Some 1,000 Filipino-Muslim fighters from the southern Philippines were deployed secretly and separately in Sabah to help press the royal Muslim family’s claim over Sabah, but they were ordered not to disrupt Malaysia’s May 5 national elections, a newspaper has reported.
Sultan of Sulu, Jamalul Kiram III, gave orders that the new troops that joined Raja Mudda Agbimuddin Kiram in Lahad Datu, should not disrupt Malaysia’s parliamentary elections on May 5, spokesman Abraham Idjirani told Manila Standard.
He did not clarify if the Sultan of Sulu ordered a unilateral ceasefire.
Identifying the 1,000 more fighters that joined Raja Mudda Agbimuddin’s remaining 400 troops in Lahad Datu, Idjirani said, “We don’t know if they are members of the Moro National Liberation Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Most of them have changed their identities upon their arrival in Sabah. [While there] they’re no longer MNLF or MILF.”
The two Front’s have forged pro-autonomy political settlements with the Philippine government in 1997, and in 2013.
Revealing the Sultanate of Sulu’s strategy in Sabah, Idjirani said they would break up into separate groups and launch hit-and-run campaigns against the Malaysian forces in places other than Lahad Datu.
“This is a big help to the Rajah Sultanate Force (RSF) in order to contain the Malaysian security forces in the area,” Idjirani said, but did not give more details.
Malaysian and Philippine marines have blocked the Sulu Sea that separates Sabah and Mindanao, in the southern Philippines, since the Filipino-Muslim fighters occupied Tandauo village in early February.
Idjirani’s revelation countered Defence Minister Datu Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who told Bernama, a Malaysian state-run news agency, that Malaysian Armed Forces and police are on the lookout for the possible entry of Filipino-Muslim fighters to Sabah.
In 1650, the Sultan of Brunei gave Sabah to the Sultan of Sulu.
The Malaysian government is still paying the heirs of the Sultan of Sulu, for Sabah’s lease. This was done starting 1780, by the British North Borneo, which operated on Sabah when the British government colonised Malaysia.
Sabah is the second largest state in Malaysia today after Sarawak.