that we have not abandoned our claim to that land north of Borneo.I continue to believe that the Philippines have a legitimate claim to Sabah. The fact that Malaysiais paying more than 7000 ringgits annually to the heirs of the Sultan of Sulu until now, clearlyshowed that they recognize who the rightful owners of Sabah are! How could they lay claim to aterritory when they are paying rent to Filipino citizens? You don’t have to be a lawyer to figureout that this part of Borneo is legally our turf.Over the years, several hundred thousand Filipinos were forced out of Sabah, but the presentdispensation have not dared to raise even a sigh of protest to this ruthless act against our compatriots. I am not sure why our dear leaders would not dare to antagonize this nation. They prefer to be bullied than asserting the rights of the affected Filipinos in exchange for what,economic ties?It is very clear that Sabah is very much part of our country and its history. It was once a part of the mighty Sultanate of Sulu. Sabah was reportedly given as a “gift” by the ruler of Brunei to theSultan of Sulu after the latter helped suppress the rebellion in his kingdom. The lease agreement between Sri Paduka Maulana A Sultan Mohammad Jamalul Alam and the British North BorneoCompany in 1878, for the latter to use Sabah in exchange for a yearly rent and some weapons,showed that indeed, the territory is owned by the Sultanate of Sulu.The Philippine’s claim over the land started on September 11, 1962 when then PresidentDiosdado Macapagal accepted the declaration of the Sultan of Sulu to surrender Sabah to theRepublic. By this declaration, the responsibility to regain control of the territory from the lesseehas been effectively transferred to the government of the Philippines. The declaration was madeduring the time that Malaysia is not yet a sovereign nation, being under the British control.Malaysia claimed that the 9 heirs of the sultan of Sulu had relinquished their claim over theterritory. In 1939, the heirs of the Sultan filed a civil suit against the British company, the lessee,who continue to refuse to turn-over the land to them. During the same year, the court of NorthSabah ruled in favor of the heirs. If they claim that the 9 heirs had relinquished their claim toMalaysia, they have been dead long time ago before Malaysia tasted the air of independence.Then, who are these 9 heirs that Malaysia is referring to?The original 9 who filed a civil suit against the British company were Dayang Dayang HadjiPiandao and eight others including Putlih known in our history books as Princess Tarhata.Therefore, if the heirs had rescinded their claim, it must be the living heirs, probably SultanIsmael Kiram II which is preposterous even if by all possibility he did it. The 1962 declaration by the Sultan of Sulu in Malacanang that officially turned over the claim to the PhilippineRepublic sealed the territorial entitlement over Sabah. Therefore, the current heirs cannot justmake any decision to withdraw the claim. Therefore, Malaysia’s assertion over Sabah is pathetic.