The Lease

In 1658, the Sultan of Brunei gave Sabah to Sultan of Sulu and Palawan for his help in sending Tausug warriors to stop a rebellion and civil war. Since then, Sabah became a property of the Sultan of Sulu and the Sultanate of Sulu.

In 1878, HM Sultan Jamalul Ahlam Kiram (the Sultan of Sulu and the Sultan of Sabah), leased Sabah to a British compary of Gustavus Baron de Overbeck and Alfred Dent “The North Borneo Company,” for their use and their heirs.

The lease prohibits the transfer of Sabah to any nation, company or individual without the consent of the government of the Sultan of Sulu.

In 1946 or 1947, the lease was illegally transferred to the British government by Overdeck and Dent when their company North Borneo ceased to exist.

Ceded to the Philippines

On September 12, 1962, the still on lease territory of North Borneo (SABAH), and the full sovereignty, title and dominion over the territory were ceded by the then reigning Sultan of Sulu HM Sultan Muhammad Esmail E. Kiram I, to the Republic of the Philippines.

The cession effectively gave the Philippine government the full authority to pursue their claim in international courts.

In 1963, the British illegally transferred Sabah to newly formed Federation of Malaysia. The territory they illegally obtained from Overdeck and Dent’s North Borneo Company was again transferred illegally to Malaysia.

Upon the illegal inclusion of Sabah into Malaysian Federation, President Diosdado Macapagal broke diplomatic relations with Malaysia.

Marcos and Operation Merdeka

In 1967, President Ferdinand Marcos initiated Operation Merdeka involving the training of Commandos in Corregidor. Their task was to infiltrate Sabah.

Ninoy Aquino, a filibuster in the Philippine Senate, exposed the secret operation. Because of the expose, “Operation Merdeka” became a big failure. It caused the deaths of Filipino military and civilian operatives inside Sabah.

What happened next was known as Jabidah Massacre, named after the Jabidah Commandos.

Since then, no other president of the Philippines has ever tried to recover Sabah either by peaceful means through the International Court of Justice (ICJ) or military means, making Marcos the only one to ever attempt to do so.

27 years after Marcos, Sabah is still in the hands of Malaysia.
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  1. Not persuasive enough. It’s hard to refute the assertion that Malaysia and the UK have, in effect, nullified the sultan’s contract.

  2. Successive Sultans of Brunei denied giving Sabah to the Sultan of Sulu.Sultan of Sulu only “claimed” (any body can make a claim but where is the evidence?) that Sabah was given to them. Why Sultan of Brunei denied ever giving Sabah because the Sultan of Sulu failed to help them (Sultan Muhyidin)’as what is agreed upon’during the war with Sultan Mubin in Pulau Cermin. You can ask the Sultan of Sulu to show any kind of evidence that the Sultan of Brunei gave Sabah to them , rest assured they are unable to do so. British historians also agreed on this fact.! So the Sultan of Sulu have no locus standi to claim Sabah. Also Jamulul Kiram III is not the rightful heir of the Sultan of Sulu. He was the son of of the second wife of the Sultan of Sulu from an ordinary person (another father)name En Amir Hamzah. So what he initiated in Sabah is purely a terrorist act!

    • Sultan of Sulu became sovereign ruler of most of North Borneo by virtue of a cession from the Sultan of Brunei whom he had helped in suppressing a rebellion.

      There is no document stating the grant of North Borneo from Sultan of Brunei to Sultan of Sulu, but it is accepted by all sides.

      Eighteenth-century officers of the British East India Company had taken the cession for granted and dealt with the Sulu Sultans as the sovereigns of Sabah. Jesse, Brunei resident for the Company in 1774, and Sir Stamford Raffles did not raise questions about the cession of Sulu by the Brunians.

    • Explain to the world why the Malaysian government is paying rent money on a yearly basis to the heirs of the Sulu Sultanate for Sabah to this day!

  3. The Malaysian government somehow predicted that they will be held accountable with electoral abuse when they implemented the project IC. This is a big blow against them because public sentiment to restore the original demographics of Sabah and revoke the illegal ICs is gaining ground.

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