After 45 years, the contentious sovereignty and proprietary claim over Sabah is again splattered with
blood. This time the bloodshed is within Sabah unlike the March 18, 1968 Jabidah Massacre in the island
By official estimate around 28- 60 young Tausug and Sama men of the unit called Jabidah, recruited for
the secret mission called Operation Merdeka, were machine-gunned by their military handlers when
they attempted mutiny after finding out the real objective of the operation. The young men were from
Tawi-Tawi and Sulu provinces.
The young Muslims believed they were legitimate military recruits for a special unit of the Armed Forces
of the Philippines. They underwent training in the island of Simunul, Tawi-Tawi from August- December
1967. They were transferred later to Corregidor Island for “special training”.
Operation Merdeka, hatched by the former president and dictator Ferdinand Marcos, was an infiltration
mission to sow chaos in Sabah which at that time was barely 5 years since joining the Federation of
Malaysia. Malaysia was unstable at that time after Singapore seceded in 1965. The Philippines, which
was then stronger than Malaysia, would take advantage of the situation to force its claim over Sabah.
The scenario: the Philippines could then come in and take Sabah by force, to “protect” the
thousands of Tausugs who lived there or incite them to secede and join the Philippines.1
The young recruits could not bear the thought of killing their own Muslim brothers, kindred and friends
living in Sabah. They became restive. But Operation Merdeka must be kept secret; the young recruits
had to be silenced forever. But one was able to escape the carnage2 in the night of March 18. Jibin Arula
was able to reach the sea and found a wooden plank to cling on until he was found by fishermen from
nearby Cavite in the morning. He told the story to media people and to the late Sen. Benigno Aquino II.
Fast forward 45 years: A band of around 200 fighters of the “Royal Security Force (RSF)” of the
“Sultanate of Sulu and Sabah” under the command of “Raja Mudah” Agbimuddin Kiram, brother of self-
proclaimed Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, sailed from Simunul, Tawi-tawi and landed in Lahad Datu, Sabah
to “reclaim” their land from Malaysia. The tense stand-off between Malaysian security forces and the
“Royal Army” from February 10 erupted into gun battle on March 1, 2013.
The “Royal Army” fighters are now being hunted by Malaysian forces. Until March 13 Malaysian
authorities reported that 67 have been killed, including 9 Malaysian policemen and soldier and 58
Filipinos, while 97 suspected “Royal Security Force” fighters have been arrested.
Malaysian authorities found an excuse to further harass Filipino residents and migrants in Sabah.
Thousands of Filipinos have fled back to Tawi-Tawi and Sulu. They bring with them harrowing news
of violations of human rights of Filipino migrants and also of Sabahans, including alleged killings of
unarmed and hapless Filipino men by Malaysian policemen.
The P-Noy government has condemned the reported violations of human rights of Filipinos by Malaysian
authorities and demanded an explanation. Earlier UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon has issued an
appeal for cessation of hostilities. Lately, Malaysia denied the alleged human rights violations.
Context of Conflicts over the Sabah Claim
Filipino and Malaysian bloods are now being shed in the conflict that is rooted on likewise conflicting
historical and legal claims of sovereignty, jurisdiction and ownership over a territory with an area of
73,711 square kilometers (7,371,100 hectares).
Sabah, part of the territory of Malaysia from 1963, is a land rich in oil. It has oil and gas reserves as big
as Kuwait’s. It produces 70% of the total Malaysian oil production and contributes US$100 billion to the
country’s GDP. It also has huge deposits of other minerals such as coal, gold, and copper.
The Sabah question and the issues of sovereign and proprietary rights of the “Sultanate of Sulu” over it
should be viewed in the context of the formation of Malaysia and the Philippines as nation-states. Both
countries were former colonies of Western powers.
The states that form Malaysia now were former colonial possessions of the British Empire from the late
18th century until 1957 and 1963. The former Federation of Malaya, consisting of the states in the Malay
Peninsula, was granted independence by Britain in 1957. The Federation of Malaysia or Malaysia was
formed upon the inclusion of newly “independent” former British Crown Colonies of Sabah, Sarawak
and Singapore on September 16, 1963. (Singapore seceded in 1965.)
For over 300 years (1565-1898) the Philippines was a colony of Spain and later of the imperialist United
States of America (1898-1946). The Philippines, including the Sulu archipelago, was turned over by Spain
to the US for a sum of $20M as provided by the 1898 Treaty of Paris.
Another treaty (Cession Treaty) was signed between Spain and the US in 1900. The purpose was for
Spain to relinquish in favor of the US, “any title or claim of title to any and all islands belonging to the
Philippine Archipelago, lying outside the lines described in Article III of that Treaty (1898 Treaty of Paris)
and particularly to the islands of Cagayan de Sulu (presently the island municipality of Mapun3, Tawi-
Tawi) and Sibutu and their dependencies. Spain was paid an additional $100,000 for the said cession.
Then in November 1930 the US and Great Britain signed the Boundaries Treaty delimiting or delineating
the boundaries between North Borneo, which was then a British Protectorate being administered by
the British North Borneo Company and the Philippines, then a US territory. The agreement defined theislands belonging to the US, which was the sovereign power over the Philippines and those belonging to
British Protectorate North Borneo. Particular matters of concern were Turtle and Mangsee Islands.
The Philippines was granted “independence” by the US on July 4, 1946. The Philippine Territory, as
defined by the 1935 Constitution, comprised the areas covered by the aforementioned treaties.
But there were also events in 1946 that highlighted the Sabah question.
In 1946, the British North Borneo Company transferred all its rights and obligations to the British
Crown. The Crown, on July 10, 1946 — just six days after Philippine independence — asserted
full sovereign rights over North Borneo, as of that date. Shortly thereafter former American
Governor General Harrison, then Special Adviser to the Philippine Government on Foreign Affairs,
denounced the Cession Order as a unilateral act in violation of legal rights.4
The first time the Philippine government officially asserted its claim over Sabah was on June 22, 1962
when, then President Diosdado Macapagal filed it to the United Nations. The claims were of sovereignty,
jurisdiction and proprietary ownership over North Borneo.
Following this, then Sultan Muhammad Esmail Kiram I “officially transferred the sultanate’s authority
and sovereignty to the Philippines on September 12, 1962 through a written instrument signed by
himself and Foreign Affairs Secretary Emmanuel Pelaez. The transfer was authorized by a resolution
passed by the Ruma Bichara (ruling council). He thus gave up the Sulu sultanate’s sovereign rights to
Sabah to the government, but retained proprietary rights over the same.” 5 (Said authorization has either
lapsed or was withdrawn in 1989.)
The 1962 formal claim was not given due consideration as recent historical facts show. On September
16, 1963, Sabah (along with Sarawak and Singapore) was officially incorporated as part of the Federation
of Malaysia after an “alleged referendum showing that the residents did not want to be part of the
Philippines or of the Sultanate of Sulu”6.
Philippine-Malaysian relations have been intermittently marred by the dispute over Sabah. The
Philippines (and Indonesia) deferred recognition of the Federation of Malaysia. Philippine-Malaysian
diplomatic relations were established on May 18, 1964 by the creation of a consulate in Kuala Lumpur.
Following the Operation Merdeka exposé, talks between Malaysia and the Philippines on the issue of
Sabah broke down. Malaysia rejected the Philippine claim over Sabah on July 16, 1968 stating it is “non-
issue” as the actual people of Sabah do not desire to be part of the Philippines or the Sultanate of Sulu.
In response the Philippines broke diplomatic relations with Malaysia on July 20, 1968.
The year 1968 was the most critical in Philippine-Malaysian relations. They were almost in the brink of
war after the Philippine Congress approved, on August 28, 1968, Senate Bill No. 954 and was signed
into law-- RA 5446 -- on September 18 by Ferdinand Marcos. RA 5446 delineates the baselines of the
Philippines and provides that “the territory of Sabah, situated in North Borneo, over which the Republic
of the Philippines has acquired dominion and sovereignty.”
Stakeholders, principally Britain and the United States both frustrated the Philippines’ claim over Sabah.
On the day the Senate Bill was passed, Admiral Michael Carver, Commander-in-Chief of the British forces
in the Far East said his troops, ships and planes “stand squarely behind Malaysia in the growing crises
with the Philippines over Northern Sabah.”
When RA 5546 was signed, US State Department Press Officer Robert J. McCloskey said, the U.S.
recognized the ownership of Malaysia over Sabah.8
Diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Malaysia were restored in December 1969.
Historical and legal records about the Sulu Sultanate and the Sabah issue
Historically, it was the Sultanate of Sulu which had sovereign and ownership rights over Sabah. But the
circumstances of the times— colonialism by western powers over the greater part of Southeast Asia 9--
muddled and shrouded the Sulu Sultanate’s sovereign and proprietary rights over Sabah.
The Sultanate of Sulu was founded in 1457. At its peak, its territory included the Sulu archipelago
(covering the provinces of Sulu and Tawi-tawi), North Borneo or the present Sabah, Basilan, southern
Palawan and Sambangan, roughly equivalent to the present territory of Zamboanga City, the western
portions of the Zamboanga peninsula, and the Spratly islands.
In 1658, (1704 in other accounts) Brunei Sultan Abdul Hakkul Mubin awarded the northeast coast of
Borneo (Sabah), including Palawan, to Sulu Sultan Salah ud-Din Karamat Bakhtiar for helping settle a civil
war dispute against Pengiran Bongsu Muhyuddinin10.
Brunei Sultan Bongsu Muhyuddin, upon ascending to the throne in 1673, confirms the Sultan of Sulu as
sovereign landowner of the territories of North Borneo/Sabah and the island of Palawan. 11
These happened in the historical circumstance when the concepts of democracy, self-determination and
nation-state were still far from human thoughts and practice, especially in Asia. The Western Colonial
powers at that time—Spain and Portugal and the emerging Great Britain and Netherlands were in either
absolute or constitutional monarchies.
“In 1763 (1761) Sultan Azimuddin signed a treaty allowing the British East Indies Co. to use Sabah and
other territories. Tensions later developed between the sultan and the company, which prevented the
effective implementation of the treaty. More than a hundred years later on January 22, 1878, Baron
Gustavos von Overbeck of the British East India Trading Co. entered into a lease agreement or padjak
with Sultan Jamalul Alam. This company was later absorbed by the British North Borneo Co.” 12
The Sabah conflict on ownership arose from the interpretation of the word padjak or pajak in the
January 1878 contract signed between Sultan Mohammed Jamalul Alam, representing the Sultanate,
as “owner and sovereign” and Baron Gustavos von Overbeck and Alfred Dent, representing the British
East India Company as the “lessee” of North Borneo. The lease would be paid on annual basis in 5,000
In the same occasion the Sultan “appointed” Baron von Overbeck as Datu Bandahara (Bandjava) and
Rajah of Sandakan.
The interpretation of the word pajak or padjak is the bone of contention with regards the
proprietary ownership of North Borneo. The British version of the contract is translated as “ …
hereby grant and cede… all the territories and lands being tributary to us on the mainland of the
island of Borneo…”
On the other hand, the Sulu Sultanate’s version states: “…do hereby lease of our own freewill…
forever and until the end of time, all rights and powers which we possess over all territories and
lands tributary to us on the mainland of the Island of Borneo…”
The best evidence of that time attesting the deed was a contract of lease and not of grant and
cede, is the Spanish translation done on July 13, 1878 which states: Contrato de Arrendo (or
Arrendamiento) which translates as “contract of lease”.
In a letter of Sultan Jamalul Alam to the Spanish Governor Captain-General dated July 4, 1878,
he denied what appeared in Singapore newspapers that, “I have ceded Sandakan to Overbeck…
is not true”. In the same letter the Sultan stated: “As for his title of Datto Bandjava, it did not
come from me; it was he who claimed the title, because, he said, that as Sandakan had been
granted to him he was the Datto of it; it was he who arranged about his title, and he had the
contract written; therefore, nothing of what they have stated since is true, nor have I ceded it
to him without payment of rent; 5,000 dollars a year would be given. We consented for two
reasons: (1) because he reported to us that the Captain-General would destroy everything; and
(2) because the people of Borneo would take possession of Sandakan, and we should not be able
to prevent it, on account of the Captain-General coming.”13
Long afterwards on April 22, 1903, Sultan Jamalul Kiram II signed with the Government of British North
Borneo a Confirmatory Deed whereby the islands of North Borneo, which were not identified in the
January 22, 1878 contract with Baron Gustavos von Overbeck and Alfred Dent, had in fact been always
understood to be included therein. A bracketed clause in the deed state: Cession money, 300 dollars a
year. Arrears for past occupation 3,200 dollars14.
This confirmatory deed is one of the arguments against the Sulu Sultanate’s sovereign and proprietary
rights over Sabah.
The other source of legal conflict is the Treaty of Peace and Capitulation signed by the Sultan of Sulu and
Spain on July 22, 1878. In this agreement the Sultan of Sulu “relinquished” to Spain “his sovereign rights
over all his possessions”. The contention is whether “all his possessions” include North Borneo.
After the 1878 contract was signed with the Sultan, Alfred Dent organized the British North Borneo
Company (BNBC) and bought out Overbeck and transferred his right to BNBC. BNBC also applied
for Royal Charter which was granted by Britain in 1881. Spain and Netherlands (the colonizer then
of Indonesia) protested. In response Britain, through a letter by Foreign Minister Lord Earl Graville,
disclaimed any intention to assume dominion or sovereignty over North Borneo. He categorically stated
that, “the sovereignty remains vested in the Sultan”.15
Then on the March 7, 1885 the Madrid Protocol was signed by Spain, Britain and Germany. Article III of
the protocol states:
The Spanish government renounces, as far as regards the British Government, all claims
of sovereignty over the territories of the continent of Borneo, which belong, or which have
belonged in the past to the Sultan of Sulu (Jolo), and which comprise the neighboring islands
of Balambangan, Banguey, and Malawali, as well as those comprised within a zone of three
leagues from the coast, and which form part of the territories administered by the Company
styled the “British North Borneo Company.”16
The 1885 Madrid Protocol implied that sovereignty over North Borneo remains with the Sultan
While civil war was ongoing in Sulu, on May 12, 1888, the “State of North Borneo” was made a British
Protectorate. An agreement between the British North Borneo Company and Great Britain; British
Government admits the North Borneo Company derived its rights and powers to govern the territory. 17
(The North Borneo Company is a chartered company.)
The 1878 Treaty of Peace and Capitulation was the last treaty that the Sulu Sultanate entered into under
Spanish Colonial rule. The treaty allowed Spain to set up a fort in Jolo. Outside the garrison the real
power was the Sultan. But there were flaws in the translation of the Treaty of Peace that would have
implications in the turn-over of the Philippines to the US in 1898. “The Spanish version states that Spain
had sovereignty over Sulu, whereas the Tausug version describes a protectorate relationship rather than
a dependency of Spain”18.
In 1898, a new world power, the United States of America, took over the Philippines while the Filipino
people were waging a revolutionary war of independence from Spain. The Filipino-American War broke-
out in February 1899 and because US troops were tied-down in Luzon it was only in May 1899 when
American soldiers were sent to Sulu to take over the former Spanish fort in Jolo. 19
Final years of the Sultanate of Sulu
Under direct American rule, the Sultan of Sulu was steadily divested of sovereign power. When the
American soldiers, under the command of Gen. John Bates arrived in Sulu, they told Sultan Jamalul
Kiram II that the US has taken over the affairs of Spain and asked him to recognize the US in place of
Spain and respect the Peace and Capitulation Treaty the Sultanate signed with Spain. The sultan refusedsince the US was a different entity. The US should enter into a different treaty with the Sultanate. 20
The new treaty was the Bates- Sultan Kiram II Agreement signed on August 20, 1899. For several
months, Sultan Kiram II resisted but could not get unanimous support from his ruma bichara that was
wracked by internal dissension. Finally he was prevailed upon by his prime minister and chief adviser
Hadji Butu and two top-ranking datus-- Datu Joakanain and Datu Kalbi.21
Just like the early agreements that the Sultanate entered, article I of Bates-Kiram II Treaty is muddled
in varied versions. The American version states-- The sovereignty of the United States over the whole
Archipelago of Jolo, and its dependencies, is declared and acknowledged. The Tausug version says-- "The
support, aid, and protection of the Jolo Island and Archipelago are in the American nation."
Mistranslated or not, the wordings of the treaty provided the justification for the U.S. decision to
incorporate the Sulu Archipelago into the Philippine state in 1946. 22 The treaty was unilaterally
abrogated by the US in March 1904, almost two years after the formal end of the Filipino-American
War23. But the lasting effect of the treaty is the divestment of the sultan of his sovereign powers.
Finally, the Carpenter-Kiram II Agreement was signed at the height of the Moro Pacification Campaign of
the US and after the massacre of more than 2,000 Moros by American soldiers under the command of
Gen. John Pershing in Bud Bagsak from June 11-13, 1913.
The agreement, a memorandum of understanding, was signed and issued on March 22, 1915. Following
the abrogation in 1904 of the Kiram II-Bates Treaty, the Carpenter-Kiram II agreement is a re-affirmation
of US sovereignty over the Philippines, including the Sulu Archipelago, and it’s recognition by the Sultan.
On the other hand, the US recognizes the Sultan as the titular spiritual head of the Islamic Church 24 in
the Sulu Archipelago. This agreement effectively dissolved the Sultanate of Sulu.
Oddly, on March 3, 2013, newspapers reported that Sultan Jamalul Kiram III is considering seeking US
intercession in the Sabah dispute by invoking the Carpenter-Kiram II Agreement. Whether his memory
is failing him or he is referring to an unknown version (perhaps his version), the agreement has served
its purpose and nowhere in it can be found what Kiram III said as “full protection to the sultan of Sulu
should the question of Sabah arise in the future between the sultanate and any foreign authority” (sic).
What the pretender to the title of sultan is referring to is Article XIII of Kiram II- Bates Treaty of 1899
which was abrogated in 1904. Nevertheless, it neither mentioned Sabah nor North Borneo.
Royal House of Sulu: A divided house
The Macaskie dictum of 1939
Sultan Jamalul Kiram II, who was childless, died in 1936. The heirs of Sultan Jamalul Kiram filed a suit
in the court of Borneo in 1939 for the purpose of collecting the money due to them under the 1878
Deed of Lease (or Grant). The issue before the court was the identity of the heirs of the sultan whowere entitled to receive payments after his death. Through their attorney, they had the only English
translation by Maxwell and Gibson (that translated the Contract of 1878 as “cession” instead of lease).
At the time the lawyer of the heirs filed the case, he had no original copy of the contract. The said
translation was the one used, quoted, and paraphrased in the complaint filed by the attorney for the
heirs. In the judgment, the Contract of 1878 was viewed as a permanent cession or sale, and that the
money that is to be paid to the heirs is “cession money.”25
The 1939 decision by Chief Justice C.F.C. Macaskie of the High Court of North Borneo, as per the petition
of the heirs of Sultan Kiram II, recognized the heirs and their corresponding share of the money. Dayang-
Dayang (Princess) Hadji Piandao Kiram was acknowledged as the major share-holder with 3/8 share.
Princess Tarhata Kiram and Princess Sakinur-In Kiram were to each have a 3/16 share. The six other heirs
who went to Macaskie’s court were awarded 1/24 share apiece: Mora Napsa, Sultan Esmail Kiram, Datu
Punjungan, Sitti Mariam, Sitti Jahara and Sitti Rada.26
All the principal heirs are now dead. Presently there are probably a thousand heirs of the principal heirs.
Dayang-dayang Hadji Piandao Kiram, the niece of Kiram II whom he adopted, is childless. Her cousins,
nieces and nephews would divide among themselves her 3/8 share.27
The Royal Protocols of Sulu (described as the “bedrock on which the edifice of royalty is built”) stipulates
that there are three families of heirs, the Kirams, the Sharikaullahs and Adindas. But even within each
family, agreeing on the legitimate sultan has become very elusive. The sultanate’s leadership has been
wracked by internal power struggles. “Sultan” Mohammad Fuad A. Kiram has time and again accused his
other cousins and relatives, including Jamalul Kiram III, (the most recent self-proclaimed sultan) as being
simply impostors and pretenders.
Since 1936, the “Sulu Sultanate”, which is presently properly referred to as the Royal House of Sulu, has
the most number of charlatan sultans in the world (with a current 60 claimants to the title).
A significant matter regarding the Sabah stand-off is the PNoy government’s admission that the
Philippine claim on Sabah “remains dormant”. It so and has been since the “Operation Merdeka”
The Philippines does not maintain consular offices in Sabah for if there would be in Kota Kinabalu or
Sadakan could mean the country has abandoned its claim over the territory of Malaysia. But this has
been the subject of several talks between Philippine and Malaysian officials. The latest was when the
Malaysian House Speaker Pandikar Amin Haji Mulia brought this up during his courtesy call to President
Noynoy Aquino in April 2012.
Reviving the Sabah claim or falling into the pit of Malaysian politics?
The long historical context of the Sabah issue provides a backdrop in understanding the present events
in Sabah and in the house of Jamalul Kiram III.
Whether the armed adventure of the “Royal Army” of “Sultan” Jamalul Kiram III and his “raja mudha”
brother is a product of a “conspiracy” timed to coincide with the completion of the Transition
Commission for the Bangsamoro entity and the Philippine and Malaysian elections, is worth scrutiny.Nevertheless, it revived the issue of Sabah claim though more on the negative than positive light. The
claim is made illegitimate by the action taken by the “RSF” and “Sultan” Jamalul Kiram and his “raja
mudha” brother and further gave moral basis for Malaysia to demand that the Philippines renounce its
Malaysia has moral grounds as far as settling territorial dispute. It should be recalled that in 2002,
Malaysia got a favorable decision from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on sovereignty dispute
with Indonesia over the islands of Sipadan and Ligitan.
Malaysia has at least 50 years advantage over Sabah. Whether the referendum in 1963 is truthful or
not it is a continuing fact that the people of Sabah are continuously affirming their status as Malaysian
citizens, participating in political exercises as in electing their federal state government and other
political, economic and cultural activities in accordance with the constitution and laws of Malaysia.
But we would fall into wild speculations if we overreach our studies and imaginations beyond the
present realities. Nonetheless it is possible and probable that the action by the band of “RSF” of Jamalul
Kiram III is not totally their own. There could possibly be other interested parties that could have
supported and facilitated this adventurist move.
It is even possible that Jamalul Kiram III and his “RSF” are victims of Malaysian politics. There were
rumors circulating inside and outside Malaysia which also came out in certain news reports linking
oppositionist Anwar Ibrahim and his political party or coalition (Pakatan Rakyat) to the “intruders”.
On the other hand the opposition is blaming the ruling UMNO/BN (United Malays National
Organization/Barisan Nasional), which has held power in Malaysia for over 5028 years now, for the
alleged Project IC (Identity Cards) which is among the factors that led followers of Sultan Jamalul Kiram
III to “invade” Sabah.29
Allegedly, Project IC is the systematic granting of citizenship to foreigners in the past 20 years was
crafted under former PM Mahathir. It was alleged that Mahathir, who headed Malaysia from 1981 to
2003, devised the scheme to alter the demographic pattern of Sabah to make it more favorable to the
ruling government and certain political parties. The former PM has denied the “phantom project” ever
existed. However, he admitted that Filipino immigrants were granted citizenship in Sabah, but insisted
that everything was done legally.
On Jan 14, or just two weeks prior to the “sultanate army’s” incursion of Sabah, the Royal Commission of
Inquiry (RCI) began its hearings on Project IC.
The same news article said; “Majority, if not all, of the 800,000 Filipinos based in Sabah may be sent
back to the Philippines on the premise that they had acquired their Malaysian citizenship illegally over
the past 20 years under a controversial systematic granting of citizenship to foreigners dubbed Project IC
According to some observers, the skirmishes between Malaysian security forces and followers of
Kiram may result in two possible scenarios: it could hamper the ongoing RCI investigation and save
hundreds of thousands of “illegal” identity card holders from early deportation; or it may speed up the
process, especially since Sabah-based Filipinos are now returning to Tawi-Tawi and Sulu provinces by the
hundreds daily.Malaysian news reports quoted former Dewan Rakyat senator and state assemblyman Chong Eng Leong
as saying that in 2012, there were 700,000 “Project IC citizens” and that 200,000 of them are on the
state electoral list.
The Malaysian opposition leaders, as verified by their statements, are confident they will defeat UMNO/
BN in the coming June elections in Malaysia. After all, the alleged “ethnic cleansing” in Sabah, suspected
by certain Sulu datus reacting to the exodus of Filipinos from Sabah, is actually “voters list cleansing”.
In another news report, the notorious Nur Misuari claimed, he heard in Jolo that “Raja Mudah”
Agbimuddin Kiram and his group crossed the sea because they were allegedly promised to be settled in
Sabah by Malaysian Prime Minister Dato Seri Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Addul Razak.31
Possible US involvement
It is no secret that the US is considering the option of an independent Sabah and Sulu should its
objectives and interests in the Bangsamoro Entity and the earlier BJE (Bangsamoro Juridical Entity) are
frustrated. It is not remote to suspect that US has, at least, indirect hand in the armed incursion in Sabah
by Jamalul Kiram III’s “RSF”.
It is also not far-fetched to suspect that the US is somehow involved in the quest of the Malaysian
opposition to wrest power from UMNO/BN, especially in Sabah, in the coming Malaysian elections. (The
US is well at ease and confident with the PNoy government.)
UMNO/BN, particularly one of its leaders, Mahathir Mohammad, the acknowledged prime minister who
brought Malaysia to progress, was a staunch opponent and critic of US led IMF-WB’s neo-liberal design.
Under UMNO/BN, Malaysia rejected a US proposal for a sort of military access and basing arrangement.
It is public knowledge that the real reason behind Anwar Ibrahim’s ouster as Malaysia’s deputy prime
minister in 1998 was his sponsorship of neo-liberal policies. After 10-year ban from running for any
government post, Anwar Ibrahim made his comeback into Malaysian politics by winning a seat in Dewan
Rakyat32 in the Permatang Pauh by-election33 in August 2008. The sodomy charge against him was
dismissed in 2012.
The Wall Street is “overtly supporting
Malaysia’s opposition”. Many suspect Anwar Ibrahim’s
opposition party is at least partly responsible for instigating the incursion. Anwar has spent a lifetime
in the service of Western interests. He was chairman of the Development Committee of the World Bank
and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1998, held lecturing positions at the School of Advanced
International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, was a consultant to the World Bank, and a panelist at
the National Endowment for Democracy.
A meeting took place between Anwar and former MNLF leaders several months ago. Wikileaks’ exposé
of 2007, “Corridors of Power”, described Malaysian opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim as an old friend
of Misuari. Manila Times Mindanao correspondent Al Jacinto states that “the intrusion occurred just as
former Malaysian leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, also de facto leader of Pakatan Rakyat, proposed
that Sabah be granted autonomy.”
The same Wikileaks exposé stated that Misuari was a strong advocate for the recovery of Sabah from
Malaysia. Misuari once commented to former Major General Benjamin Dolorfino that, “when the timing