The Petroleum-rich Sabah was considered by our Muslim brothers from Southern Philippines as part of the former super-power Sultanate of Sulu. We will be discussing some of the most important timelines in the history of Sabah.
Due to the recent problems that arised in Lahad Datu, Sabah, Malaysia between the Malaysian Security Forces and the Royal Sultanate of Sulu supporters we dig dipper into the real history of Sabah based upon different sources.
During the year 1658, the Sultan of Brunie gave the northern portion of Borneo, named as Sabah to the Sultan of Sulu as a reward for his help in sending Tausug Warriors to stop a rebellion and civil war. Since then, Sabah became a property of Sultan and the Sultanate of Sulu.
In 1878, HM Sultan Hamalul Akram Kiram (The Sultan of Sulu and the Sultan of Sabah), leased Sabah to a British Company of Gustavus Baron de Overdeck and Alfred Dent “The North Borneo Company.”
In 1946-47, the leased was illegally transferred to the British Government by Overdeck and Dent when their company North Borneo ceased to exist.
On September 12, 1962, the title and dominion of Sabah was ceded by HM Sultan Muhammad Esmail E. Kiram I to the Republic of the Philippines which effectively gave the Philippine Government the full authority to pursue their claim in international courts.
In 1963, the British illegally transferred Sabah to newly formed Federation of Malaysia. The Philippines made a move by breaing a diplomatic relations with Malaysia through President Diosdado Macapagal.
In 1967, President Ferdinand Marcos initiated “Operation Merdeke” involving the training of commandos in Corregidor. Their task is to infiltrate Sabah but because of the expose made by then Senator Ninoy Aquino, who exposed the secret operation. The Operation Merdeke became such a big failure in Philippine military strategy.
That was the last time that the Philippine government made a moved to claim Sabah from Malaysia. President Marcos was the only President who made an attempt to regain Sabah.
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Sultan Jamalul Kiram III: Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo