Anifah Aman Tommy Thomas Shafie Apdal Sabah Sultan Sulu Philippines claims demands
Datuk Seri Anifah Aman

 KUALA LUMPUR – Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal and Tan Sri Tommy Thomas were allegedly inexperienced on the issues surrounding the sovereignty of Sabah thus, causing trouble to the country.

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said that their lack of experience encouraged the Philippines to be more daring in making claims on Sabah for the past two years.

According to him, Malaysia never recognised and will never entertain any demands by anyone on Sabah as the state is recognised by the United Nations (UN) and international community as a part of Malaysia since the formation of the Federation on 16 September 1963.

In 1963, the people of Sabah had chosen to form Malaysia and not to be a part of Philippines, he explained.

“When I was the Foreign Minister, the Philippines was never this audacious. Their audacity emerged as the interim Chief Minister of Sabah (Shafie) two years ago acknowledged the claims and wanted to discuss and negotiate with the Philippines. This automatically acknowledged their demands. My approach, which was always the right approach was to never recognise any claims,” he said in a statement today.

In that lengthy media statement, Anifah explained that Sabah, which is also known as North Borneo before it joined the Federation of Malaysia in 1963, was part of the Sultanate of Brunei in the 15th Century.

In 1704, the Sultan of Brunei surrendered the land in the east of Marudu Bay to Sultan of Sulu, meanwhile, the western coast remained under his ruling.

On 22 January 1878, Paduca Majasari Maulana, Sultan Jalalul Alam, the Sultan of Sulu sealed a deal with Baron de Overback and Alfred Dent from the British North Borneo Company. In 1946, the company handed the territory to British as it could not rebuild the devastated state after the Japanese war.

Anifah said, according to the documents in the British Archive, the 1878 Agreement between the Sultan of Sulu and Baron de Overback stated that the Sultan surrendered the territory of North Borneo indefinitely.

Under the agreement, the heirs and successors of the Sultan could receive five thousand Mexico pesos every year and accrued from the additional letter in 1903, an additional 300 (Mexican pesos) would be granted every year. With that, the annual payment was 5,300 Mexican pesos.

Sultan Jamarul Alam passed away in 1881 and he was succeeded by his son, Badrudi Din who died in 1884.

After the Spanish Government meddled and appointed the unpopular Sultan Datu Harun ar-Rashid in 1886, there was a huge riot and in 1894, his successor, Sultan Jamalul Kiram who was recognised by the Spanish Government took over until his demise in 1936. He enjoyed the monies paid to him stated in the terms under Act 1878 and 1903.

In November 1919, Sultan Jamalul Kiram had a will on the disposal of his wealth and assets in the Philippines, Borneo and Singapore, and named his niece, Dayang-dayang Hadji Piandano Kiram as the successor for half of his wealth and the other half of his wealth was divided between his two other nieces, Putli Tarhata Kiram and Putli Sakirnur-in Kiram. Sultan Jalalul Kiram passed away in 1936 and they payments stopped as he had no heir.

The death of Sultan Jamalul Kiram raised confusion.

Firstly, the Government of Philippines no longer recognised the title Sultan or the nature of the post on anyone recognised by the people of Sulu as their Sultan or any prerogative enjoyed by the late Sultan Jamalul Kiram. Secondly, the complications extended to the cession money.

Finally, in the judgement made by Judge C.F. Macaskie, the Chief Justice of the Borneo High Court on 18 December 1938, nine individuals had the rights to get the cession money, including the three nieces mentioned in the will of Sultan Jamalul Kiram.

According to Anifah, the Government of Malaysia paid the cession money every year to the heirs of the Sulu Sultanate since 1968.

Based on the judgement of Macaskie, there were nine heirs. They have all died and the cession money to the nine original heirs have been taken over by their administrators.

Anifah added, by the end of the 1990’s there were efforts from the Philippines to reunite the heirs of Sulu in that area over the claims. The movement was to portray as if they were united and moved on the same platform while dealing with the Government of Aquino and discussing with the Government of Malaysia over their claims.

However, it could not be concluded if the efforts were driven by the financial attraction as the settlement claims involved a huge sum of money.

The emergence of various parties, claiming to be the Sultan of Sulu was produced by misinformation and misinterpretation on the misappropriated claims. The fake Sultans believed that all wealth and claims would belong to them. -MalaysiaGazette

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