[box type=”default” size=”large”] Says his ‘final, final stand (on standoff) is do or die’ [/box]MANILA — They arrived in Sabah in peace and will not start fighting, but they are ready to die for their cause.
Sultan Jamalul Kiram III of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo stressed this point when asked if his men will yield to pressures from Malaysia during a press conference held recent at the Blue Mosque in Taguig City.
He was asked on his “final, final, final stand” on Malaysia’s demand for his followers to leave Sabah.
His younger brother Rajah Muda Agbimuddin Kiram, the crown prince, and hundreds of his men, including members of the sultan’s royal security forces, occupied a village in Tanduao, Lahad Datu, more two weeks ago.
Mounting pressures from the Malaysian and Philippine governments have not deterred the Moros from their stanch to stay put on in their “homeland.”
“My final, final, final stand, which does not only come from me, but also from those who are there (Sabah), they said, do or die,” Kiram III said.
Sultan Bantilan Kiram, another younger brother of the sultan, echoed his sibling’s statements about the group’s determination not to withdraw.
Kiram III said his brother and his companions are in their homeland, and “so why should they leave?”
He said that he made it clear to his followers to point their guns to the ground, adding they did not go there to provoke violence.
Sultan Bantilan Kiram said a consultation will be held shortly with other members of ruling family to discuss the issue.
Madam Hadja Celia Kiram III said the next step is to bring the Sulu Sultanate’s Sabah claim to the international community – the United Nations or the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Also in the press conference were Almarin Tillah, former governor of Tawi-Tawi and policy adviser of Sultan Esmail Kiram; Dr. Abdurahman Amin, who is with the convenors of the consultation at the Blue Mosque.
Amin read the convenors’ three-page statement that the Muslim communities in Metro Manila, in Luzon and in Mindanao were hurt by Malacañang’s stand on the Sabah standoff.
While the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III “is too proud” of its good governance policy, it is “complacent to the sentiments of the constituency as if they are not part of the Philippines,” the convenors said.
They accused the administration of taking Malaysia’s side and made “wild allegations” about sabotaging the government negotiation with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Madam Kiram III said the royal family is thankful to the President for forming a group to look deeply into the Sabah claim of the sultanate.
She confirmed that Aquino had already sent emissaries to the family to discuss the crisis.
Meanwhile, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) appealed to the United Nations to send a peacekeeping force to Sabah to prevent bloodshed.
News reports had it that Malaysia had issued a deadline for the men of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo to stand down and leave. (Ed Usman, Manila Bulletin)