MANILA - The followers of Crown Prince Rajah Mudah Agbimuddin Kiram who remain in a standoff with Malaysian forces insist they will not leave Sabah even if they have to scrimp on “camote” (sweet potato) and “saging” (banana) to survive.
Malaysian forces have supposedly cordoned off the area in Lahad Datu in Sabah, making it impossible for food and reinforcements to come in.
Kiram is undaunted. He also dismissed the three-day ultimatum issued by Malaysian authorities to finally leave Sabah.
“They convinced us to return to the Philippines. I answered them in the opposite. We came here to live in our own place, not to bother the people here but just want to live in our place,” he said.
Kiram’s brother, former Sultan of Sulu Jamalul Kiram III, said a royal decree has been issued ordering the followers to establish anew their claim on Sabah.
The crown prince and his men have held Malaysian authorities at bay since February 12. He said, “hindi kami aalis hanggang di ma-resolve ang issue. Gusto namin maisoli sa amin ang Sabah.”
Meanwhile, their followers here in the Philippines have asked President Benigno Aquino III to allow food to reach their colleagues.
Abraham Idjirani, secretary general of the sultanate, said the blockade is a violation of the rights of the members of the royal army.
“We also appeal to [Aquino], being a Filipino citizen, to at least appeal to the Malaysian government to provide the daily basic services of the people in the community so their human rights will be protected not only by the president but by also the constitution and the United Nations," he said.
He said they have proof that they own the land. He showed receipts that it is Malaysia “renting” the area.
One receipt shows a P69,000 rent for a one-year rental.
He said Malaysia fears facing the United Nations because they have enough evidence to refute its jurisdiction over Sabah.