Malaysia’s lease payments for Sabah bolsters sultan’s claim—Gazmin

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Sultan of Sulu Jamalul Kiram III, left, joins prayers at the Blue Mosque in Taguig City Friday. AP

MANILA, Philippines—Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Friday Malaysia’s continuing payment of lease for Sabah bolsters the Philippine claim over the territory.

“You see, the sultanate is being paid 5,000 ringgit up to now,” said Gazmin, referring to the nominal yearly compensation the heirs to the Sultanate of Sulu receive from Malaysia under a long-standing agreement.

“So if you are being paid then there’s claim,” he said in a press briefing.

Dozens of followers of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III sailed over to neighboring Sabah island more than a week ago to assert their centuries-old claim over the area.

Also among their demands is additional compensation.

Malaysian authorities surrounded the group, which is believed to be made up of anywhere between 80 and 400 people, and a stand-off has since been in place while negotiations continue.

Kuala Lumpur has given the 300 followers of the sultan led by his brother, Agbimuddin Kiram, until Friday to decide whether to leave on their own, or be rounded up and deported.

But Gazmin said that while the claims of royal family could be valid, it is not right to send an armed group to Sabah to reclaim their territory.

President Benigno Aquino in his first public comments on the issue Thursday said: “Going there with arms is not the way to resolve this.”

“When you brandish arms, naturally the other side has only one way to respond to such a challenge,” said Aquino.

But Gazmin said Manila is still studying the Philippines’ dormant claims to Sabah.

At the same time, Gazmin said that he and his Malaysian counterpart Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi  have agreed to settle the situation “amicably, peacefully, without any violence whatsoever.”

“We’re trying to prevent that, as much as possible,” he said. “The Malaysians have been very cooperative.”

The Islamic Sultanate of Sulu once controlled parts of Borneo, including the site of the stand-off, as well as southern Philippine islands.

The sultanate leased northern Borneo to Europeans in the 1870s. While the sultanate’s authority gradually faded as Western colonial powers exerted their influence over the region, it continued to receive lease payments for Sabah.

Estimates of the number of the armed men has varied. Last week, Malaysian Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein put the number at between 80 to 100 gunmen.

But the sultan’s spokesman, Abraham Idjirani, said in Manila there were about 400 members of the group, including 20 with arms.

Idjirani said Kiram, who lives in a Manila suburb, gave the men the authority to reside in Sabah and they were determined to resist efforts to expel them.

The sultan’s men in Sabah were instructed not to fire first, Idjirani added.

“But if the Malaysian military will attack us, we will be left with no choice but to defend ourselves,” he quoted Kiram as saying. With Michael Lim Ubac, Philippine Daily Inquirer; Agence France-Presse

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  • Sarael Balanda

    only marcos brave and strong president 

    • http://www.facebook.com/gmelina72 Alexander Huck

      brave and corrupt is not ideal

      • Alvin Pereira

        like the yellow aquinos?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6ODLDBBLVPVJCOODC6Y4CKJTVA lex

        WHY you so ANGRY with AQUINO?May be you  is PRO PANDAK and a LOSSER. Common !  MOve ON!

    • rosie19

      what? you’re dreaming!  we’ve been insulted by other races because of Ex President dictator have done to his country.  I’m sorry but I was one that was insulted because of him.

    • pasaway008ako

      I agree, during his time no one can do that.

  • batangpaslit

    with the conflicting claim of who is the true heir of the Sultan, to whom Malaysai is remitting the paltry “cession fee”?

  • notmeitsthedog

    How can there be heir to the throne when the Sultan Alam II showed no intention of passing the throne? In fact, he gave up his kingdom to the Philippines. So, no individual should inherit Sulu because the last owner gave up Sulu to our Republic. Relatives can only claim to be relatives and the royal title.

    Is the Philippines prepared to fight for territories in multiple fronts? Against China and Malaysia?

    • http://www.facebook.com/gmelina72 Alexander Huck

      why not? if asian such as malaysia and china longs for war rather than international law then let the war begin

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/QTVMMV3EWVYIFKLY4M5EYFAQB4 CN

         I agree with you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gmelina72 Alexander Huck

    5,000 ringgit rent? foriegn people are asking; is that per square meter?

  • rajah_sulaiman

    check here:”(Reuters) – The United States pays Cuba $4,085 a month in rent for the controversial Guantanamo naval base, but Cuba has only once cashed a check in almost half a century and then only by mistake, Fidel Castro wrote in an essay published on Friday.”Until now the americans are still paying for a piece of land they once invaded in Cuba.. ,This dates its way back under 1903  Spanish American Treaty. If so,Then why are Malaysian’s ashamed to pay the proper rent to  the Sultanate of Sulu???? Why are Malaysian’s ashamed to pay the proper rent to  the Sultanate of Sulu???? These are their Moslem brothers isn’t it..????

  • rajah_sulaiman

    Why are Malaysian’s ashamed to pay the proper rent to  the Sultanate of Sulu?
    check here:”(Reuters) – The United States pays Cuba $4,085 a month in rent for the controversial Guantanamo naval base, but Cuba has only once cashed a check in almost half a century and then only by mistake, Fidel Castro wrote in an essay published on Friday.”
    Until now the americans are still paying for a piece of land they once invaded in Cuba.. ,This dates its way back under 1903  Spanish American Treaty. If so,Then why are Malaysian’s ashamed to pay the proper rent to  the Sultanate of Sulu??

  • rajah_sulaiman

    Why are Malaysian’s ashamed to pay the proper rent to  the Sultanate of Sulu?
    check here:”(Reuters) – The United States pays Cuba $4,085 a month in rent for the controversial Guantanamo naval base, but Cuba has only once cashed a check in almost half a century and then only by mistake, Fidel Castro wrote in an essay published on Friday.”
    Until now the americans are still paying for a piece of land they once invaded in Cuba.. ,This dates its way back under 1903  Spanish American Treaty. If so,Then why are Malaysian’s ashamed to pay the proper rent to  the Sultanate of Sulu??

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/OSPIECTNCG3S34YQQIZJFKIIZY Maracaibo

       I think the amount has been ‘robbed’ somewhere in between

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VS5EYSP4FPOTVQCJZ24NRE6Z2M Edgardo Mendoza

    MALAYSIA PAY LIKE NUTS STUPID!! ITS PILIPINOS LAND PAY BIG MONEY FROM THE PEOPLE OF SULU IF THEY NOT PAY RETURN THE LAND!

  • nakatutok

    after ilang araw iba na tono ni Volts//..WE CANNOT INTERFERE na…. bawl out siguro inabot kay PNoy…di naman makaporma baka mawala sarap buhay niya sa DND…ano say mo Randy BUkidnon???

  • pasaway008ako

    pagkatapos nito, sino naman kaya ang tatayo na magsasabing sa kanya ang spratly island?baka si rakim ang pupunta doon at sasagupain si mao tsitong!!! ay naku, buhay pinoy, iko tatakot, paktay kung paktay!!!

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