Malaysian ceasefire monitors in Mindanao advised to lie low


COTABATO CITY, Philippines—A former Moro rebel official now working as government peace consultant said Saturday members of the Malaysian contingent on the International Monitoring Team  have been advised to limit their movements following Friday’s clash between Malaysian security forces and a group of followers of the sultan of Sulu who had been holed up in a village in Lahad Datu to assert their claim to Sabah.

At least 10 members of the “homecoming” party of the Sultanate of Sulu and two Malaysian commandoes were reportedly killed when Malaysian police forces stormed their encampment in Felda Sahabat 17 in Lahad Datu.

Eid Kabalu, former spokesperson of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, told the Inquirer by phone there were fears the Malaysian contingent would be targeted if sympathizers or followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III decide to avenge the Tausug deaths.

Malaysian IMT members are deployed in various Moro areas, including Sulu, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur. The IMT members do not only monitor the implementation of the ceasefire agreement between the government and the MILF but they are also involved in the implementation of socio-economic and humanitarian programs.

“Authorities are now beefing up their security as part of precautionary measures,” Kabalu said.

But he clarified that so far, there has been no indication that followers of Kiram were targeting any Malaysian IMT members.

“But while there is no prior information, the Malaysian contingent was asked to limit movements,” he said.

Meanwhile, despite claims by Malaysian authorities they have ended the stand-off, tension remains high in Lahad Datu.

Jecel Kiram, Jamalul’s daughter, said that her uncle, Agbimuddin Kiram, who led the expedition to Sabah, had managed to elude the Malaysian police and was now in an undisclosed area of Sabah with most of his followers.

The younger Kiram said that despite the setback it suffered on Friday, the “royal army” will not leave Sabah, which, she said, belongs to the sultanate.

“Some of them had died or had been captured but they are staying there,” Jecel told a radio station here on Saturday.

Makabayan senatorial candidate Teddy Casiño and Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares said in separate statements furnished the Inquirer that Malaysia’s action was “an utter breach of diplomacy and an affront to the Filipino people and the civilized world.”

“Malaysia is practically in control of Sabah. They did not need to resort to military operations. In fact, there is still time and opportunity to exhaust all options to peacefully solve the problem,” Casiño said, adding that Kuala Lumpur should be held liable for the deaths of the sultan’s followers.

Casiño, who had earlier suggested the revival of the Sabah claim, said that aside from Malaysia, the Aquino government was also liable “for mishandling the Sabah problem.”

“His hardline policy of no-talk unless they pull out, in addition to prosecution, practically pushed Kiram’s group against the wall. Paano sila uuwi eh kakasuhan din sila?” he asked.

Casiño added that the Aquino government’s position might have also emboldened Malaysian security forces to take on Kiram’s group “because their own President appears hostile (to) the Filipino Muslims’ attempt to stake their claim to Sabah.”

“What kind of President orders a group with a strong historical and legal claim to just leave Sabah without any promise of dialogue? We find it perplexing that Aquino is refusing to dialogue with our Muslim countrymen about the Sabah claim,” Casiño added.

Colmenares described the aftermath of the attack as an incident that “required accountability.”

“The Philippines must lodge a strong protest,” he said.

Casiño said it was also high time  Philippines revived the Sabah claim by elevating it to the United Nations, “and pursue diplomatic talks with Malaysia for a just, comprehensive and peaceful solution.”

“The government cannot just dismiss the Sabah claim and order all Filipino Muslims in Sabah to ‘come home.’  Many historical accounts reveal that the Sultanate of Sulu predates all existing governments. The Philippine government must follow through on its official claim to the territory not only for the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu, but for Filipino people and nation,” he said.

Colmenares said the government should “defend our territory.”

“Aquino should face this territorial dispute with patriotism,” he said, adding that the “standoff might have been avoided if Aquino recognized the legitimacy of Kiram’s claim to Sabah and helped them negotiate with the Malaysian government.”

“The Philippines and the sultanate, more than any entity, have solid historical and legal basis for claiming Sabah. Sabah is within the Philippine territory and Aquino should have had asserted, along with our Muslim brothers and sisters, our sovereignty,” Colmenares said.

He said while Aquino was obviously trying to appease Malaysia by not pursuing the Sabah claim, he has adopted a selective patriotism by pursuing the claim to the Panatag Shoal.

Colmenares said he suspected that the claim to the Panatag Shoal  was being pursued because it would please the United States, which has been raring to deploy troops and weapons against China.

Meanwhile, Esmail Kiram II, another younger brother of Jamalul, said the Malaysian and the Philippine governments cannot just tell the Tausugs to leave Sabah.

He said that in reality, many ethnic Tausugs live in Sabah and they are known there as Orang Suluk (people from Sulu).

“Many Suluks from Sulu and Filipino Muslims and Christians fled Mindanao due to the conflict and the government of Malaysia opened up the door of Sabah to allow them to seek shelter and protection there,” he said.

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Mamang Pulis

    and most of these malaysian IMT’s are trained field officers—they have the power to curry things up with their reports…

    yes–it is wise for them to lie low–you can never tell the sentiments at the moment.

    nakakahiya pa lalo kung sa loob ng kampo nag karoon ng insidente

    • Matambaka

       They are in covert operations in Philippines disguise as consultant? Malaysias funding was released to them?


      • Mamang Pulis

        ikaw naman—para kang bago.

        overt & covert.  observe & report.  curry up reports.  influence & goad their counterparts to blabber state secrets.

  • Mamang Pulis

    selective patriotism—

    no choice si mang simeon—malulugi ang kaban ng bayan–

    dalawang international crisis–sabay may internal—-mga NPA –hihirit pa ang ASG–ayos—salamat na lang. luge negosyo

    at ang nagwagi!

    ang mga agit prop ng KL combined with China! plus mga pilipinong kalahi ni iskariote….

  • bab

    Better advice of Ed Kabaliu should have been GO HOME IMT Malaysian team! P-Noy and company will never budge and committed to serve Malaysia’s position, and your option is limited, indeed. But one thing is certain: how can the two heads of state order your people to leave their own homes in Sabah? I would not be surprised if P-Noy will even send AFP contingents to fight the Moros in Sabah. The MILF/MNLF peace accords bound Philippine soldiers to fight the Moros here, but in Sabah, they are free to do so. Try your lack with the natives in Sabah, may be they will be more considerate, like former Chief Minister Harris Taib.

    It is really unpatriotic of p-Noy, Marx Roaxas and company to take such an-Filipino position on the Sabah issue. Moros, you remains Moros, no matter how you try to be Filipinos. HOPELESS CASE, SURRENDER only to Allah SWT. Dajjal will never win.

  • ThudOthwacker

    First time I agree with Casino. Let this government know our disgust by not voting any Liberal party candidates. 

    • Mamang Pulis

      right…his left leaning ideals might not sit well with us but if I we have to vote for a him–so be it…keep your enemies closer

      what does LP means? Linking Park?

      LP? Lapiang Pandarambong? je je je :))

      Lapiang Pang iiwan sa ere??

      Lapiang Pananamantala?

      • ramelatilano

        ano kag ugnayan doon ha ha ha

    • ramelatilano

      ano kaugnayan doon… ha ha ha….remember sabi ni BINAY…ang USAP sila ng SULTAN…AT ISA YAN SA MGA AGENDA….NILA  HA HA HA

      • ThudOthwacker

        If you pause for a second and fire up your brain cells. This administration never was and never will pursue for the Sabah claim. Because they agreed on a Malaysian dictated Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) territory. In the agreement, Sabah was not included!

    • droids


    • BI_kotong



    all of them politicians are silent. why should anybody vote any of them? is it better to boycott this election to show some solidarity with our fellow filipinos holed up in sabah, their home, no matter what enmity we had with them in the past? those enmity were the result of neglect of the past and present administrations on their sensibilities and culture. an enmity borne out of bad politics. their claim to the their homeland is based on a moral high ground and should be supported by all of us who claimed their country is part of the philippine archipelago lest we will be called by them traitors in league with the biggest thieves british and u s a.

    as for the malaysian monitors out there, they must know they are good sports for the tausugs. mr. kabalu must guard them personally.

  • Rudy Sentosa

    Does the word IMPEACHMENT ring a bell? NONE, NOT ONE of all so called EDUCATED PH officials SAID ANYTHING in PROTEST and DEMANDED the attacking forces to stop SHOOTING. Now I know the reason they call PH The Banana Republic of SE Asia.

  • ramelatilano

    sali ka na naman dyan casino….mag bigay ka nag message tungkol sa CHINA hindi sa Malaysia….bilib ako sa kung sabihan mo ang china na hwag pumasok sa teritoryo ng PILIPINAS unggok…

  • ramelatilano


  • markoftoronto

    The true color of Aquino is starting to exposed in public. No symphaty to muslim Filipinos. How can you trust the president if he no symphaty with them? Why Filipinos will vote for his liberal party, because of their selfish agenda? It’s so sad to have hypocrite and selfish president. He is only after for his own good. Why Filipinos are voting for unpatriotic president? Are Filipinos st–id and du..b?

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks




latest videos