Sulu sultan asserts rights over Sabah
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Publication Date: 01-02-2009
The Sultanate of Sulu on Saturday declared it would assert its
property rights over Sabah (formerly North Borneo) regardless of the
unresolved territorial dispute between the Philippines and Malaysia.
Sultan Esmail Dalus Kiram II said he had entered into an agreement
with foreign companies to develop Sabah, especially its oil and gas,
to press his proprietary rights.
In a speech at the Manila Pavilion Hotel in Manila, the sultan said,
"I am getting old and the wait is too long and so I decided to sign
a development contract with some legitimate foreign companies to
develop our property."
He said he had sent copies of the contract to the Malaysian prime
minister to inform him "that we mean to exercise our rights as
stipulated by the British high court of Borneo (in 1939)."
Sabah was leased to the British North Borneo Co. in 1878 by the
Sultanate of Sulu but it was made part of the Federation of Malaysia
in 1963 after the British granted it independence.
The Philippines' pending claim to Sabah is dormant at this time but
Kuala Lumpur continues to pay yearly rent to the sultan.
The sultan's son and royal commerce secretary, Abdula Kiram,
explained that "we will exercise ownership regardless of which
government owns [Sabah]."
He said they will not question the sovereignty issue because it is
The younger Kiram lamented the measly $1,000 Malaysia pays in annual
rent for Sabah compared to the $10-12 billion annual income the
territory generates for the Malaysian government.
In the same forum, the sultan said they will tap private security
agencies to maintain law and order in Sulu.
He said, "The Sultan of Sulu and North Borneo (Sabah) has decided to
tap quasi-government security and peacekeeping agencies to foil any
attempt of terrorist and kidnap groups to use the sultanate regions
in their continued kidnap for ransom activities."
He added that the "lawless groups using the regions of Sulu in
sowing terror send a negative signal to would-be investors in the