KL ‘divide’ tactic rued

Malaysian government officials have been talking to certain Sulu Sultanate members who reside in Sabah, efforts being described as part of a “divide and rule” tactic by Kuala Lumpur (KL).

A Sultanate official decried yesterday what he perceived as an attempt of Malaysia to muddle the decision of the French arbitral court to award $14.9 billion to the heirs.

Malaysia was accused of contract breach after it suspended the yearly payment of 5,300 Malaysian ringgit in the aftermath of the Lahad Datu incursion of 2013.

The official who requested anonymity told Daily Tribune that just as Malaysia did in the past, it is again sowing intrigue to muddle the Sabah claim by negotiating with the alleged heirs of the Sultanate who are now Malaysian citizens.

The objective of Malaysia is to discredit the existing hierarchy in the Sultanate of Sulu, the official added.

“Malaysia must only negotiate and talk with the eight claimants that filed the case in the French court. Malaysia knows the names and their whereabouts and Malaysia will surely find a cause to counter filing a case if they are in Malaysia,” the official said.

He was reacting to a report that the Malaysian government and the descendants of the Sultanate of Sulu based in Sabah are now negotiating a possible compromise deal.

The report said Sultanate heirs who are now Malaysian citizens are coordinating with their relatives in Sulu in informing them that alleged emissaries have relayed to them a possible compromise agreement.

“Malaysia is now willing to talk with the claimants who filed the case before the international arbitration tribunal,” the report said.

Rexie Efren Bugaring, one of the lawyers of the heirs, confirmed the ongoing talks but declined to comment on their details, saying divulging such specifics would breach the lawyer-client relationship.

Malaysia’s effort was likened to Kuala Lumpur allegedly creating a rift within the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) to discredit the mainstream rebel group and to muck up the sponsored peace talks with another group despite the existing 1996 peace agreement.

The abandonment of peace talks triggered the Zamboanga fighting that resulted in the death of hundreds of people.

He said that for the past decades, this group was passive observers in the political struggle of the MNLF and the Sultanate, but that they are trying to ride on the political gains of Lahad Datu.

“Blood of Tausugs from the Sultanate Royal army and MNLF fighters were already shed in Lahad Datu in Malaysia,” he said.

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