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Newest sultan of Sulu causes stir in Malaysia

First Posted 05:48:00 02/28/2011

MANILA, Philippines?The ?coronation? of a new claimant to the Sultanate of Sulu and the establishment of an ?interim government? for parts of west Malaysia and southwestern Philippines is reportedly causing a stir in Malaysia.

Diplomatic sources told the Inquirer that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) was expecting an inquiry from the Malaysian embassy about the identity of Datu Mohammad Akjan bin Datu Ali Muhammad, who was reportedly crowned Sultan of Sulu and Sabah on Feb. 2 in Kampung Likas, Kota Kinabalu.

?In fact, we?ve heard that there have been informal inquiries by agents of Kuala Lumpur and the Sabah state government about the identity of Akjan.

They want to know if his supporters come from the Philippines,? said the DFA official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, because he was not authorized to speak on the matter.

Unlike other claimants to the sultanate, Akjan claims to be a Malaysian citizen. He recently resigned as a member of the ruling party United Malays National Organization. He is said to be a businessman involved in construction, transportation and motor oil distribution.

?This is a unique situation, because he?ll be the only Malaysian claimant. However, there?s a probability that he has both Malaysian and Philippine citizenship,? added the source.

The ?prime minister? of the ?interim government,? Datu Albi Ahmad Julkarnain, issued a statement saying that Akjan became Sulu?s 33rd sultan after taking his oath in front of 60 witnesses, including ?senior officials? of the sultanate. Among the officials were two ?assistant deputy prime ministers??one for Tawi-Tawi and the other for west Malaysia.

Akjan was quoted as saying in his acceptance speech that he would restore the independence of the sultanate and return control of its natural resources to its inhabitants.

Albi, for his part, demanded that ?foreign? governments withdraw from the territories claimed by the Sultunate, which include Sulu, Sabah, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, the Zamboanga Peninsula, Palawan and the Spratlys.

He was also quoted as saying that he was ?readying legal documents to be filed with the United Nations.?

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