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'Sulu claim on Sabah arose out of Sultan's Power of Attorney'
Published on: Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Kota Kinabalu: The Sabah claim is a matter between the respective countries and is being handled at the highest diplomatic level between Malaysia and the Philippines.

Special Adviser to Sultan of Sulu Jamalul Kiram III, Onn Ariffin, said the claim arose out of the Power of Attorney assigned by Sultan Esmael Kiram, 32nd Sultan of Sulu who gave authority to the Philippine Government to claim Sabah in 1962.

It brings back the route to recognising the position of the Sultan, as the documents played an extensive role by the Philippine Government to claim Sabah through the United Nation.

He said the Sunday column of Daily Express written by one John Gobel on June 19, 2011 seemed to suggest that anybody can become the Sultan of Sulu and can usurp the power of the Sultanate over the claim issue.

"The write-up articulately enticed the innocence of the readers' mind but, unfortunately, it is not as simple as it seems as it fell short of all the credential required to deal with the authorities concerned," he said.

"A layman can talk, infer or insinuate all sorts of things if it is not guided by facts and history.

"At the time when trading came during the Parameswara days, Jolo was a hive of trading activities. The trade triangle was then China, Malacca, Batavia and Jolo.

"Thus, it became an attraction as well as distraction and with it came the colonial disease. That is to force the colonial and external will on the Sultanate.

"While the northern part of Jolo were conquered by Spain, Sulu remained adamant and over 300 years repelled Spanish incursion," he said.

Onn said Sulu has a special reference point in history to the Philippines as it is through the Sultanate reign that the independence of Philippines occurred.

He said treaties upon treaties were made by the Sultanate as a provider of peace to the Philippines, yet still the Sultanate has accommodated the resurgence of the political expectations of the people of the South on the position of MNLF, MILF as well as the establishment of Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindano (ARMM).

"What historians were trying to establish is not so much on the rhetoric part of history, but it is by no coincidence that as responsible officials of the Sultanate we too want to help resolve the issue that surrounds the Sultanate.

"Although through recent days there were attempts made by both sides of the Government trying to re-establish quantification and re-igniting elements on the claim.

"I know that everyone is concerned on the issue. My suggestion is to let His Royal Highness The Sultan Of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III work it out with both governments.

"The least we could do is to respect the sanctity of the Sultanate as much as the respect he has from the Sulu people," he said.

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