Mar 9, 2013

Jamalul Kiram - When the life of followers has no value compared to ...

... sultan sent Sulu followers to Sabah for ... ?
By Ida Lim

KUALA LUMPUR, March 8 — The self-styled Sultan of Sulu Jamalul Kiram III has declared himself as the “poorest” Ruler in the world, saying that he had consented to his brother leading a group of armed followers to move to Sabah in search of work and a better life.

“I’m the poorest sultan in the world,” Jamalul told newswire Associated Press (AP) when interviewed in his tumble-down two-storey residence in a poor section of Manila, the capital city of the Philippines.

The 74-year-old, who is one of nine claimants to the Sulu Sultanate, reportedly said that his sultanate’s lack of power to help his followers had sparked off their move into Sabah’s east coast over three weeks ago in what is seen as an intrusion by Malaysia and has resulted in deadly clashes with 52 Sulu militants and eight Malaysian policemen dead. 
note: a few words from the original article were not being copied

Sulu Massacre Haunts Jamalul Kiram III 

Jamalul Kiram III may deny his actions in giving orders to Sulu terrorists to enter Lahad Datu, Sabah led by his brother, Azzumudie Kiram which would just give him more advantage to become the next legitimate Sultan Sulu.
Especially when the matter of who becomes the next Sultan Sulu gets complicated as there are 9 individuals claiming themselves as Sultan Sulu. Jamalul Kiram III and his brother Esmail Kiram II are few of the individuals, both citizens of Philippine.
With support from MNLF members led by Nur Misuari which has close ties with him, which might just give the advantage for Jamalul Kiram to declare himself as the real Sultan Sulu, denying the other eight.
However, Jamalul Kiram and his followers thought wrong because without them realizing, people of Sulu and Sabah are raged with him and his descendants.
Majority Sulu Sabahan refuse to support Jamalul Kiram's personal desire to be taken as Sultan Sulu, especially when the invasion is giving negative image towards Sulu Sabahans.
The loyalty shown by Sabahan Sulu can be seen when a group of its youth captured and killed one of Jamalul Kiram's followers who was armed with an M16 in Semporna recently.
Most Sulu people from both Malaysia and Philippine share the same thought that Jamalul Kiram III and his family are no longer in the race of becoming the next Sultan Sulu.
Sulu people will never forget their dark history where their people were massacred by American army in the 1900s after getting blessings from Sultan Kiram II (1884-1936).
The tragedy which happened in Bud Dahu on March 1906, followed by the same massacre in December 1911 as well as the battle in Bud Bagsak, on June 1913 where all three had cost 4,000 casualties among Sulu people.
Probably thanks to the traits he may have gotten from his family, that is why it is not surprising why Jamalul Kiram III decided to ask for intervention from America and the UN as his mission to conquer Sabah is failing.
For most Sulu people, they think that Jamalul Kiram do not deserve to be their leader. To them, they will never accept the descendants of a leader who led to the massacre of their own people.
The dark past in Bud Dahu and Bud Bagsak, Jolo, Sulu will remain in the minds of Sulu people, and it will always haunt Jamalul Kiram III. His dreams of being declared as Sultan Sulu might never come true, instead, it will always haunt him until the day he dies.


Jamalul Kiram III : ...

March 4, 2013 5:53pm

Jamalul Kiram III, Sultan of Sulu, who lives in a small home in Taguig, Metro Manila-a home in danger of being foreclosed.

“Hindi ko kayang mag-shopping sa mall,” Kiram told I-Witness host Sandra Aguinaldo in the documentary Haring Walang Kaharian. “I don’t have the money to spend.”

Staking their claim

Politics plays a part in why Jamalul Kiram III’s family has fallen on hard times. He is only one of many descendants claiming the sultanate of Sulu—and with it, the ownership of Sabah. Since siblings may inherit the sultanate, there are several Kiram family members insisting that they are the rightful descendants of the original sultan.

According to Kiram, he is descended from Sultan Sharif ul-Hashim, the first sultan and founder of the Sulu Sultanate and a descendant of the Prophet  Mohammad, a report on Balitanghali said.

According to the report, Kiram was born in Maimbung, Sulu in 1938. He studied at Notre Dame of Jolo College and took up law at Manuel L. Quezon University.

His name first became familiar to the public in 2007, when he ran for senator under the ticket of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

He was part of Team Unity, along with Edgardo Angara, Joker Arroyo, Ralph Recto, and Tito Sotto. Although he did not win in the election, he was the leading candidate in Lanao del Norte, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

Before this, he served as Arroyo's Presidential Adviser on Muslim Royalty Concerns in 2005, was on the Joint Legislative and Executive Advisory Council on the Sabah Claim from 2000 to 2004, and was a member of the Philippine Olympic Committee from 1996 to 2000.

Based on information released by Malacañang, Kiram's father, Datu Punjungan Kiram, was a former Crown Prince but was stripped of his title. Punjungan was a brother of Sultan Esmail Kiram I.

When Esmail died, his son Mahakuttah Kiram was crowned sultan. But even then, Jamalul's father insisted his was the rightful claim to the throne.

Mahakuttah Kiram was the last sultan of Sulu to be recognized by the Philippine government, and was installed with a public coronation by President Ferdinand Marcos in 1974, according to the Royal Sultanate of Sulu website.

But in his résumé, obtained by GMA News Research when he ran for senator in 2007, Jamalul III claimed he was proclaimed the 33rd sultan of Sulu in 1984, and crowned in 1986, the Balitanghali report said.

According to Malacañang, the information they released was not an official genealogical chart or family tree, nor did it represent the official position of the Philippines, the report said.

‘Sabah is never for sale’

Jamalul Kiram III shot back into the spotlight on February 9, 2013, when his brother, Raja Muda Azzimudie Kiram, and over a hundred supporters illegally entered Lahad Datu, Sabah to stake their claim on the land. By February 24, Malaysian troops had surrounded Kiram’s supporters and the Philippine government had sent a ship to Sabah, asking them to come home.

It has been decades since the Philippines actively pursued its claim on Sabah; however, the heirs of the Sultan of Sulu receive a nominal yearly rent from the Malaysian government. Once divided amongst themselves, a Kiram family member told ‘I-Witness,’ each heir receives less than P700.

A report by GMA News said that Kiram and his followers “were demanding recognition from Malaysia and a renegotiation of the original terms of lease…including a rent higher than the current paltry sum paid by the Malaysian government.”

These demands have been rejected by the Malaysian officials, and tension escalated until March 1—when the standoff turned violent and resulted in two dead Malaysian police officers and a reported 12 dead among Kiram’s supporters.

Despite this, Raja Muda’s group has no plans to return to the Philippines. In an earlier report by Malaysia’s The Star Online, he said their group was willing to fight to the death.

This echoes the statement Dayang Dayang Jacel Kiram, the sultan’s daughter, made to Sandra Aguinaldo in February: “This is not about money. This is about principle.”

Her words offer a look into the personal nature of the sultan’s claim: “Grabe ang pagkahanga ko sa daddy ko. Nakita ko yung pinagtiisan niya with all the offers that have been made to him. He did not take them because my lolo said that Sabah is never for sale.”

‘Normal lang kami’

Back in the Philippines, the life of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III is suprisingly ordinary. He has nine children-and like ordinary parents, the sultan and his wife must find ways to make ends meet. Helping them are his two daughters, Dayang Dayang Jacel and Dayang Dayang Jahara.

Jahara, a call center agent, says there is “nothing special” about being a princess apart from having the dignity that comes with their family name.

“Normal lang kami,” she says. “Akala ng mga tao mayaman kami, pero nagko-commute ako sa office. ‘Yung salary, nagagamit para sa amang sumasailalim sa dialysis.”

Kiram is now suffering from kidney disease, and undergoes dialysis weekly.

Jahara remembers hearing tales of their family’s past—of a vast collection of gold, of how the crown prince was not allowed to set foot on the ground. “I was amazed,” she admits. “Napaisip ako, ‘bakit kaya ngayon, hindi na ganun?’”

Still, Jacel and Jahara both speak highly of their father, now 74 years old. Their father has received offers to sell Sabah for a lump sum, Jacel told ‘I-Witness,’ but he refused despite being in need of money.

Jacel added: “Ang assessment ko nga, yung pagiging sultan, ibinibigay yan sa pusong sultan—sa may mabuting puso.”

A question of finances

As of March 4, the Raja Muda group still refuses to return to the Philippines. President Benigno Aquino III has stated that the Kiram family did not have the resources to stage the standoff, and called upon their alleged “backers” to stop aggravating the situation: “Hindi po kakayanin ng angkan ni Sultan Jamalul Kiram III na gawing mag-isa ang ganitong uri ng pagkilos.”

Aquino added that while the Philippines’ claim to Sabah stands, the supporters of Kiram should not have acted without the Filipino government.

“Pinalubha nila ang isyung ito, at ginagawa nila ito habang inilalagay sa peligro ang daan-daang libong Pilipino,” said Aquino, saying that the current situation is one without a solution in view.

What the Kiram family plans to do in the event that Sabah is ceded to them isn’t clear, either. After all, how would you develop a province and take care of its people if the sultanate itself is penniless?

A line from Aguinaldo’s documentary reflects on this problem: “Wala na ang karangyaan at kapangyarihan. Ano pa nga ba ang silbi ng hari kung wala na ang kaharian?”

‘I am the sultan of Sulu’

There are many things complicating Jamalul Kiram III’s claim to Sabah—the contested line of succession, their family’s difficult financial status, the violent standoff in Lahad Datu.

But if you ask the family, they say they will never give up on their claim, nor will they tire of spreading the word to whoever will listen.

Princess Fatima Kiram, the sultan’s wife and spokesperson, told ‘I-Witness’ that her husband’s resolve is firm: “Siya ‘yung taong...’if this is God’s will,’ lagi niyang sinasabi ‘yun. If you believe in God, you don’t regret.”

When asked how he would like to be remembered, Jamalul Kiram III’s answer was simple: “As a generous leader...[I am] the sultan of Sulu.” - BM, GMA News

note: a few sentences from the original article were not being copied


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