In September 2015, an apparent yellow attempt was launched to drop the Sabah claim through a Malaysian-backed maneuver that would support a pretender to the Sulu sultanate.
The whole operation, in an apparent slip of the tongue of the designated crown prince of Sulu, implicated a 2016 presidential bet named Maruas.
“The identity of Maruas should be established since what he did was high treason, particularly if he or she is a government official.
A certain Datu Khudar S. J. Kiram II, 59, surfaced and claimed to be the direct descendant of Sultan Jamalul Kiram II, the second son of Sultan Jamalul Alam.
Jamalul Alam was the sultan who signed the lease agreement with British Baron Gustav von Overbeck and Alfred Dent on 22 January 1878 in Sulu and Khudar claimed he was in possession of the Sabah grant.
Out of nowhere, Khudar pledged to end the Sultanate’s claim over Sabah and “liberate” Sulu under an independent monarchy to be called Sulu Darul Jambangan.
Khudar declared in Malaysia a press conference which he planned to hold in Sulu where he would announce that the Philippine government would no longer have the right to interfere in the affairs of the Sulu sultanate.
Khudar, who allegedly grew up in Sabah, said then he would also announce the sultanate would be dropping its claim on the territory and, at the same time, Sulu would seek independence from the “Christian Manila government.”
Aside from the Philippine presidential elections the following year, then Malaysian President Najib Razak was looking for a booster for his 2018 re-election bid.
A solution to the Sabah conflict would have been key to his campaign.
Najib was, however, handily beaten by veteran Mahathir Mohammad; he is now facing prosecution for graft over the 1MDB scandal.
Nothing was heard from Khudar afterwards since the ploy was apparently too unbelievable to fly, but the mystery remains on the identity of “presidential candidate” Maruas since there was no Muslim bet at that time.
The 2016 poll was indeed won by a candidate from Mindanao who claims to have Muslim blood who is now President Rodrigo Duterte who definitely is not Maruas.
The self-proclaimed Sulu Datu suddenly turned up in Malaysia after the death of Sultan Esmail Kiram II, the acknowledged Sulu sultan who launched the tragic Lahad Datu intrusion in 2013.
Since then, Najib had been looking for a permanent way to prevent another Sabah intrusion.
The mention of “Maruas” also becomes significant since Khudar talked of “gold” and assistance to those who will help set up the independent monarchy.
The Sulu Datu appears then to be extremely confident of getting backing from Maruas.
Maruas could have promised the same treatment to the Sulu Datu as that of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s Bangsamoro.
The identity of Maruas should be established since what he did was high treason, particularly if he or she is a government official.
In March 2015, a controversy also arose from a note verbale the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) issued to Malaysia supposedly downgrading the country’s Sabah claim in exchange for Malaysia’s support to the arbitration case against China over the disputed West Philippine Sea before the United Nations.
After the memorandum was leaked, the administration of President Noynoy Aquino disputed the intent of the message sent to the Malaysian embassy as it said Sabah was not included in the note verbale.
After much noise from some House members, calls for the supposed investigation on the contents of the note verbale suddenly died down immediately after selective justice priestess Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales filed charges against a new batch of accused legislators in the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam.
It also can’t be helped to remember a former rumor about Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., the father of Noynoy, who allegedly promised Malaysia in 1983 that the Philippines would drop its claim over Sabah in exchange for its support in ousting strongman Ferdinand Marcos.
The revelation was made by Hermes Dorado, former national territory division head of the DFA, who said Aquino met with Mahathir, who was also then the Malaysian Prime Minister, before he went back to the Philippines and was assassinated on 21 August 1983.
Dorado said there were no official records of the supposed meeting between Aquino and Mahathir, but said he “became privy to this bit of intelligence” from former ambassador and retired general Rafael Ileto.
The rat Maruas, which is a name that sounds familiar to a 2016 yellow bet and is now found in the Otso Diretso lineup, appeared to have made a similar offer to the Malaysians.