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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Malaysia’s Attorney General on The “Sabah Claim”


by Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail (04-04-14)@http://www.nst.com.my

ESSENTIAL PART OF MALAYSIA: The Sulu sultanate’s claim to the state collapses upon closer inspection.

Respect for MalaysiaTHE claim to Sabah is one that has over the years been intermittently pursued by a Sulu sultanate, one that is self-proclaimed and headed by a self-styled sultan.
This claim is in itself with no basis either in history or under the law and collapses upon detailed inspection.
This article is aimed at giving an overview of the key events in time that led to the legitimising of the creation of Malaysia, with Sabah as an essential component part, and discusses the status of Sabah in light of international legal principles on the right to self-determination.
Gani's Book
As recorded through available historical agreements, documents and other publications, the greater part of the lands that today constitute the territory of Sabah once came under the control of the Sultan of Brunei and the Sultanate of Sulu.
However, over time, the North Borneo lands gradually and by separate grants came under the control of the British North Borneo Company, the British government before finally constituting part of the Federation of Malaysia.
 In 1877, the sultan of Brunei and the Pengiran Temenggong of Brunei entered into four grants to transfer parts of the Sultan of Brunei’s domains to Gustavus Baron de Overbeck, the Austria/Hungary consul-general in Hong Kong, and Alfred Dent Esquire, merchant and entrepreneur of the commercial house of Dent Brothers and Company of London.
During this time, Overbeck and Dent learnt that the territory in the northeast coast of Borneo, which formed a large portion of the territory ceded to them in the Brunei grants, was in fact in the possession of the sultan of Sulu.
Overbeck and Dent, thus, decided to secure a further grant from the Sultan of Sulu. They succeeded in doing so and on Jan 22, 1878, Overbeck and Dent acquired from Sultan Jamal Al Alam, in consideration of the sum of $5,000 Malayan annum, the grant and cession of parts of the island of Borneo.
On the same day, the Sultan of Sulu also commissioned Overbeck as Bendahara and Raja of Sandakan, granting him the powers and rights over the territories usually reserved for sovereign rulers.
A similar commission was also granted to Overbeck in 1877 by the Sultan of Brunei. In 1880, Overbeck sold his rights and interests under the 1877 and 1878 grants and commissions to Dent, who subsequently in 1881, obtained a royal charter from the British Government.
The charter in effect incorporated the British North Borneo Company and transferred the full benefit of the grants and commissions to the said company.
The British North Borneo would later become a British protectorate in 1888. At around the same time, by virtue of the Madrid Protocol of 1885, which was signed between Spain, the United Kingdom and Germany, the UK and Germany recognised Spain’s sovereignty over the Sulu archipelago, while Spain renounced its claim to North Borneo in favour of the UK.
After the collapse of the Spanish government in Manila, by the Treaty of December 10, 1898, Spain ceded all its sovereignty over “…the archipelago known as the Philippine islands” to the United States.
Subsequent thereto, by virtue of the treaty of November 7, 1900, between the US and Spain, the latter “relinquish[ed] to the United States all title and claim of title . . . to any and all islands belonging to the Philippine archipelago”, which had not been covered by the treaty of December 10, 1898.
On March 22, 1915, the Carpenter Agreement was entered into between the sultan of Sulu and the US whereby the sultan ratified and confirmed his recognition of the US’ sovereignty in Mindanao and Sulu.
When North Borneo was finally liberated from the Japanese occupation, Gani Patailwhich spanned from January 1942 to September 1945, and after the time of British military administration ended on July 15, 1946, North Borneo, including Labuan, was made a crown colony administered by a governor assisted by an executive council and a legislative council.
With reference to the cabinet memorandum, policy in regard to Malaya and Borneo of 1945, it was clear that the British government itself was keen to assume and believed that it was assuming “sovereign and administrative rights” over North Borneo.
The North Borneo Cession Order in Council 1946, which came into operation on July 15, 1946, annexed the state of North Borneo to Britain and made it a part of His Majesty’s dominions called, together with the Settlement of Labuan and its dependencies, the colony of North Borneo.
Thereafter, from 1946 to 1963, pursuant to its obligations under the United Nations Charter, the UK (as the administering power of a non-self-governing territory) reported on North Borneo to the relevant committee established under Article 73(e) of the United Nations Charter.
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Sabahans waving the Jalur Gemilang during Malaysia Day celebrations in Kota Kinabalu on September 16, 2012
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Gani Patail’s Book extinguishes the proclamations made on Sabah

By Shalina R
“We thought it is high-time the public is informed about our stance on the claims that have been made,” said Malaysia’s Attorney General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail at the Political Transformation Conference held at the Magellan Resort in Kota Kinabalu on April 2nd.
“The research for this book started at least three or four years ago. The materials were collected and retrieved by colleagues who, some of them, travelled to different countries including the United States of America in order to do so,” said Gani.
“We have done an extensive amount of research which includes articles and documents that have become very important to us and through this book we are able to cite it to you without prejudice,” he said while also citing the United Nation Secretary General’s report as one of the reference materials used to garner more information.
Gani took the initiative to detail the status and historical background of Sabah through his book entitled ‘Putting to Rest the Claim to Sabah by the Self-proclaimed Sultanate of Sulu’. He also explains Malaysia’s position under international law and discusses the claims of the Sulu and Philippines on Sabah.
According to the Attorney General, the book details the exact happenings and the agreements that were set during the times of Gustav Baron Von Overbeck as well as British North Borneo Company Founder Alfred Dent. The book also outlines the events that led Sabah to join the Federation of Malaya which ultimately culminated in the formation Malaysia. Besides that, Gani also touches on the subject of Cobbold Commission in his book.
“I think a lot of people have been talking about and are confused about the details of the Cobbold Commission,” he said. “I thought maybe just this once, I would pen down what was reported exactly in order to provide clarity over the subject.”
The 149-page book is jointly published by Razak School of Government and the Malaysian Institute of Translation and Books. The RM30 book is expected to be available in the market by this week and it can also be purchased online at ecommerce.itbm.com.my.
“I must thank the people in my department and acknowledge the efforts that they have made,” said the Attorney General. “They put their heads together and did all the research.”
Gani’s book will be launched by Sabah’s Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman at the opening of the Political Transformation Conference which will be held at the Magellan Sutera Resort on April 3rd. – Insight Sabah
Posted on April 3, 2013

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