Sabah Leased Was Terminated 1959; Malaysia & British Crown Squatted & illegally Grab from Philippines

The timeline of Sabah North Borneo before it was squatted and illegally grabbed by Malaysia and British Crown from the Philippines

The timeline of Sabah North Borneo before it was "squatted and illegally grabbed by Malaysia and British Crown from the Philippines

* Year 1658 - Sultanate of Sulu ruled Sabah, North Borneo

* Year 1877 - Sultanate of Sulu leased to British North Borneo for Economic Development (Business development, manufacturing, Oil and Gas exploration)

* Year 1942 - Japan occupied the Philippines, Sulu including Sabah

* Year 1946 - British North Borneo illegally turned over Sabah to British Crown 

* November 25, 1957 - Lease contract with British entities Notice for TERMINATION for Violations

* January 22, 1958 - British North Borneo Contract TERMINATION Effective, waiting for turnover

* August 31 1963 - British crown turn over process delayed due to Britain's government intervention and instead of turning over to the Philippines, they illegally turned over Sabah to Malaysia, their former colony.

* September 16, 1963 - Sabah illegally included into the Malaysian Federation


FM: UK deal ceased 1958

The administration of the late President Ferdinand Marcos was compelled to reactivate the Philippine government’s claim to Sabah as a result of the confluence of events which are the termination of the lease agreement that was the basis of the territorial conflict and a Congressional directive for Marcos to press the sovereignty question.

Marcos said in a 22 September 1968 meeting with international media that Mohammad Ismael Kiram, then Sultan of Sulu, ordered on 25 November 1957 the termination of the lease agreement between the Mindanao royalty and British entities signed in 1878.

“I have declared and do hereby declare the termination of the said lease in favor of Gustavus Baron de Overbeck and Alfred Dent, their heirs and assigns, effective the 22nd day of January, 1958, and that from and after that date all the lands covered by the said lease shall be deemed restituted thenceforth to the Sultanate of Sulu,” Marcos quoted Kiram’s directive.

The former Chief Executive also cited a 24 April 1962 resolution of the House of Representatives “urging the President of the Philippines to take the necessary steps for the recovery of a certain portion of the Island of Borneo and adjacent islands which appertain to the Philippines.”

House directs Palace move

The resolution stated “Whereas, it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the claim of the Republic of the Philippines upon a certain portion of the Island of Borneo and adjacent islands is legal and valid: Now, therefore, be it resolved by the House of Representatives, to urge, as it hereby does urge, the President of the Philippines to take the necessary steps consistent with international law and procedure for the recovery of a certain portion of the Island of Borneo and adjacent islands which appertain to the Philippines. Adopted unanimously, 24 April 1962.”

To comply with the directive, Marcos said his administration took a position to put the territorial question before the World Court or the International Court of Justice.

The problem, however, was that the Malaysian government had refused to participate in a proceeding before an international body.

“Under the rulings concerning the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice, no case can be brought to it for settlement without the agreement of both the conflicting parties,” Marcos explained.

He chided Malaysia for its refusal to submit to the proceeding. “All I can say is that if I were sure of my case, on the basis of history and of law, I would not be afraid to go to the World Court,” Marcos indicated.

US hinted backing

Marcos also claimed at that time that the United States, through then Ambassador G. Menen Williams, has committed to abide by “treaty commitments in the event of an attack on the Philippines” over the Sabah dispute.

The former President said he trusted William’s statement. “I submitted to the Ambassador an aide memoire. I presume that this will be answered in the same way,” according to Marcos.

Right after the Jabidah massacre expose of then Marcos rival Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. in the same year and the signing of the Sabah bill that urged action on the claim, the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur was ransacked by supposed protesters.

“The right that we could exercise should be a demand for an apology and a demand for reparations, meaning a demand for the payment of damages arising from the rioting,” Marcos indicated then.

In retaliation, Marcos recalled the country’s missions in Kuala Lumpur.

“The decision still stands. But we are keeping the diplomatic staff there perhaps for some time. I am referring to the original official position of our government to recall the Ambassador and the diplomatic staff. However, as I told you, in view of this incident, they may have to stay there for some time,” Marcos noted.

MNLF explores OIC option

With the lease terminated, it will be up to the Philippine government and the Sultanate to pursue the valid claim.

The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) said it may hold the key in resolving the issue, through a so-called “missing link” in the dispute which is the original contract.

An MNLF source told the Daily Tribune that a direct descendant of the Sulu Sultan who helped the Brunei Sultanate to quell a rebellion holds the original lease contract written in Arabic between the British North Borneo Company and the Sultanate.

It turned out that Sulu and Brunei monarchs have the same blood line.

The individual also has in his possession a letter from the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II acknowledging the Sultanate’s proprietary right over Sabah.

“The documents he holds are from the Queen and the Sultan’s ascension statement submitted to the Brunei embassy in October 2010 tracing the blood line of the heirs,” the source added.

The documents will be the basis of the MNLF’s plan to elevate the case to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for arbitration, the source said.

The source indicated the Sultan of Sulu who was a cousin of the Sultan of Brunei during the Borneo conflict sent 1,000 Tausug warriors to victoriously fight the rebels.

Brunei lineage

The source added the heirs had coordinated with the Brunei Darussalam embassy in Manila in February 2009. The embassy, then required them to submit a statement of ascendancy to prove their claim of blood relationship with the Brunei monarchy.

Lawyer Rexie Bugaring, MNLF senior legal adviser, declined to comment on the supposed missing link but confirmed that MNLF leaders is coordinating with the Sultanate of Sulu to help pursue Sabah’s claim.

“Any move of the MNLF regarding the Sabah claim will be cleared with President Duterte including the submission of the case to the OIC,” he said.

Abraham Idjirani, Sultanate secretary general, however downplayed the so called missing link.

He said the copy of the original contract on orders of the British colonial rulers was stolen a year after the lease agreement was signed.

The Sultanate also reiterated its call to President Rodrigo Duterte to initiate the revival of the claim after the Malaysian government officially announced that it has stopped paying the yearly lease it inherited from the British colonial government. Read more at Daily Tribune

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About Makisig Bayani

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