'Sulu sultan' still wants to claim Sabah

KOTA KINABALU • The self-styled Sulu sultanate is maintaining its claim over Sabah, with the newly installed "sultan" Phugdalun Kiram II pushing for a conference to resolve the issue.

A spokesman for the so-called sultanate, Mr Abraham Idjirani, said they would be pursuing a peaceful resolution of their claim. "The sultan's concern is to find a resolution to this long-standing dispute and the way forward is an international conference on the matter," he told The Star in a phone interview from Manila on Wednesday.

The self-proclaimed Muslim sultanate is located in Sabah, one of Malaysia's 13 states.

Mr Idjirani said the conference should address the sultanate's sovereignty over Sabah. He said the sultanate had written to the Malaysian government for such a conference, but had not received any official response yet.

Phugdalun Kiram II was installed as the 35th "sultan" of Sulu and North Borneo on Saturday last week. North Borneo was the old name of Sabah when it was a British colony.

The "sultan" who was known as Datuk Phugdal adopted the name of his great-grandfather Sultan Phugdalun to thwart other claimants to the Sulu sultanate lineage.

His brother, Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram, had led some 200 gunmen of the so-called Royal Sulu Army in the occupation of Kampung Tanduo in Lahad Datu in February 2013, before Malaysian security forces moved in to flush them out.

Mr Kiram fled to the Philippines in early April 2013 and died months later in Tawi Tawi.

Some 60 people, including nine Malaysian security personnel, were killed in the operations against the gunmen.

Another 30 people were detained and subsequently charged with various offences, including waging war against the Malaysian King. Their trial is currently under way.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 12, 2016, with the headline 'Sulu sultan' still wants to claim Sabah. Subscribe