Historical Rights Center of Sulu

 1089px Sabah Divisions


The journey to Sabah of Datu Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram and his 235 followers, Part 1

This is reposted in memory of DATU RAJA MUDA AGBIMUDDIN KIRAM and the 235 FOLLOWERS, who showed their patriotic act during the 2013 Lahad Datu Stand-Off, Sabah.

1st Series

Malaysia Mobilized Its Mighty Thirteen BN Military Forces during the February-March 2013 Sabah Stand-Off

Datu Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram and his 235 followers’ journey from Simunul back home to Sabah (North Borneo) on February 11, 2013 was a POVERTY DRIVEN JOURNEY and the HOPE TO LIVE IN PEACE with the populace therein. It was delayed for a couple of weeks in one of the islands in Tawi-Tawi as they still looked for boats to transport them.

Their journey was established on FIVE SIMPLE BASIC FACTS which Malaysia could have consider them as humane as possible. Firstly, Malaysia would give consideration and accommodation to their presence in respect to the 1939 British High Court’s Recognition on the Sulu Sultanate’s proprietary rights. Secondly, it complied the Mandates of the 1963 Manila Accord signed by Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Thirdly, Sabah (North Borneo) is an ancestral patrimony of the Sultanate of Sulu and the Bangsa Suluk/Sug transferred to Malaysia by Great Britain in 1963. Fourthly, the resolution to Malaysia’s claim of sovereign ownership over Sabah (North Borneo) is still pending in the United nations. And fifth, Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram hoped Malaysia continues to recognize the bond of ancestral relations between the two peoples of North Borneo (Sabah) and the Sulu Archipelago since time immemorial.

Datu Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram’s 235 followers had an average age of 45 years. They arrived at Tanduo, Lahad Datu, Eastern part of Sabah (North Borneo), at 1:30 in the morning of February 26, 2013. He conveyed immediately their safe arrival to the Sulu Sultanate Secretary-General, Abraham J. Idjirani. The journey’s story was initially published by Ms. Arlyn Dela Cruz in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. 

Their journey rekindled the trip of some Datus from Sulu and their 1,500 followers in 1900., who hoped to establish residencies in Sandakan. Despite FOLLOWING the RULE OF LAW of the British Colonial Authority in Sandakan by serving a notice to the British Colonial Authority of their intention and desire to peacefully co-exist with the inhabitants of North Borneo (Sabah), THEY WERE REFUSED and ORDERED to return to Sulu. 

History of 1900 repeat itself as Datu Raja Muda Agbimuddin and his 235 followers’ presence in the disputed territory WAS ALSO JUDGED by the Malaysian law. Malaysia’s arguments WERE NOT BALANCED with the PROS and CONS and STATUS of ITS CLAIM to title of sovereignty over Sabah (North Borneo). Its arguments were INADMISSIBLE and CONTINUED TO DEFY the 1947 UN Charter Resolution, the 1950 UN Resolution, the 1939 British High Court’s Recognition, and the intent and spirit of the joint-communique embodied in the 1963 Manila Accord mutually signed and issued by Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Their journey was the IMPACT of ACUTE PROBLEM of ABJECT POVERTY affecting Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi. In the journey, Datu Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram secretly brought with him the copy of the 1939 Letters of Administration issued to late 32nd Sultan Punjungan Kiram as Administrator of the Estate Territory of North Borneo (Sabah) by C.F.C. Macaskie of the British Sessions Court of North Borneo in Sandakan. The 1939 Letters of Administration EMBODIED the INVIOLABLE and INHERENT RIGHTS and the BRITISH RECOGNITION of the PROPRIETARY RIGHTS, POWERS, AUTHORITY and OWNERSHIP of the Sultan of Sulu and his heirs over NORTH BORNEO (SABAH).

It was entrusted to him by their late father, late 32nd Sultan Punjungan Kiram, as verbally decreed and conveyed by his father’s 3rd wife, Hadja Hatidja Dawili Kiram, for him to act as Administrator, safekeeper and guardian of the Estate Territory of North Borneo (Sabah) in behalf of interests of the Bangsa Suluk/Sug and Filipino people in general and  all his other twelve (12) siblings in particular.

The British High Court recognition LEGALLY STIPULATED and RECOGNIZED the estate and proprietary ownership over North Borneo (Sabah) of the Sulu Sultan and his co-heirs already existed before Malaysia was established as a nation in 1963.

By being an heir to the British Interests? Malaysia inherited the COURT'S RECOGNITION and DECISION and IS LEGALLY BOUND and OBLIGED AS SUCCESSOR to the BRITISH LEASE INTEREST to CONTINUE RENDERING the ANNUAL LEASE RENTAL PAYMENT to the HEIRS. The said payment which the BRITISH and MALAYSIA  called it as CESSION MONEY TO BE PAID IN PERPETUITY WAS STOPPED in 2013 until now.

There was a HIGH RISK HEAVIER THAN RAJA MUDA’S OWN FLESH and BLOOD to bring the Only Original Copy of that 1939 Letters of Administration. However, his HUMANE CONCERN for the WELL-BEINGS and SAFETY of the 235 followers PREVAILED and in case question and misunderstanding of their presence may arise, Datu Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram had a document to show and endorse it to the Malaysian Authority.

But the Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Tun Razak, treated HIS PRESENCE and the 235 followers as INTRUDERS on Malaysia’s ALLEGED CLAIM TO TERRITORIAL SOVEREIGNTY. President Benigno “PNoy” Simeon Aquino III’s administration indirectly endorsed Malaysia’s accusation thru an announcement issued from Malacanang. President Aquino III also called them spoiler of peace as the 2013 Sabah Stand-Off occurred coincidentally with the on-going peace talks between his administration and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). He also questioned, quote: how can the Kiram acquired such a vast track of territory? unquote. 

The Sulu Sultanate Spokesperson, Abraham J. Idjirani, reminded Malacanang thru a press briefing covered by local and foreign media by citing late Senator Arturo M. Tolentino’s declaration during the 18th Session of the UN General Assembly in 1968, quote: the Federation of Malaysia acquired claims to sovereign rights t o Sabah (North Borneo) thru the 1878 Lease Agreement, rights which were not those of a sovereign but those of a lease transferred by Great Britain to Malaysia in 1963.

To be continued.





as well as the Bangsa Suluk/Sug People


Abraham J. Idjirani

February 16, 2021



Sabah Divisions and Districts by Cccefalon