The recent ongoing event of Filipino armed intruders in Sabah probably is just beginning of the claimant of Sabah episode by the descendant of Sulu Sultanate. In 1963, Malaysia was founded by the 4 entity of previously the colony of British, Federation of Malaya, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak. Sabah which previously was a territory of Sulu Sultanate was leased (or ceded, according to the agreement) to the North Borneo Chartered Company and after World War II, its been transferred to British as a Crown Colony. The Sulu Sultanate up until this day still dispute the inclusion of Sabah into the federation and try to claimed it back as their territory even though the Sultanate of Sulu is visually, non-existence.
There are two questions that I would like to highlight in this Royalty discussion topic.
- The Sulu Royalty since 1836 had always tried to claimed back Sabah rather than focusing their struggle to gain independence from the United States. Why?
- In comparison to others non-reigning Sultanates in the region, each and every one of their royalty united under the name of one pretender. But to Sulu Royalty, there are numbers of pretenders. Why?
How can the Sultanate sinks into her current state today? Here is the explanation.
The designated Sultan
The last Sultan of Sulu, His Highness Sultan Jamalul Kiram II is the Sultan of Sulu who had signed an agreement known as the Carpenter Agreement which transferred all of his sovereignty to the United States. Nevertheless, the Sultan died heir-less. Thus the throne was succeeded by his brother, the Sultan Mawallil Wasit.
The Sultan Mawallil Wasit only reigning only for six months before he died due to poisoning. The death of Sultan Mawallil Wasit in 1936 has triggered a series of succession crisis in Sulu. A niece to Sultan Jamalul Kiram II, Dayang-Dayang Hajah Piandao has acted as "Sandah" or Regent during this time. Nevertheless, the Dayang-Dayang Hajah Piandao has done the outrageous act which proclaimed her husband, Datu Ombra Amilbangsa as the Sultan of Sulu, Sultan Amirul Umara II even though his husband is not the rightful heir to the throne.
Not only that she proclaimed her husband as the Sultan of Sulu (Clearly due to her own personal gain), She also the one who filed a claimant to the High Court of North Borneo regarding the Sabah payment according to 1876 Agreement (Claiming Sabah is more important to her rather than fighting for independence from United States I supposed). The other members of the royal family who against the act proclaimed another member of the Royal family named Datu Tambuyung, who is the great-grandson of Sultan Shakirullah (1821-1823) as the Sultan of Sulu using the reigning named of Sultan Jainal Abirin. This is the starting point of the Sulu Royalty to have more than one Sultan at one time. (Not to mention those who are not Royalty also try their luck to become the Sultan of Sulu.)
It is under this time that the Philippine Government under the memorandum of 20th September 1937 does not acknowledge any heirs from Sultan Jamalul Kiram II as the Sultan of Sulu.
The Claimant of lost territory
It is unpredictable to say of what will happens to the Sulu claimant of Sabah in the future. Nevertheless, it is safe to say that it took a wise, brilliant and dependable Sultan to do the job of reclaiming the lost territory. We doesn't have to look far into other continents because this so called the claimant of territory lost due to cession agreement example is here in our own backyard. Not to mention we have the example of Those who dropped the claimed, Those who succeeded in the claimed, and those who failed.
Those who dropped the claimed
The case of Sulu and Sabah has a very closed resemblance with the case of Sultanate of Kedah and the State of Pulau Pinang, both are States of Malaysia. The Penang Island and Province Wellesley are both ceded to the British during the agreement of Francis Light and Sultan Abdullah of Kedah in order to protect the Sultanate from the Siamese invasion. Up until this days, the State of Penang still paid an annual cession payment of RM10,000 to the Sultanate of Kedah. Even though there are attempt by historian to claimed Pulau Pinang back to the Sultanate, the two States are living quite harmoniously and co-existence with one another.
Those who succeeded the claimed
Remember, it took a brilliant and dependable Sultan to succeed in the claimant of lose territory. And Sultan Alang Iskandar Shah of Perak is an example of a brilliant Sultan in his days (Something that Dayang-dayang Hajah Piandao lack). The territory of Dindings were once previously ceded to British and at some point becoming a Straits Settlement. Nevertheless, Sultan Alang Iskandar Shah manage to reclaimed back his lost territory and currently the Dinding is a district in the Sultanate of Perak. Many Malaysian, even Perakian has already forget that the Dindings were previously a Straits Settlements.
Those who failed.
After witnessing the House of Bendahara been ousted from Singapore, it is inevitable for Temenggung Abu Bakar to witnessed that he also would lost the territory of Singapore to British (which once a territory of the Sultanate of Johor). In the agreement, British would paid S15,000 annually to Temenggung Abu Bakar as cession payment of Singapore. Nevertheless, he is also a brilliant leader to not accepting the payment but made one slight twist in the agreement. Rather than received the payment, he would like a permanent grant of land settlement in Singapore. Which the British agreed and the Sultan of Johor, even though lost the island of Singapore, manage to deflect a total lost where his personal property in Singapore still belong to him. And up until this day, the Flag of Johor still waving proudly in the heart of Singapore, and the Masjid Temenggung on the piece of land still been managed up to this day, by the Government of Johor.
So, as the conclusion, it is already too late for the descendant of Sulu Royalty to claimed back the Sabah territory as the Sabahan up until this day rejecting the idea of handed over the State back to Sulu. It is also weird to think about it, because how a small island of Sulu has the guts to claimed a vast land of Sabah. (All the above land concession mention above only cover a piece of land of the respective Sultanate's vast territory). It is best to give suggestion for the Sulu Sultanate to learn how to co-exist with the State of Sabah peacefully just like how the Sultanate of Kedah and State of Pulau Pinang can live with one another and not came up with barbaric solution of announcing war to others.
PS :: picture will come as soon as possible.