MANILA — Popular television host Kris Aquino, a sister of President Noynoy Aquino, was described as insensitive for featuring in her TV show Malaysia’s Sultan of Johor at a time “when the wounds of the February-March Sabah bloody fight have not healed and the root of the problem has not been addressed.”
Malaya columnist Ellen Tordesillas reported that Kris TV featured in the second week of this month Ibrahim Ismail, the Sultan of Johor, a close friend of the Aquino family.[box type=”default” size=”large”] At a time when wounds of Sabah bloodbath are not healed [/box]According to Tordesillas, Kris related that her family’s closeness with the Sultan of Johor dated back to the Aquinos’ stay in Boston, Massachusetts in the mid1980s. The Sultan was a student in the United States at that time. He took military training at Fort Benning, Georgia and later at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Kris said the image that she had of the Sultan during their Boston meetings was Ibrahim driving a Rolls Royce.
The Sultan showed off his collection of expensive cars, numbering 300. It is reported that the Johor Sultan and President Aquino share a passion for luxury cars.
Tordesillas said that Kris excitedly quipped while she was touring the Sultan’s air-conditioned garage, “I’ll show ‘Noy the video and he’ll come.”
It was recalled that the siege in Lahad Datu, Sabah in March this year, which was precipitated by the decision of the Sultan of Sulu Jamalul Kiram III to press the clan’s ownership of a large part of Sabah, now one of the 13 states of Malaysia despite the claim of the Philippines over the oil and mineral rich territory.
Early February, some 100 men led by Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram, brother of Jamalul Kiram III, arrived in the coastal village of Lahad Datu in Sabah and resisted attempts by Malaysian authorities to expel them. The fighting spread to the town of Semporna.
One of the Malaysian policemen killed was L/Kpl Mohd Azrol Tukiran, a close friend of the Johor prince, Tuanku Laksamana Tunku Abdul Jalil, who is also a member of the Malaysian police.
A Malaysian newspaper reported that the Sultan of Johor wept over the policeman’s death, saying the victim and his son “were close friends and even slept next to each other during their police special forces training in Ulu Kinta in Perak.”
The Star quoted Sultan Ibrahim as saying “losing a close friend had affected the prince.”
Innocent civilians, mostly Filipinos, were caught in the conflict. President Aquino never condemned the atrocities. He even blamed Kiram for starting the trouble and threatened him and his men with legal actions.