Mar. 1 – The Malaysian state of Sabah has been in the headlines after a group of Philippine tribes, lead by the Sultan of Sulu, sailed from their home base in the remote Southern area of the Philippines to stake a claim on the Malaysian territory.
The Sultan, now aged 74, has lead a group of armed followers to the Malaysian village of Tandao on Borneo. Apparently, some 235 armed men, described as ‘The Royal Armed Forces of the Sultan of Sulu and North Borneo’, have occupied the village and part of the surrounding area. Malaysian security forces have surrounded the area but have refrained from engagement at this time, although the Sultan has said his men will fight to protect “their” territory.
The Philippine President Benigo Aquino warned the Philippine Sultan to return to the Philippines and abandon his territorial claim. The Sultan claims he is the Head of the Sultanate of Sulu, which once controlled large areas of Borneo, as well as parts of the Southern Philippines and islands between the two areas. He has refused to leave unless the Malaysian and Philippines governments agree to provide him with terms for the joint development of Sabah, in addition to royalties generated from the region’s future economic growth.
The situation remains in deadlock.