MANILA - The late Jamalul Kiram III, the self-proclaimed sultan of Sulu who wanted to reclaim Sabah, died a poor man, his daughter said Tuesday.
Princess Jacel Kiram, Jamalul's eldest child, told ANC Beyond Politics that his father had no material wealth to speak of when he passed away on October 20.
"My dad died a poor man, being a sultan is a difficult task," she said. "I am proud of my lineage but we live a very normal life."
Jamalul, who died of organ failure at the Philippine Heart Center, was relying on donations from family friends and help from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), according to reports.
He was also battling kidney problems before he died.
His followers engaged Malaysian forces in a bloody confrontation in Sabah last February, amid their claim that Sabah is ancestral land that belongs to the Sultanate of Sulu.
"My father lost his morale after being informed that charges will be filed against him," Jacel said.
She added that all of the conflicts in southern Mindanao can be traced to the sultanate's Sabah claim.
"There has been no support from gov't to reclaim North Borneo," she said. "The chances are big in getting what is rightfully ours until nasampal kami sa mukha with how they dealt with the problem."
Esmail Kiram II, a younger brother of Jamalul, has been proclaimed as the new sultan of Sulu, the clan's spokesman said.
"Bloodline and law on succession dictate ascension of new sultan. Esmail Kiram ascended as Sultan on 12 noon, October 21," Abraham Idjirani said.
Jacel said before he died, her father ordered Esmail to pursue their claim on Sabah.
"My father had forgiven Esmail for proclaiming himself as Sultan in 2001," she added.
She renewed her call for the Philippine government to support the family's claim on the territory, which is now under Malaysia's control.
"The government should support our proprietary claim to Sabah. As a promise to my father, I will not abandon the Sultanate's people," Jacel said.
Idjirani, meanwhile, said the new sultan will have to follow the late Jamalul's order to reclaim Sabah "through arbitration and reconciliation." - with ANC