Once more, the Sabah claim
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
There may be some people, countries even, who may have considered the sudden “invasion” of Sabah led by Sultan Jamalul Kiram III as a foolish caper, but delving into the history of the area would confirm that, indeed, the man has historical records to prove his claim to it.
It made local headlines and some notice from the international media when Sultan Kiram and his group crossed to Lahad Datu town in Sabah, and insisted they were laying claims to land that belonged to their ancestors.
Nur Misuari, head of the Moro National Liberation Front, admitted that Sultan Kiram III and his group belonged to the MNLF, but confirmed that he had not authorized either their claim or their entry into Sabah.
But was Sultan Kiram’s decision to cross over to Malaysian territory totally lacking in legitimacy? Historical records would show that the Sabah issue had been a nagging one for several administrations now. Such records also show that the territory really belonged to the sultans of Sulu to whom it was ceded by North Borneo, and was leased to a British company that paid rentals until 1936, according to reports from the Daily Inquirer Archives.
The payments stopped when President Manuel Quezon did not recognize the sultan who succeeded Kiram I, but when the crown prince demanded for payments from the British consulate and filed a case in North Borneo, the court ordered the resumption of payments.
Such records, as also published in the Inquirer, would apparently justify the claims of Sultan Kiram III, and he is to be lauded for his courage in demanding now the land that, history would show, truly belongs to this country and is part of it.
He obviously has the right to call the area “home”, and one cannot fault him for declaring that he and his men will stay put there, and are ready to give their lives if need be.*