THE SABAH LEASE ISSUE WITH MALAYSIA : When the Sabah lease was signed 130 years ago on the 22nd day of the month of January 1878 between the Sultanate of Sulu & Sabah and two foreign individuals/businessmen, the Sultanateensured that their rights to Sabah ownership were protected with this all encompassing moral and legal clause that’s spelled out in the lease contract:
“but the rights and powers hereby leased shall not be transferred to any nation, or a company of other nationality, without the consent of Their Majesties Government. ”
The whole Mindanao-Moro problem and Malaysia’s incursion right in the heart of Philippine Moro ‘homeland’ is without a shadow of doubt tied to the Philippine Sabah claim. The Malaysians know it and the Filipinos know it — Kuala Lumpur will do everything in their power to make sure that the Philippines will not have a moment’s respite to turn around and raise the Sabah claim. And the problem is being compounded by the fact that successive Chinese communities in Sabah have staged their own claim over Sabah and over the last couple of decades; they have been at it, trying to muster political support from the population of Sabah to claim “independence” from Malaysia. As years go and while this problem is unsettled, there will be more problems, political and military that are bound to arise and could very well bring the Sabah question to the inevitable: armed conflict…
After 130 years, it is time to examine the contents of the lease and to bring them out in the open. The Republic of the Philippines nor Malaysia cannot continue to be blind. Sabah is either the Philippines’ or it is not — only a minitious examination of facts done in absolute good faith can determine final legal and moral ownership. If the parties to the claim or to the counter claim refuse — and that includes major counter claimant Malaysia, to adhere to the principle of good faith, I’m afraid, the rebellion problem in Mindano will continue as the rebel forces in Mindanao are encouraged, maintained and funded by the the current occupiers of Sabah.
HERE IS TRANSLATION OF SABAH LEASE:
This treaty is written in Sulu, at the Palace of the Sultan Mohammed Jamalus Alam on the 19th day of the month of Muharam, A.H. 1295; that is on the 22nd day of the month of January 1878.The Land Grant of 1878Grant By The Sultan of Sulu of a Permanent Lease Covering His Lands and Territories on the Island of BorneoDate : January 22, 1878 We, Sri Paduka Maulana Al Sultan MOHAMMED JAMALUL ALAM, son of Sari Paduka Marhum Al Sultan MOHAMMED PULALUM, Sultan of Sulu and of all dependencies thereof, on behalf of ourselves and for our heirs and successors, and with the expressed desire of all Datus in common agreement, do hereby desire to lease, of our own free will and satisfaction, to Gustavus Baron de Overbeck of Hong Kong, and to Alfred Dent, Esquire, of London, who act as representatives of a British Company, together with their heirs, associates, successors, and assigns forever and until the end of time, all rights and powers which we possess over all territories and lands tributary to us on the mainland of the island of Borneo, commencing from the Pandasan River on the east, and thence along the whole east coast as afar as the Sibuku area, known as Paitan, Sugut, Banggai, Labuk, Sandakan, China-batangan, Mumiang, and all other territories and coastal lands to the south, bordering on Darvel Bay, and as far as the Sibuku River, together will all the islands which lie within nine miles from the coast.
In consideration of this (territorial?) lease, the honorable Gustavus Baron de Overbeck and Alfred Dent, Esquire, promise to pay His Highness Maulana Sultan Mohammed Jamalul Alam and to this heirs and successors, the sum of five thousand dollars annually, to be paid each and every year.
The above-mentioned territories are from today truly leased to Mr. Gustavus Baron de Overbeck and to Alfred Dent, Esquire, as already said, together with their heirs, their associates (company) and to their heir successors and assigns for as long as they choose or desire to use them; but the rights and powers hereby leased shall not be transferred to any nation, or a company of other nationality, without the consent of Their Majesties Government. Should there be any dispute, or reviving of old grievances of any kind, between us, and our heirs and successors, with Mr. Gustavus Baron de Overbeck or his Company, then the matter will be brought for consideration or judgment to Their Majesties’ Consul-General in Brunei. Moreover, if His Highness Maulana Al Sultan Mohammed Jamalul Alam, and his heirs and successors, become involved in any trouble or difficulties hereafter, the said honorable Mr. Gustavus Baron de Overbeck and his Company promise to give aid and advice to us within the extent of their ability.
This treaty is written in Sulu, at the Palace of the Sultan Mohammed Jamalus Alam on the 19th day of the month of Muharam, A.H. 1295; that is on the on the 22nd day of the month of January 1878.
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