MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/20 Oct.) — Sultan Jamalul Kiram III of Sulu died of multiple organ failure Sunday at the age of 75, his daughter Princess Jacel Kiram-Hasan announced.
Kiram, who sent men to Sabah on February 9 this year to assert the Sulu Sultanate’s claim to the disputed region in northern Borneo, was confined at the Philippine Heart Center since Thursday for kidney problems.
Kiram had pressed the Philippine government to revive the country’s historical claim to Sabah through the United Nations.
Sabah used to be part of the Sultanate of Sulu. In 1878, however, the sultanate leased the region to the British North Borneo Company which later gave its rights to Malaysia.
Malaysia continues to pay about $1,700 to in “cession” payment to Kiram and his family, but the sultanate’s heirs call it lease payment.
Kiram made headlines when on February 9, some 200 men led by his brother Rajah Mudah Agbimuddin Kiram set foot in Lahad Datu to reclaim Sabah for the Philippines.
The standoff in Lahad Datu last February between Kiram’s followers and Malaysian forces claimed dozens of lives, and threatened diplomatic ties between the Philippines and Malaysia.
Kiram’s group also accused the Aquino III government of excluding them from consultations for the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro that was inked by the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) last year.
Malaysia is the third-party facilitator in the GPH-MILF peace talks.
Kiram ran for senator under former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Lakas party. Prior to his failed election bid, he served as Arroyo’s Presidential Adviser on Muslim Royalties’ Concern. (MindaNews)