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Widow of 34th Sulu sultan offers self as emissary

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MANILA, Philippines—The widow of the 34th sultan of Sulu offered herself Monday as an “emissary in the negotiation with all parties” involved in the Sabah standoff, but asserted her family’s right to stay in the disputed territory.

Dr. Merriam Kiram, wife of the late Sultan Mohamad Mahakuttah Kiram, called on the government to include her family in plans for peace and development in Mindanao, echoing Sultan Jamalul Kiram III’s complaint about being left out in the government’s talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“I am offering my services to be an emissary in the negotiation with all parties concerned in as much as I have dealt with all of them in the past,” Merriam said in a press conference in Makati City on Monday, the first time she faced the public since the Sabah standoff started three weeks ago.

“I am confident that after I sit with them to clarify their concerns, they will all be willing to come to the negotiation table to settle all matters for the good of all concerned. A win-win solution can be definitely arrived at,” she said.

Merriam said she had lived in Malaysia for 25 years and negotiated with authorities there.

She said she was in talks with the Malaysian side before the Lahad Datu standoff began.

In talking to the Malaysians, she is pursuing her husband’s decree for her to “bring back all the assets of the sultan of Sulu,” Merriam said.

She did not give details of her discussions with the Malaysians, saying only that she told them “to please take care of my family. I don’t want any bloodshed.”

Merriam said her side of the family, among nine heirs to the sultanate, was not consulted about Jamalul’s actions, adding that she was still in Malaysia when news of the standoff broke.

Defending the Kiram group’s action, however, Merriam said the Lahad Datu group went to Sabah “just to stay there” and was not as heavily armed as reported.

She claimed only three of the group of 200-odd people from Sulu were armed.

“We are not in agreement with the way they did it,” said Merriam, who led 12 Sulu royals in a rare public outing on Monday, most of them in their royal garb.

Still, Merriam said her family was not condemning Jamalul’s actions because the “Lahad Datu escapade,” as she called it, only asserted the sultanate’s rights over what is rightfully theirs.

She said she had been in touch with the sultan’s side of the family since the standoff began but was not in a position to appeal to the sultan to call his followers home.

“We just go for peace. That is their place, they can stay there,” Merriam said.

“To tell you frankly, they didn’t even know the meaning of ‘standoff’… I just don’t know [it went] out of hand. I hope [you’ll accord] us some respect, too,” she said.

She said the Kirams felt “more relaxed and at peace in Sabah than in Sulu.”


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  • rajah_sulaiman

    Are Filipinos Afraid of Malaysia???Malaysia Divided us as A nation:
    They are Rebellion financiers for the  war in Mindanao (MNLF,MILF..for decades now)  waging war against the Philippine government. Now they brokered the MILF and Philippine government peace deal and they instantly become our heroes??? They are hated in poor Indonesia because of landgrabbing SARAWAK in 1963… just like what they did to SABAH….Now our economy is slowly picking up and MALAYSIA again..??? they are thorns in the southeast Asia.
    Malaysia has only 30 million population Filipinos 100 million..and this government gives so much respect respect to landgrabber Malaysia….

  • rajah_sulaiman

    Aquino is a spoiled rich kid.. He gets what he wants just like his sister Kris… but the problem here is that he  does not have the heart to EMPATHIZE  with our Moslem brothers in Mindanao..who grew up Malnourished, starving to death in poverty in war torn Mindanao all because of Malaysias fault by financing MNLF , MILF wage war against the Philippine Government at the expense of their muslim brothers–—to hide the real issue that is SABAH…While we Filipinos are at war killing each other…..  Malaysia bathed in the richness of SABAH while at the same time landgrabbing the poor INDONESIA of SARAWAK, 1963…Malaysians are hated in South East Asia.. Im wondering why the Philippine government gives so much respect to them .. they have only 30 million population Phils has 100 million and we allow ourselves to be bullied???? Malaysia has truly divided us a nation.. simply because we allow them to bully us……

  • rajah_sulaiman

    Aquino is a spoiled rich kid.. He gets what he wants just like his sister Kris… but the problem here is that he  does not have the heart to EMPATHIZE  with our Moslem brothers in Mindanao..who grew up Malnourished, starving to death in poverty in war torn Mindanao all because of Malaysias fault by financing MNLF , MILF wage war against the Philippine Government at the expense of their muslim brothers–—to hide the real issue that is SABAH…While we Filipinos are at war killing each other…..  Malaysia bathed in the richness of SABAH while at the same time landgrabbing the poor INDONESIA of SARAWAK, 1963…Malaysians are hated in South East Asia.. Im wondering why the Philippine government gives so much respect to them .. they have only 30 million population Phils has 100 million and we allow ourselves to be bullied???? Malaysia has truly divided us a nation.. simply because we allow them to bully us……

  • rajah_sulaiman

    Aquino is a spoiled rich kid.. He gets what he wants just like his sister Kris… but the problem here is that he  does not have the heart to EMPATHIZE  with our Moslem brothers in Mindanao..who grew up Malnourished, starving to death in poverty in war torn Mindanao all because of Malaysias fault by financing MNLF , MILF wage war against the Philippine Government at the expense of their muslim brothers–—to hide the real issue that is SABAH…While we Filipinos are at war killing each other…..  Malaysia bathed in the richness of SABAH while at the same time landgrabbing the poor INDONESIA of SARAWAK, 1963…Malaysians are hated in South East Asia.. Im wondering why the Philippine government gives so much respect to them .. they have only 30 million population Phils has 100 million and we allow ourselves to be bullied???? Malaysia has truly divided us a nation.. simply because we allow them to bully us…

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QGZJXIBSWGXO74EKCHOLZJSHZU JunX

    Fact 1

    Part of the deal between GRP-MILF is for the government and MILF
    to indirectly drop its claim to Sabah, by specifically delineating the
    boundaries between Sulu and Sabah, with Sulu becoming part of what they will
    call Bangsamoro. Now you know why Malaysia is the “mediator”, it is to
    protect its own interest in Sabah. It’s not about peace because they actually
    helped some of the rebels train in Sabah and served as “middleman” for smuggled
    weapons..

     

    Fact 2

    As far as the supposedly 1962 “Sabah Referendum” conducted by the
    Cobbold Commission (under British government that is supporting the creation of
    Malaysia), out of 1.2 million people of Sarawak and Sabah the commission only
    met (NOT VOTE) with roughly 4,000 residents of Sarawak and Sabah. Can you really
    call that a referendum? Hence, the governments of the Philippine and Indonesian
    protested when UN assembly recognized the Federation of Malaysia which included
    Sabah.

     

    Fact 3

    The Sultanate of Sulu doesn’t claim the entire Sabah but only part
    of the north to eastern Sabah which are nearest to Palawan and Sulu.

     

    Fact 4

    The government of the Philippines recognizes that Sabah is part of
    Philippine territory as evidenced by Office of the President Memorandum
    Circular No. 162 (08-20-2008) and Republic Act No. 5446 (09-18-1968).

     

    Memorandum Circular No. 162 Guidelines on Matters Pertaining to North
    Borneo (Sabah) (08-20-2008)

    WHEREAS, it is in the national interest to safeguard the country’s
    historical and legal right in North Borneo (Sabah);

    Section 3. Reference to North Borneo (Sabah) in official documents  should not include its being part of a larger
    national/federal territory.

     

    (It means government officials
    and documents are prohibited to identify Sabah as part of Malaysia.)

     

    REPUBLIC ACT NO. 5446 (09-18-1968)

    Section 2. The definition of the baselines of the territorial sea of
    the Philippine Archipelago as provided in this Act is without prejudice to the
    delineation of the baselines of the territorial sea around the territory of
    Sabah, situated in North Borneo, over which the Republic of the Philippines has
    acquired dominion and sovereignty.

     

    (It means the Philippine
    government considers Sabah as part of its territory / sovereignty.)



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