Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Malaysia's rent to the Sultan of Sulu-A foolish strategy that has backfired spectacularly

The following is an excerpt from a monograph by Kevin YL Tan of the Centre For International Law, NUS:

The Philippines claimed sovereignty over Sabah on the basis 
that it had sovereignty over Sulu and was thus successor in title 
to all possessions of the Sulu Sultanate. On 12 September 1962, 
during President Diosdado Macapagal’s administration, a series 
of instruments were executed by the alleged heirs of the Sultan 
of Sulu to transfer all sovereignty, rights and interest they may 
have had in Sabah to the Philippines Government (Ref to footnote 54)

Footnote 54 states:

These instruments were: (a) Instrument dated 24 Apr 1962 under which 
five heirs transferred their claim to North Borneo to the Philippine 
Government; (b) Resolution of Ruma Bechara of Sulu authorizing 
the Sultan in Council to transfer his title of sovereignty over North 
Borneo to the Philippines dated 29 Aug 1962; (c) Document signed 
by the Philippine President authorizing Vice-President Emmanuel 
Palaez to accept an instrument of cession of rights over Sabah from 
one of the heirs dated 11 Sep 1962; and (d) Instrument of cession of 
North Borneo by Sultan Mohammed Esmail Kiram, Sultan of Sulu, 
dated 12 Sep 1962. See Jayakumar, ibid, at 308 n14.

Given the above, it appears that in assuming the UK  Government's payments to the Sultan of Sulu the Malaysian Government sought by deed and action to signal their disregard
for  the 1962 instruments entered into between the Government of the  Philippines and the heirs of the Sultan 
of Sulu . Put in another way, the Malaysian Government was in effect recognising the Sultan's sovereignty 
over Sabah in opposition to the very agreements , norms and conventions of international law that gave the Federation of Malaysia  sovereignty  over Sabah.

It seems that in the minds of Malaysia's leadership  politics. religion, ,culture, tradition took precedence over basic concepts of  the common and international law. As recent events have shown, one cannot seek the shelter of the law that one has spurned. Having taken a path outside its boundaries, one is left to resolve matters by the norms of ones culture,tradition and religion.