Sabah in standoff with Sulu ‘royal army’


SECURITY CONCERN Malaysian policemen check a vehicle along the main road near Lahad Datu in Malaysia’s eastern Sabah state Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. Malaysian security forces in Borneo surrounded armed intruders believed to be from the southern Philippines and sought to persuade them to leave peacefully Thursday, authorities said. AP PHOTO/BERNAMA NEWS AGENCY

KUALA LUMPUR–Malaysia’s government said Thursday its security forces have surrounded dozens of Filipino gunmen in a remote area of Borneo island, and a report said the group is demanding the right to stay.

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters about 80 to 100 gunmen apparently belonging to the “royal army” of the Sultanate of Sulu had been cornered by security forces near the small coastal town of Lahad Datu in Sabah.

He said security forces were in control and negotiating with the group, some of whom were armed.

The area was once controlled by the former Islamic Sultanate of Sulu and has a history of incursions by armed Filipino Muslim groups.

Malaysia’s national police chief Ismail Omar was quoted as saying the militants had declared themselves followers of “a descendant of the Sultan of Sulu.”

Ismail, quoted on the website of The Star newspaper, said the group demanded to be recognized as the “Royal Sulu Sultanate Army” and insisted that as subjects of the sultanate, they should be allowed to remain in Sabah.

“They have made known their demands while we have told them that they need to leave the country,” the police chief was quoted as saying, adding that negotiations with the group were still under way.

The report did not elaborate.

Earlier Thursday Prime Minister Najib Razak was quoted by The Star as saying police were negotiating with the gunmen “to get the group to leave peacefully to prevent bloodshed”.

The report said a tight security ring including Malaysian army and naval forces had been drawn around the “heavily armed” group.

The Sulu sultanate, first founded in the 1400s, was once a regional power center, controlling islands in the Muslim southern Philippines and parts of Borneo including Sabah until its demise a century ago.

Much of the eastern part of Sabah is being claimed by the Philippines as part of the Sultanate of Sulu that was leased to the British North Borneo Company in 1878. Great Britain transferred Sabah to Malaysia in 1963, which according to the Sultanate of Sulu was a violation of the Sabah Lease of 1878.

Security on Sabah’s coast has been a problem for Malaysia, with tens of thousands of Filipinos believed to have migrated illegally to the state over the past few decades from the adjacent southern Philippines.

People continue to move freely across the maritime border from Mindanao, which has been racked for decades by Islamic separatist insurgencies and other lawlessness.

In 2000, guerrillas of the Islamic militant Abu Sayyaf movement seized 21 mostly Western holidaymakers as hostages at the Malaysian scuba diving resort of Sipadan near Lahad Datu.

The hostages were taken to Philippine islands and later ransomed.

Mainly Muslim Malaysia hosted long-running talks between Manila and the southern Philippines’ main Muslim separatist group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, that resulted in a framework agreement last year aimed at ending their insurgency.

Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez has said Manila was in touch with Malaysia over the case. With

Originally posted at 11:41 pm | Thursday,  February 14, 2013

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  • Edgardo Mendoza

    malaysia need to pay are sultan becoz his family is very hungry! they not pay for rent.

    • Sri_Vijayans

       Check you english translator Chinese or your post will just end up comical.

  • pinoypower

    The Sultan of Sulu holds the legal and historical rights over Sabah but it will be difficult to regain it back from the Malaysian government. What will ultimately decide this are the people of Sabah. If they want to stay with the Malaysian federation then there is nothing the Sultan of Sulu can do. But if their loyalty is with the Sultan of Sulu then the possiblity of a new nation independent from Malaysia and Philippines could emerge. Remember the existence of the Sultanate of Sulu and Sabah preceded that of the Philippines and Malaysia. Malaysia’s annexation of Sabah is illegal given the historical and sovereign rights of the Sultan of Sulu over Sabah. The Sultan’s claim will however be very difficult to pursue because neither Malaysia nor the Philippines will support it. I don’t see any other country in the world which will give support to such claim.

    • Mohd Ariff Mohd Azim

       The Sultanate of Sulu can claim Sabah as part of his authority. But, does anyone recognize the eligibility of Sulu Nation? No, and not only Malaysia but also the government of Philipine itself. Well, I don’t see any chances that this incident could escalated to new conflict because of the Empire Sulu Sultanate are not exist even is Philipine itself.
      well, just my two cents.

  • damiranda126

    En 1939, una sentencia del Tribunal sobre la reclamación había entregado propiedad de Borneo Septentrional a los herederos de la Sultanía antes de la formación de la Federación de Malasia en 1963. La sentencia del juez C. F. C. Makaskie de la alta corte de Borneo del Norte en la demanda civil presentada por el difunto Dayang Dayang Hadji Piandao y ocho otros herederos del sultán de Sulu, incluyendo Datu Esmail e. Kiram (en 1950 fue coronado como sultán Esmail e. Kiram) y Putli Tarhata Kiram, confirmó la validez de la reclamación de los herederos.

  • S.N. Sherafie Izuan

    guys,.i’m pure Sabahan people here. first. there is more than 3 millions resident here in Sabah alone. All sabahan knows, these group claiming only a small and waste time to react. Ask them, who the one who fighting the enemy when it was nippon and british colonize our homeland? did they come to war? no,. we all here in sabah live in harmony and peace todays, and now they ask for this silly claiming? get real,.go to work,.go help your own homeland in mindanao first, go develope it rather than doing this stupid thing. my ancestor if still alive and send to war over this group maybe win alone by himself.
    – the descendant of Kinabalu Guerrilla Militants and Force 136

  • joboni96

    1. malaysia to increase to $10 million per year rent
    to be used both sides of the border

    2. bangsa moro to support the sultanate

    3. sovereignty issue to be set aside in the meantime
    in exchange for the commercial transaction in no. 1

    4. philippine government gives the sultanate
    power to negotiate but
    concurrence power is reserved

    5. money in no.1 will be used for development
    led and managed by the sultanate

    6. brunei as mediator

  • Shooting Star

    actually when these ppl arrived at kg tanduo the malaysia’s police trying to negotiate with them to prevent any bloodshed.. so, the ppl want 2 things: 1. recognize them as sultan sulu royal army 2. sent all the sulu ppl bck to philippines.. but we ignored it.. n now they want sabah lolz.. and again our goverment will ignored it…

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