Feb 20, 2013

Sabah issue draws line between MNLF and MILF?

The line has been drawn again between two of Mindanao's biggest rebel groups - this time on the issue of Sabah.

Here's the evidence of Leased Payment from Malaysian Government to the Heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu that is being leaked on the internet.

The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), which is led by Chairman Nur Misuari, which has signed a peace pact with the government in the mid-90s, is throwing its support on the Sultanate of Sulu in its decision to revive its claim on Sabah.

On the other hand, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) says its does not agree with the actions of the Sultanate, though the rebel group says they hold the royal family in highest regard.

MILF Vice Chairman Ghadzali Jaafar says they would prefer for the Sultanate to resolve their claim in a peaceful manner, so as not to risk lives.

The MILF's reaction comes in the wake of pronouncements made by the Sultanate of Sula that it has been alienated from the on-going GPH-MILF peace talks, especially with the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB).

Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer of the University of the Philippines, the lead government negotiator, says says the government peace panel met with the Kiram brothers, led by Sultan Jamalul III in 2011, as a way of acknowledging the Sultanate's historical importance.
"The Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) does provide for respect for customs and recognition of identities and narratives as part of transitional justice. It takes into account the plurality of groups and histories in the Bangsamoro," Ferrer says. "The unsettled claims over Sabah is a foreign policy matter that is outside the purview of the talks."
The Sultanate earlier said that, aside from failing to help assert the Sabah claim, the government even made them irrelevant by allegedly ignoring them in the negotiations.

MILF Vice Chairman Jaafar insists that the Sultanate was never excluded in their negotiations.

He even called on Sultan Jamalul III to refrain from using the Framework Agreement as "scapegoat" to push for their Sabah bid.

For Julkipli Wadi, dean of the UP Institute of Islamic Studies, the government should have accorded the royal family appropriate recognition.

The least it could have done, according to Wadi, was offer a titular position to the Sultanate under the agreement it is making with the MILF.

But Wadi notes that there could also be unseen forces provoking the Sultanate to resort to drastic actions, such as sending a contingent to occupy an area in Lahad Datu town in Sabah, Malaysia.

The government, Julkipli says, should also be ready to compromise, putting much weight on the Sultanate's significant role to history and the rights of its people. - source


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