Lahad Datu siege remembered

The Sultanate of Sulu commenced the commemoration of the February 2013 “bloody homecoming” of nearly 250 Tausugs who came by boat to Lahad Datu in Sabah from Tawi-Tawi, an official of the clan told Daily Tribune.

The official said Malaysia overreacted in the Lahad Datu incident as the Tausugs had been visiting Sabah even before Malaysia was formed in 1963.

A total of 56 were killed, three were wounded, and hundreds of the “visitors” sent over by Jamalul Kiram III, one of the claimants to the throne of the Sultanate of Sulu, were arrested by Malaysian forces.

At least 10 Malaysian soldiers died in the fighting, according to accounts.

Malaysia claimed the Tausugs were armed and had intended to seize Lahad Datu. It used the clash as an excuse to stop paying rent for Sabah to the Sultanate.

In March last year, a French arbitral court ordered Malaysia to pay the sultanate $14.91 billion representing the total unpaid rent.

As Malaysia did not participate in the French court’s proceedings and has refused to pay up, the lawyers of the sultanate have started seizure proceedings against Malaysian properties abroad.

Sabah was ceded by the Sultan of Brunei to the Sultan of Sulu in 1658 as payment for the latter’s help in quelling a revolt in North Borneo.

When Malaysia was formed, it took control of Sabah but acknowledged the Sulu sultanate’s sovereignty over it by paying rent.

The sultanate official, who requested anonymity, insisted the late Crown Prince Rajah Muda and his men were not intruders but were long-time residents of Lahad Datu.

A teacher, Rajah Muda, was offered a job as deputy administrator or vice mayor of a town in Sabah and his family were official guests of Malaysia as members of the sultanate, the official said.

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