Thursday, January 15, 2015

Kiram’s death won’t stop Sulu Sultanate from claiming Sabah

From the Daily Tribune (Jan 15): Kiram’s death won’t stop Sulu Sultanate from claiming Sabah

The untimely death of Raja Muda Agbimmudin Kiram, the commander of the more than 200 Royal Sulu Force (RSF) fighters who assaulted Lahad Datu in 2013, will not stop the Sulu Sultanate from pushing its claim over Sabah.

Abraham Idjirani, secretary general and spokesman of the Sulu Sultanate, said that Sultan Esmael Kiram II is standing pat on the sultanate’s claim over Sabah from Malaysia through peaceful negotiations.

“His (Agbimmudin) death does not mean an end to the search for the peaceful resolution of our Sabah claim in order to establish a peaceful co-existence of people among nations,” Idjirani said in an interview.

“As long as there are existing genuine Kirams — royal children of the administrator of North Borneo, the claim will remain now spearheaded by Sultan Esmael Kiram II,” added Idjirani.

In fact, Idjirani said that Sultan Esmael II is currently reorganizing traditional leaders — panglima, majarajah, religious leaders and the youth sector,  as part of the peaceful efforts to pursue the Sabah claim.

“He is taking the multisectoral approach in the reorganization, involving all stakeholders in the Sulu archipelago to include Christians,” said Idjirani.

“The Sultan supports calls for negotiation,” he added.

Agbimmudin, who is next to Sultan Esmael Kiram II in the royal hierarchy, died on Tuesday at his residence in Simunul, Tawi Tawi due to heart attack.

According to Idjirani, Agbimmudin would be succeeded by his younger brother Datu Phungkal Kiram as raja muda or crown prince.

In February 2013, Agbimmudin led more than 200 fighters of the RSF in a daring assault of Lahad Datu, in an attempt to reclaim Sabah from Malaysia.

The assault has the blessing of his elder brother, the late Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, as the sultanate asserted ownership of Sabah. Jamalul died of ailment in October 2013 and was succeeded by Sultan Esmael II, now the incumbent head of the sultanate.

Dozens of RSF members and Malaysian authorities were killed during the fighting that dragged on for several weeks with Tausug fighters throwing support to the sultanate’s supporters.

There were reports then stating that Agbimmudin was killed during the fighting but such information turned out to be false.

Other reports said that Agbimmudin managed to sneak out of Sabah, evading pursuing Malaysian troops at the height of the conflict.

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