Should the Philippines take back Sabah?

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Sabah is one of 13 member states of Malaysia, and is its easternmost state. It is located on the northern portion of the island of Borneo. It is the second largest state in the country after Sarawak, which it borders on its southwest. It also shares a land border with the province of East Kalimantan of Indonesia in the south and maritime border with Palawan and Mindanao of the Philippines in the north and northeast and the disputed Spratly Islands in the northwest. In spite of its status as a Malaysian state, Sabah remains a disputed territory; the Philippines has a dormant claim over much of the eastern part of the territory. The capital of Sabah is Kota Kinabalu, formerly known as Jesselton. Sabah is often referred to as "Land Below The Wind", a phrase used by seafarers in the past to describe lands south of the typhoon belt.

Philippine Claim

The Sultanate of Sulu was granted the north-eastern part of the territory as a prize for helping the Sultan of Brunei against his enemies and from then on that part of Borneo was recognised as part of the Sultan of Sulu's sovereignty. In 1878, Baron Von Overbeck, an Austrian partner representing The British North Borneo Company and his British partner Alfred Dent, leased the territory of Sabah. In return, the company was to provide arms to the Sultan to resist the Spaniards and 5,000 Malayan dollars annual rental based on the Mexican dollar's value at that time or its equivalent in gold. This lease was continued until the independence and formation of the Malaysian federation in 1963 together with Singapore, Sarawak and the states of Malaya.

Sabah did not join Malaysia according to Yong Teck Lee in his statement , it was included without the consent of the owner , the Royal Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo Kingdom. Sabah is now being administered by Malaysia since the Royal Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo kingdom is now only a traditional government not political.


-Deed of the Sabbah Lease-
As of 2004, the Malaysian Embassy to the Philippines had been paying cession/rental money amounting to US$1,500 per year (about 6,300 Malaysian Ringgits) to the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu despite Spain and indirectly Sulu renounced all sovereignty according to Article III of Madrid Protocol of 1885. On 12 September 1962, during PresidentDiosdado Macapagal's administration, the territory of North Borneo, and the full sovereignty, title and dominion over the territory were ceded by the then reigning Sultan of Sulu, HM Sultan Muhammad Esmail E. Kiram I, to the Republic of the Philippines. The cession effectively gave the Philippine government the full authority to pursue their claim in international courts. The Philippines broke diplomatic relations with Malaysia after the federation had included Sabah in 1963 but probably resumed it unofficially through the Manila Accord.

President Marcos tried to get Sabah by hook or by crook but it ended with the fiasco now known as the Jabidah massacre, which inspired the Moros to resume the Moro Wars in the early 1970s. One of the results of the ‘70s Moro Wars was the displacement of about half a million Moros to Sabah.

Despite Sabah’s annexation to the Malaysian Federation and Sulu’s inclusion in the Philippine Republic, the State of Sabah continues to pay annual rent to the Sulu royals as specified in the1878 lease, which now amounts to a mere token. The Sulu royalty since 1957 refuses to accept the annual rent although it receives the letters of payment.

For me, this is one of the main reasons for the conflict in Mindanao. I hope they can resolve these issues in a peaceful way for the sake of peace for the people of Mindanao.

Should the Philippine Government take back Sabah? What do you think.

[source: wikipedia and wikianswers]


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