From InterAksyon (Mar 5): Misuari denies hand in Sabah crisis
Nur Misuari talks to media at the home of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III. Beside him is sultanate spokesman Abraham Idjirani. (photo by Abigail Kwok, InterAksyon.com)
Moro National Liberation Front founder Nur Misuari on Tuesday denied any hand in the attempt of the Sulu sultanate to press its claim on Sabah by sending more than 200 followers to the territory. The spokesman for the sultanate also denied speculations that Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim had a hand in the crisis.
This, as the Sulu sultanate, speaking through Princess Jacel Kiram, asserted that no instigator, financier or foreign interest was behind the mission of the sultanate's followers in Sabah.
Misuari, who visited Sulu Sultant Jamalul Kiram III at the latter’s Maharlika Village residence in Taguig City, said any talk about his involvement “are all wild speculations.”
“In the first place, I have not inspired anyone to make this venture,” he said, adding, “I cannot preempt the sultan.”
And, he added, for him “to finance (the Sabah venture) is out of the question.”
On Monday, President Benigno Aquino III claimed there was a “conspiracy” behind the Sabah voyage of the sultanate’s followers and vowed to punish those responsible.
However, he admitted that he did not have enough proof yet to name names.
Although Misuari acknowledged that some of those involved in the Sabah sojourn are MNLF “freedom fighters,” he said their involvement was “without my knowledge.” The standoff erupted in violence Friday and, by Tuesday, saw Malaysian security forces mount a massive assault in Lahad Datu town.
Misuari, however, said he would not be surprised if MNLF fighters went and supported the Royal Sulu Army as it was a "matter of duty" on their part.
No instigator, financier, foreign interest - sultanate
Princess Jacel Kiram, the daughter of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, also denied allegations that there were groups or people behind the group of men who went to Lahad Datu.
Reacting to President Benigno Aquino III's statement Monday warning that plotters and conspirators will be charged, Princess Kiram said, "Mr. President, wala pong nag sulsol, walang financier at walang foreign interest na nakikialam sa ginagawa ng sultanate ng Sulu."
Reading a statement from the sultan, she said, "Please, please, do not disrespect the integrity of our intentions."
She challenged Aquino to pledge to the public to protect and fight for Filipinos in Sabah. "Isumpa mo yan sa 98 million Filipinos na mga boss mo. Magpakatotoo po kayo sa inyong sinasabi na kayo ang boss ko. Sana maramdaman namin ito sa kilos at gawa [Please swear to the 98 million Filipinos whom you call your boss that you will protect Filipino lives. I hope we can truly feel you’re our boss both in word and deed].”
Abraham Idjirani, the sultanate’s spokesman, meanwhile, also denied reports emerging in Malaysian media that opposition bet Anwar Ibrahim was backing the sultanate.
Idjirani said Sultan Kiram has no time to fly to Malaysia and meet with Anwar as he could not miss his regular dialysis.