Sulu sultan open to talks


Sultan of Sulu Jamalul Kiram. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–The sultan of Sulu Jamalul Kiram III said Sunday he was still open to negotiating with the government, even as he stood his ground on his rejection of its order for his supporters in Sabah to leave without condition.

But as of early afternoon Sunday, no official emissary from the Aquino administration had gotten in touch with the family.

“The negotiation is not too late as I said because everything is open. The door of the sultanate for negotiation is open,” the Sultan told reporters in his home in Taguig City, after morning prayers.

Jamalul made the statement in the face of the Philippine government’s hardline stance on the standoff in Sabah between the sultan’s supporters and the Malaysian police. The sultanate says the supporters are only laying claim to land that is theirs.

President Benigno Aquino III had demanded that the group in Sabah, led by Kiram’s brother Agbimuddin, surrender without conditions. This was after the tension in the area boiled over and led to a gunfight between the two sides that left 12 people dead.

Kiram’s spokesperson, Princess Jacel Kiram, said what the family wanted was for an official emissary to meet with them, one whose communication with them would not be denied by the government later on.

“If they are really concerned and really serious to resolve this peacefully, how hard would it be to sit with us and talk with us directly without going through a middleman? This is a national issue, even international issue. Why can’t our government come to us?” Jacel said.

She said that when the family earlier met with an emissary–Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao officer in charge Mujiv Hataman–the administration announced it did not know an emissary was sent to meet with the family. The government’s denial was reported on TV while the family was talking to Hataman, she noted.

Sultan Kiram said that the Philippine government is stubborn, but he is, too, as well. He said the current issue is a serious one, and many Tausugs and Muslims are prepared to die for the cause.

“This is not a joke. Malaking gulo ito, malaking gulo ito (This is big trouble),” he told reporters.

But he also said he was praying for the problem to be resolved and was not encouraging his supporters to instigate violence. Even his supporters who went Sabah only wanted to settle in that area since it belonged to the sultanate.

He wondered why the Philippine government was siding with Malaysia.

“Why not side [with] us? We are Filipinos and they side with Malaysia?” he said.

Jacel also called on supporters and sympathizers of the family to be calm and not to do anything drastic. She said she had received reports that they are now angry at Malaysians, and reminded them that Malaysians in the country are not their enemies.

“Let’s not do anything that would worsen the situation. Let us all be calm,” she said.

But she said it hurt that the Philippine government had sided with Malaysia on the issue of the Sabah standoff.

She also lamented that the government was treating the Sultanate’s supporters as if they were “terrorists.”

“Why are they treating this as if they are treating a terrorist? All we have in our hands is historical truth. Our only weapon is the truth. Why are we being treated as the enemy?” she said.

She added that the sultanate’s supporters are taking action not for the family alone, but for all Filipinos.

“By the mere fact that the government is stating the statement of the Prime Minister, they are on the same side. As a Filipino, it hurts that your government is siding with Malaysia instead of protecting the interests of many Filipinos,” she said.

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  • pinoypower

    The Sultan of Sulu is being ignored or sideswept by both the Philippine and Malaysian governments. Perhaps both governments thought that a few dozen gunmen pose no threat to their security.Maybe ‘yes’,maybe ‘not’. It all depends on the loyalty that the Sultan commands from his followers in Sulu and Sabah. If it’s true that there are 800,000 Filipinos in Sabah and majority of them are Tausugs with loyalty to the Sultan then that could mean real trouble for both governments. It is also a big factor if the local population of Sabah has sympathy with the Sultan of Sulu if ever he make good his promise to hold ground and continue his ‘homecoming’.
    Both the Philippine and Malaysian governments and the Sultanate of Sulu expressed their willingness to talk and negotiate but that is not happening because no one is doing any iniatiative to organize such talks. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking and lives are being lost.
    The Sultan of Sulu felt betrayed after years of waiting for the Philippine government to make good their promise to regain Sabah as a condition of the cession. The Philippine Government argues that since The Sultanate has ceded the Sabah claims to the government then it is the government and not the Sultanate which has right to pursue. On the contrary, the Sultanate perhaps felt that there was a breach on the agreement when the Philippine government from Aguinaldo to Pnoy failed to regain Sabah. Can we really blame the Sultan and his heirs if they take things in their own hands? They were victims of deceit, legal manipulations and coercion by colonial powers Spain, Britain and USA and disposessed of their authority and territory which existed even before these colonial powers came. History and legal proofs favors the Sultanate but without the support of our current government nothing much can happen with their valiant efforts of fighting for what is rightfully theirs.

  • disqusted0fu

    The Sultan has always been open to negotiations, it is the PH President who is not. He apparently couldn’t even grant the sultan’s request of a meeting. Pnoy is just stuck with his decision of ordering the sultanates to go home without any conditions, which has appeared to have escalated this whole thing to another level, causing the deaths of some of our fellow Filipinos.

  • disqusted0fu

    It is crazy that there is a peace talk with the MNLF happening in Malaysia at the same time that there’s also a confrontation between Malaysia and the Sultanates. This madness can only happen under a governance of someone like Pnoy. Why is he pleasing the MNLF but couldn’t give an inch to the Sultanates who are fighting for land that supposedly belongs to the PH? What gives?

  • Tun Mohd Firdaus

     tausuq..tausug…tausug….heard a lot about this race said by many
    philipines…. how many science, islamic, sosial research they
    contribute? how many of them are great islamic n science scholar? how
    many of them have win Olympic medal? how many of them are civil right
    fighter?how many of them have hold world title in any field? how many of
    them are creator or innovator that contribute in any modern world dev? 
    if none nothing are great about them…… what i read about them are
    great fighter, warrior, being held high by supporter because they fight
    greatly… but they truth are they had been left behind hundred years
    ago by the development of knowledge… and continue the life of jungle
    people…. what a sad story? my advise, go fight in your country to get a
    good education… only good education can free ur race…. can give u
    greater independent….

  • crisostomo_ibarra_the3rd

    Ngayon ka pa makikipag negosasyon ng may mga namatay na. Wala ka ng choice. You either get your armed people to surrender or face the guns of the Malaysians. Hindi ka leader. Ikaw ay isang butcher ng iyong mga tauhan.

  • rakyat sabah

    You think you own whatever land you land on 
    The earth is just a dead thing you can claim 
    But I know every rock and tree and creature 
    Has a life, has a spirit, has a name 

    You think the only people who are people 
    Are the people who look and think like you 
    But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger 
    You’ll learn things you never knew you never knew

  • rakyat sabah

    i wish this wud all end without anymore lives taken…we have kids here…*crying* the men who are fighting,for both sides…they are somebody’s son,husband,father,brother. and they all die for what? to claim a piece of land? this is a game for the politicians. they send men to die so that they can  become richer …open your eyes dear fellow citizens…i beg u to open your hearts…it doesnt matter where you are frm…people are dying….children orphaned…what big loss…in the end, what? satisfaction frm owning a land? it isnt just a land….there are people living there…peacefully…and now this… u can come to sabah,and see how harmonious we live together;the kadazans,bajaus,suluks,malays,chinese,indonesians,i hv filipino frens here,and we r close.we treat each other with respect.i dunno why i am telling u this,but i guess i just wanted to remind everyone that its not just a piece of land…i am sorry if i offend anyone here,in any way.i dont mean to. i believe in good. i believe everyone has a good side.nothing good can come frm blood shed…

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