Haiyaa… Si Misuari Wants To Claim North Borneo

Written by Jaxon S on May 31st, 2008 in Uncategorized.

Here’s an interesting and amusing article from the Philippines’ SunStar:

Arinday: Revival of Sabah claim-Misuari’s last gambit?
By G.H. Arinday Jr.

RENEWED rumblings from an erstwhile dormant problem are making some stirrings on the ground with the reported renewal of claim of oil-rich Sabah as part of the Philippines.

And this time, no less than the former chair of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) — Nur Misuari — is leading the movement for the Sultanate of Sulu, which ceded Sabah to the Philippines during the presidency of Diosdado Macapagal.

Malaysia was reported to be furious about the resurrection of the contentious issues which prompted Sabah Progressive Party president Datuk Yong Teck Lee to call Malaysia’s National Security Council to impose stricter laws on Filipinos or suspend the ferry service between Zamboanga City and Sandakan, aside from the immediate preparedness of the Sabah security committee.

The development of the event that bears watching must have been taken up by Nur Misuari when he convened his loyal commanders and followers in Sulu about two weeks ago. Among the prominent Mindanao and Sulu Moro leaders with “princely” origins have expressed surprise on the former MNLF chair’s avowal to revive the country’s claim to the former British North Borneo colony.

Current MNLF secretary-general Muslimin Sena has appealed to ousted MNLF chairman Nur Misuari not “to stir restlessness among the local Muslim leaders”.

It was Sena, who was one of those who helped in the ouster of Misuari as chair of the MNLF but gave the latter an honorary title as “chairman emeritus”, which meant nothing.

However, this time in reviving the claim of Sabah, it is premised on the ownership of territory by the Sultanate of Sulu, which ceded said territory to the Philippines during the administration of Pres. Diosdado Macapagal.

Historically, the Sultanate of Sulu was recognized as a sovereign state in 1457 and encompassed portions of Mindanao in the east to North Borneo to the west and south and Palawan in the north.

Sabah, as it is known today, was a gift from the sultan of Brunei in quelling the rebellion on Kalimtan (Borneo) island with the help of the forces of the Sulu Sultanate.

Let us digress for a moment. Former MNLF chair Nur Misuari is not of the ‘principalia’ born unlike other Moro leaders with royal lineage, hence the title sultan or datu. He is a scholar who fully grasps the problems of his fellows of humble origins.

T.J.S. George, author of ‘Revolt in Mindanao’ (Oxford University Press, 1980) and former editor of the defunct ‘Asiaweek’, in a detailed scholarly work on the Muslims in southern Philippines, found out that among the intellectuals in the island, a great number of them had been conscious of the significance of Turkey.

Under proper guidance, elimination of the exploitative ‘datu’ system, and the use of ‘chotbah’, ‘the Friday sermon’ preaching the values of socio-economic development, the Muslims in Mindanao could be the ‘Turks’ in Southeast Asia with their unique relationship with the dominant Christian population. Brother Nur Misuari is fully aware of this situation-that it is “a change in the systems of organization,” not a replacement of privileged Christian by privileged Muslim” or the “bogey of dismemberment”.

It would not be surprising if the icy diplomatic relations with Malaysia would pose another delicate balancing in our foreign policy as this would be another kink in geopolitics.

The heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu would definitely support Nur Misuari’s initiative in pursuing their claims to recover the vast territory which may go beyond ruffled feelings between Malaysia and the Philippines.

On the other hand, if historical precedence about the lease of said territory by the former colonial power can be firmly established with the sultanate’s heirs receiving the payments until recently, then it would be worth trying to bring the case before the International Court of Justice to forestall any diplomatic row or the possibility of another “flashpoint” in the region.

What is worrisome is that if the descendants of the former subjects of the Sultanate of Sulu would take such claim revival as an article of faith, said territory being an “ancestral domain”. This idea may sound frivolous but the historical basis cannot just be shoved under the rug given the indubitable fact that Abu Bakar ruled Sabah for 30 years as Sultan of Sulu, which ended in 1480.

With his new-found eminence, brother Nur Misuari’s influence among his people in Sulu and nearby areas cannot be taken for granted and the situation in the south may have another dimension where Misuari’s loyalists may adopt another strategy to pursue the claim.

If decision-making would slip out of hands of the national government, the revival of the Sabah claim would be Nur Misuari’s last gambit to maintain his leadership and influence among the Bangsamoro people.

Not a few feel the stirring or rumblings beneath their feet. [Source]

One Response to “Haiyaa… Si Misuari Wants To Claim North Borneo”

  1. mn Says:

    Malaysia is illegally occupying North Borneo(Sabah).
    North Borneo(Sabah) belongs to the Sultanate of Sulu, Philippines!

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