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Thursday, February 11, 2016

New Sulu ‘Sultan’ wants international conference for resolution on Sabah claim

The new self-styled Sulu “Sultan” Phugdalon Kiram II is seeking an international conference to peacefully settle the purported sultanate’s continued claim on Sabah as its territory.

Abraham Idjirani, the sultanate’s spokesman, said it has yet to receive a reply from the Malaysian government after sending in a written request for the conference to be held.

“The sultan’s concern is to find a resolution to this long-standing dispute and the way forward is an international conference on the matter,” the Manila-based spokesman was quoted telling local daily The Star through a phone conversation.

The spokesman said the suggested international conference be attended by the sultanate’s officials, Philippine and Malaysian officials as well as representatives of Sabah’s natives.

The conference should address issues relating to the sultanate’s sovereignty and its claim on Sabah, he reportedly said.

According to The Star, Phugdalon Kiram II ― formerly known as Datuk Phugdal ― became the 35th “sultan” of Sulu and North Borneo on February 6.

It said that Phugdalon had taken on his great-grandfather Sultan Phugdalon’s name to avoid others from claiming to be part of the Sulu sultanate lineage.

In October 2013, Phugdalon's father ― the then self-styled “Sultan” of Sulu Jamalul Kiram III ― died at 75 from multiple organ failures due to kidney problems.

In February 2013, over 200 Sulu gunmen reportedly led by Phugdalon's brother Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram stormed the village of Kampung Tanduo in Lahad Datu in Sabah to stake the sultanate’s claim over the east Malaysian state.

In the bloody standoff that ensued with Malaysia’s security forces, a total of 68 terrorists were reportedly shot dead while 10 local policemen were killed.

A total of 173 arrests were made and 30, consisting of 27 Filipinos and three local residents, are being tried for charges relating to terrorism and waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

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