US stays clear of Sabah row


US Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

ZAMBOANGA CITY—Despite the potential threat to the peace process in Mindanao it supports, the United States is staying away from the Sabah crisis, saying it is a problem that only the leaders of the Philippines and Malaysia can deal with.

Malacañang itself has refused to step in to break a standoff between Malaysian security forces and a group of armed followers of the sultan of Sulu in Tanduao village in the coastal town of Lahad Datu in Sabah.

The followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III crossed over to Sabah on Feb. 9 in what they called a journey back to their homeland.

Malaysian police, military and naval forces have encircled the armed group led by Agbimuddin Kiram, a brother of the sultan. The security forces are waiting for orders to flush out Kiram and his followers and bring them in for deportation proceedings.


Manila, KL should talk

Speaking to reporters here on Wednesday, US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas Jr. said Manila and Kuala Lumpur should settle the issue.

“This is something, which is between the Philippine government and the government of Malaysia,” he said, following the inauguration of a P13-million training center at the Philippine Public Safety College here.

Thomas said Washington believed that if the two governments would sit down and talk, the standoff could be resolved without bloodshed.

Manila and Kuala Lumpur have the ability “to work this out in a peaceful manner, according to international norms,” Thomas said.

Timing suspect

In Ozamiz City, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panel member Maulana Alonto said the timing of the Sabah “homecoming” of the so-called royal army of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo was suspect.

“We are not questioning the validity of the Sulu sultan’s claim over Sabah. That is for the proper international bodies involved in mediation to determine,” he said, adding that the MILF’s concern was “the timing of the “invasion’’ of Sabah and the reason given for resorting to such an act by the people behind it.”

Former MILF spokesperson Eid Kabalu said he suspected the Sabah standoff was aimed at undermining the peace process and those behind it included Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader Nur Misuari, who had publicly admitted that he resented the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed by the government and the MILF.

Alonto said it was sad that Jamalul was using the peace deal as pretext for his foray into Sabah. The peace process is being brokered by the Malaysian government.

“Ruminating on these developments, past and present, we cannot help but ask, Why do Moros always allow themselves to be used as instruments by elements that are inherently inimical to their cause?” Alonto said.

Earlier, MILF deputy information chief Khaled Musa brushed off Kiram’s allegations saying the group had reached out to them and made known its position about the Sulu sultanate and any others like it.

“We want to preserve it but we will not revive it,” Musa said.

“The sultanate is part of Moro history and heritage and it is one of the bases of the present Moro’s assertion of its right to self-determination,” he added.

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  • sunan_kinabalu

    There’s only one problem with this claim – it is impossible. Regardless of what you plan, think or do in the RP about the ‘future’ of Sabah. Kadazan/Dusun tribe is the biggest NATIVE tribe of Sabah, not the PH’s tausug. So it is militarily, diplomatically and socially impossible. So while you do the math, you are better off listening to PH government – stay away and re-route your precious energy in making the PH a better nation.

    • johndcross1

      No way are we Filipinos to abandon what is ours!  No way, you hear me!  Your contention is so bias & a lot of buuullllsssshhhhhiiiiitttt!!!!!!

      • Benjamin Ismail

         man o man the level of intelligence nowadays…down the drain

  • johndcross1

    This Harry Thomas must be replaced ASAP!!!  He is not after the welfare of the Filipinos!  Kick the butt of this idiot!

    • Benjamin Ismail

       boo hoo hoo uncle sam dont want to help me, am soooooo sad. grow a pair will ya

  • Sang Garudada

    filipinos begging for help from USA. pathetic bunch of morons. get down on your knees and suck his deek, then you will get help

    • Edgardo Mendoza

      malaysian suck dick great britain bunch of land grabber return sabah or do you want terror!

      • Benjamin Ismail

         heheheheh say whatever u want honey buns,  an empty drum always makes the loudest noise, put up or shut up

    • Jon Snow

      we dont need US aid in malaysia know why? 300 tausugs royal force vs.7 battallion if your army with all your fighter plain chopper naval ships those royal force stand equal footing to your kids army so no need for back up…(^^,)

  • anonis_anonis

    Filipinos, please understand that both the Malaysian and Philippine
    government has tried their utmost best to avoid the spills of our
    countryman’s blood. Even your legal, elected president has continuously
    asking for the militant to return to their country. If you people truly
    respect and wish to follow the Sultanate of Sulu leads, why didn’t you
    people elect him as the President? Or MNLF? Or MILF for that matter?

    Why didn’t you people support the Sultan when he present his claim to the president long time ago?

    Why didn’t the Philippine government acknowledge him as legal successor of Sultanate of Sulu?

    Where are you people, back then? Hiding in jungle? Playing guerrilla?
    Killing friend just because of MMORPG Ragnarok Online mishaps?

  • Asean

    Sabah is not just a piece of real estate….Millions of people do inhabit the place and I’m sure their opinions and decisions on the whole matter is supremely more relevant over all others, after all Sabahans cannot be forced just to accept who will rule them. It is their sole privilege to chose what they want …

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