North Borneo dispute

The North Borneo dispute is the territorial dispute between the Federation of Malaysia and the Republic of the Philippines over much of the eastern part of the state of Sabah, a territory known as North Borneo prior to the formation of the Malaysian federation. The Philippines, presenting itself as the successor state of the Sultanate of Sulu, retains a "dormant claim" on Sabah on the basis that the territory was only leased to the British North Borneo Company in 1878, with the sovereignty of the Sultanate (and subsequently the Republic) over the territory never having been relinquished.[2] However, Malaysia considers this dispute as a "non-issue" as it interprets the 1878 agreement as that of cession[3] and that it deems that the residents of Sabah had exercised their right to self-determination when they joined to form the Malaysian federation in 1963.[4]

North Borneo Dispute territory
  Territory in the 1878 agreement: from the Pandassan River on the north west coast to the Sibuco River in the south[1]

1878 Agreement

Brunei (left) Sulu (right) Overbeck
(Left) The first concession treaty was signed by Sultan Abdul Momin of Brunei on 29 December 1877, appointing Baron de Overbeck as the Maharaja Sabah, Rajah Gaya and Sandakan.[5]
(Right) The second concession treaty was signed by Sultan Jamal ul-Azam of Sulu on 22 January 1878 also appointing Baron de Overbeck as Dato Bendahara and Raja Sandakan, approximately three weeks after signature of the first treaty.[6]

On 22 January 1878, the Sultanate of Sulu and a British commercial syndicate made up of Alfred Dent and Baron von Overbeck signed an agreement, which, depending on the translation used, stipulated that North Borneo was either ceded or leased to the British syndicate in return for a payment of 5,000 Malayan dollars per year.[7][8]

The 1878 agreement was written in Malay using the Jawi script, in which the contentious wordings are as follows:

sudah kuredhai pajakan dengan keredhaan dan kesukaan kita sendiri kepada tuan Gustavus Baron von Overbeck yang tinggal dalam negeri Hong Kong dan kepada Alfred Dent Esquire yang tinggal dalam negeri London... sampai selama-lamanya sekalian perintah dan kuasa yang kita punya yang takluk kepada kita di tanah besar Pulau Borneo dari Sungai Pandasan di sebelah barat sampai sepanjang semua tanah di pantai sebelah timur sejauh Sungai Sibuku di sebelah selatan.[9]

The keyword in the agreement is the ambiguous term pajakan, a Malay term which was translated by Spanish linguists in 1878 and by American anthropologists H. Otley Beyer and Harold Conklin in 1946 as "arrendamiento" or "lease".[10][11][12] However, the British used the interpretation of historian Najeeb Mitry Saleeby in 1908 and William George Maxwell and William Summer Gibson in 1924, which translated pajak as "grant and cede".[13][14][15][16] It can be argued however, that "pajakan" means "mortgage" or "pawn" or even "wholesale", as per the contemporary meaning of "pajakan" in Sulu and Malay.[17][18] Furthermore, the term "selama-lama" which means "forever" or "in perpetuity" indicate a binding effect beyond the lifetime of the then Sultan. The ambiguity led to the different interpretation of the original Malay text, as shown in two versions below:

British version
...hereby grant and cede of our own free and sovereign will to Gustavus Baron de Overbeck of Hong Kong and Alfred Dent Esquire of London...and assigns for ever and in perpetuity all the rights and powers belonging to us over all the territories and lands being tritutary to us on the mainland of the island of Borneo commencing from the Pandassan River on the north-west coast and extending along the whole east coast as far as the Sibuco River in the south...[13]
Sulu version hereby lease of our own freewill and satisfaction to...all the territories and lands being tributary to [us] together with their heirs, associates, successors and assigns forever and until the end of time, all rights and powers which we possess over all territories and lads tributary to us on the mainland of the Island of Borneo, commencing from the Pandassan River on the west coast to Maludu Bay, and extending along the whole east coast as far as Sibuco River on the south...[10]

However, it is acknowledged that the British never paid such compensation to the Sultanate of Sulu but during a meeting of Maphilindo between the Philippine, Malayan and Indonesian governments in 1963, the Philippine government said the Sultan of Sulu wanted the payment of 5,000 from the Malaysian government.[19] The first Malaysian Prime Minister at the time, Tunku Abdul Rahman said he would go back to Kuala Lumpur and get on the request.[19] Since then, the Malaysian Embassy in the Philippines issues a check in the amount of 5,300 ringgit (US$1710 or about 77,000 Philippine pesos) to the legal counsel of the heirs of the Sultan of Sulu. Malaysia considers the amount an annual “cession” payment for the land, while the sultan’s descendants consider it “rent”.[20]

The foregoing Sulu claim rests on the treaty signed by Sultan Jamalul Alam of Sulu appointing Baron de Overbeck as Dato Bendahara and Raja Sandakan on 22 January 1878. However, a further, earlier treaty signed by Sultan Abdul Momin of Brunei appointed Baron de Overbeck as the Maharaja Sabah, Rajah Gaya and Sandakan. This was signed on 29 December 1877, and granted the territories of Paitan as far as the Sibuco River,[21] which overlaps the Sulu Sultanate's claim of their dominion in Sabah. In 1877, the Brunei Sultanate still believed and maintained that the territory was under its control.[6]

Madrid Protocol

1848-1899 sulu ph
The Madrid Protocol in 1885 making North Borneo under the control of British North Borneo Company while the Sulu Archipelago and the rest of the Philippine islands was under the control of Spanish East Indies.

As attested to by the International Court of Justice, the Sultan of Sulu relinquished the sovereign rights over all his possessions in favour of Spain, based on the "Bases of Peace and Capitulation" signed by the Sultan of Sulu and the crown of Spain in Jolo on 22 July 1878.[22] The Sultan stayed on as ruler in protectorate status.[23]

In 1885, Great Britain, Germany and Spain signed the Madrid Protocol to cement Spanish influence over the islands of the Philippines. In the same agreement, Spain relinquished all claims to North Borneo which had belonged to the Sultanate in the past in favour of Great Britain.[24]

The Spanish Government renounces, as far as regards the British Government, all claims of sovereignty over the territories of the continent of Borneo, which belong, or which have belonged in the past to the Sultan of Sulu (Jolo), and which comprise the neighbouring islands of Balambangan, Banguey, and Malawali, as well as all those comprised within a zone of three maritime leagues from the coast, and which form part of the territories administered by the Company styled the "British North Borneo Company".

— Article III, Madrid Protocol of 1885

1903 Confirmation of Cession of certain island

On 22 April 1903, the successor of Sultan Jamalul Alam, Sultan Jamalul Kiram II, signed a document known as "Confirmation of cession of certain islands", under which he grant and ceded additional islands, in addition to the land agreed upon in 1878, in the vicinity of the mainland of North Borneo from Banggi Island to Sibuku Bay to British North Borneo Company.[25]

In the 1903 agreement, the ambiguous term "pajakan" was no longer used, but instead the phrase "kita telah keredhai menyerahkan kepada pemerintah British North Borneo" which literally means "we have willingly surrendered to the Government of British North Borneo" was used in the agreement, asserting the understanding of the Sulu Sultanate of that time of the meaning of the earlier agreement in 1878.[26]

The confirmatory deed of 1903 makes it known and understood between the two parties that the islands mentioned were included in the cession of the districts and islands mentioned on 22 January 1878 agreement. Additional cession money was set at 300 dollars a year with arrears due for past occupation of 3,200 dollars. The originally agreed 5,000 dollars increased to 5,300 dollars per year payable annually.[27][28][29][note 1]

Macaskie decision of 1939

CO 1069-520-04 (7894154996) 01
Charles Frederick Cunningham Macaskie (1888–1969), c. 1910–1920.

In 1939, propriety claimants Dayang Dayang Hadji Piandao and eight other heirs filed a civil suit regarding the "cession money" payable to the heirs of Sultan of Sulu—the then incumbent Jamalul Kiram II having died childless in June 1936. Chief Justice C. F. C. Macaskie of the High Court of North Borneo ruled on the share entitlement of each claimant.[30]

This ruling has often been quoted by proponents of the Sulu Sultanate's claim as proof of North Borneo's acknowledgment of the sultan's ownership of the territory, although it was made solely to determine who as heir was entitled to the "cession money" of 5,300 Malaysian ringgit per year.

Philippine claim

Map of British North Borneo, yellow area covered by the Philippine claim
Map of the British North Borneo with the yellow area covered the Philippine claim to eastern Sabah, presented by the Philippine Government to ICJ on 25 June 2001.[31]
Malaysian Lease Payment for Sabah for 2003
Annual "Cession Money" payment by Malaysian Embassy to the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu
Sultan of Sulu and Suite.

The Sultanate of Sulu was granted the north-eastern part of the territory as a prize for helping the Sultan of Brunei against his enemies in 1658. However, on 22 July 1878, the Sultanate of Sulu relinquished the sovereign rights over all his possessions in favour of Spain, based on the "Bases of Peace and Capitulation" signed by the Sultan of Sulu and Spain in Jolo. The Spanish then claimed the area in northern Borneo but ending its claim soon under the Madrid Protocol of 1885 after the United Kingdom and Germany recognised its presence in the Philippine archipelago in return for the Spanish to stop interfering the British affairs in northern Borneo.[24] Once the protocol had been ratified, the British North Borneo Chartered company proceeded with the administration of North Borneo, and in 1888, North Borneo became a British protectorate.[32]

On 15 July 1946, the North Borneo Cession Order in Council, 1946, declared that the State of North Borneo is annexed to the British Crown, hence becoming a British colony.[33] In September 1946, F. B. Harrison, former American Governor-General of the Philippines, urged the Philippine Government to protest this proclamation. America posited the claim on the premise that Spain had never acquired sovereignty over North Borneo, and thus did not have the right to transfer claims of sovereignty over North Borneo to the United Kingdom in the Madrid Protocol of 1885.[34] This argument however, contradicts the treaty made between Spain and the Sultanate of Sulu in 1878, which expressly states that all of the territory of the Sultanate of Sulu is relinquished to Spain. Furthermore, the American view may be based on an erroneous interpretation of that part of the 1878 and the earlier 1836 treaties, that excluded North Borneo from the Sulu transfer to Spanish sovereignty (when in fact the exclusion merely referred to Spanish protection offered to the Sultan of Sulu in case he was attacked). The United States based government also refused to intervene in the dispute, officially maintaining a neutral stance on the matter and continuing to recognise Sabah as part of Malaysia.[35]

Implementation of the Manila Accord.djvu
Exchange of notes constituting an agreement relating to the implementation of the Manila Accord of 31 July 1963 between Philippines and Malaysia.[36]

On 12 September 1962, during President Diosdado Macapagal's administration, the Philippine government claimed the territory of North Borneo, and the full sovereignty, title and dominion over it were "ceded" by the heirs of Sultan of Sulu, Muhammad Esmail E. Kiram I, to the Philippines.[37] The Philippines broke off diplomatic relations with Malaysia after the federation was formed with Sabah in 1963, but probably resumed relations unofficially through the Manila Accord, in which the Philippines made it clear that its position on the inclusion of North Borneo in the Federation of Malaysia was subject to the final outcome of the Philippine claim to North Borneo. The representatives of Indonesia and the Federation of Malaya seconded that the inclusion of North Borneo into the aforementioned Federation "would not prejudice either the claim or any right thereunder".[38] It was revealed later in 1968 that President Ferdinand Marcos was training a team of militants on Corregidor known as Operation Merdeka for infiltration into Sabah.[39] The plan failed as a result of the Jabidah massacre.[40][41] Diplomatic ties were resumed in 1989 and succeeding Philippine administrations have placed the claim in abeyance in the interests of pursuing cordial economic and security relations with Kuala Lumpur.

Republic Act 5446 in the Philippines, which took effect on 18 September 1968, regards Sabah as a territory "over which the Republic of the Philippines has acquired dominion and sovereignty".[42] On 16 July 2011, the Supreme Court ruled that the Philippine claim over Sabah is retained and may be pursued in the future.[43] To date, Malaysia maintains that the Sabah claim is a non-issue and non-negotiable, thereby rejecting any calls from the Philippines to resolve the matter in ICJ. Sabah authorities stated in 2009 that they see the claim made by the Philippines' Moro leader Nur Misuari to take Sabah to International Court of Justice (ICJ) as a non-issue and that they dismiss the claim.[44]

Attempts at withdrawing claim

At the ASEAN Summit on 4 August 1977, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos announced that the Philippines would take “definite steps to eliminate one of the burdens of ASEAN — the claim of the Philippine Republic to Sabah”.[45][46] The statement, however was not followed through,[47] despite negotiations[48] and reassurances made by Marcos again in 1984 with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.[46]

A bill, certified urgent by President Corazon Aquino to repeal Republic Act 5446 was filed by Leticia Ramos Shahani in the Philippine Senate in 1987.[48] The bill was widely criticised for effectively dropping the country's claim over the territory. Muslim members of Congress also voiced their strong opposition to the measure for fears it would “endanger” the proprietary rights of the Sultanate of Sulu. This eventually led Shahani to not pursue the bill's passage.[49][50]

Formation of Malaysia

Manila Accord (31 July 1963).djvu
Manila Accord between the Philippines, the Federation of Malaya, and Indonesia signed at Manila on 31 July 1963.[51]

Prior to the formation of the Malaysia, two commissions of enquiry visited North Borneo, along with neighbouring Sarawak, to establish the state of public opinion there regarding merger with Malaya (and Singapore). The commission was mandated to address self-determination of the people of Sabah, i.e., the right of the people of Sabah to freely determine their own political status and freely pursue their own economic, social and cultural development. The first commission, usually known as the Cobbold Commission was established by the Malayan and British governments and was headed by Lord Cobbold, along with two representatives of Malaya and Britain (but neither of the territories under investigation). The Commission found that 'About one third of the population of each territory [i.e. of North Borneo and of Sarawak] strongly favours early realisation of Malaysia without too much concern over terms and conditions. Another third, many of them favourable to the Malaysia project, ask, with varying degrees of emphasis, for conditions and safeguards. The remaining third is divided between those who insist upon independence before Malaysia is considered and those who would strongly prefer to see British rule continue for some years to come'.[52] The Commission published its report on 1 August 1962 and had made several recommendations. Unlike in Singapore, however, no referendum was ever conducted in North Borneo and Sarawak.[53]

Indonesia and the Philippines rejected the findings of the Cobbold Commission. In 1963, a tripartite meeting was held in Manila between Indonesian president Sukarno, Philippines president Diosdado Macapagal and Malayan Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman. The three heads of state signed an agreement known as the Manila Accord, which stipulated that the inclusion of North Borneo as part of Malaysia would not prejudice either the claim or any right thereunder by the Philippines to the territory. It was further agreed to petition the UN to send another commission of enquiry and the Philippines and Indonesia agreed to drop their objection to the formation of Malaysia if the new commission found popular opinion in the territories in favour.

The UN Mission to Borneo was thus established, comprising members of the UN Secretariat from Argentina, Brazil, Ceylon, Czechoslovakia, Ghana, Pakistan, Japan and Jordan.[54] The Mission's report, authored by UN Secretary-General U Thant found ‘a sizeable majority of the people' in favour of joining Malaysia.[55][56] Indonesia and the Philippines subsequently rejected the report's findings – and Indonesia continued its semi-military policy of konfrontasi towards Malaysia.[57][58] The "referendum" did not involve the entire population of North Borneo and Sarawak at that time, but only representative consultations.[59] The UN mission report noted "(t)here was no reference to a referendum or plebiscite in the request..." and that "(t)he Mission accordingly arranged for consultations with the population through the elected representatives of the people, leaders of political parties and other groups and organisations, and with all persons who were willing to express their views".[60][61]

Related events

Philippine Flag with 4 stars and 9 rays
Emmanuel L. Osorio's proposal. Addition of a ninth ray to represent the Muslim and indigenous people and a fourth star for the Philippine-claimed parts of Sabah.

Sovereignty over Ligitan and Sipadan islands case

In 2002, in a case concerning sovereignty over Ligitan and Sipadan islands between Indonesia and Malaysia, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled in favour of Malaysia.[62] The two islands are located in the Celebes Sea off the northeast coast of Borneo. The case was decided based on Malaysia's effectivités (evidence of possession and use by a particular state that is effective to claim title) on the two islands as both Indonesia and Malaysia did not possess treaty-based titles on Ligitan and Sipadan.[63]

The Philippines applied to intervene in the case based on its territorial claim to North Borneo. Indonesia objected to the application and stated that the "Philippines raises no claim with respect to [the two islands] and maintains that the legal status of North Borneo is not a matter on which the Court has been asked to rule". Malaysia further contended that "the issue of sovereignty over Ligitan and Sipadan is completely independent of that of the status of North Borneo" and that "the territorial titles are different in the two cases".[63] The application was ultimately rejected by the ICJ because of the non-existence of an "interest of legal nature" such that the Court did not find how the decision on the case concerning the two islands would affect the Philippines' territorial claim to North Borneo.[64][65]

2013 Standoff

On 11 February 2013, a group of approximately 100–200 individuals, some of them armed, arrived by boat in Lahad Datu, Sabah from Simunul island, Tawi-Tawi in the southern Philippines.[66] They were sent by Jamalul Kiram III, one of the claimants to the throne of the Sultanate of Sulu. Their objective was to assert their unresolved territorial claim to North Borneo. During the ensuing standoff, 56 of his followers were killed, along with 6 civilians and 10 Malaysian soldiers.[67][68][69][70]

See also


  1. ^ "British North Borneo company charter (page 4)". 1878. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  2. ^ "East and Southeast Asia: the Philippines". CIA Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Archived from the original on 11 January 2010. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  3. ^ Campbell, Charlie (26 February 2013). "Sabah Standoff: Diplomatic Drama After Filipino Militants Storm Malaysia". TIME. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  4. ^ James W. Gould (1969). The United States and Malaysia. Harvard University Press. pp. 106–. ISBN 978-0-674-92615-8.
  5. ^ Rozan Yunos (21 September 2008). "How Brunei lost its northern province". The Brunei Times. Archived from the original on 17 June 2014. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  6. ^ a b Rozan Yunos (7 March 2013). "Sabah and the Sulu claims". The Brunei Times. Archived from the original on 17 June 2014. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  7. ^ International Court of Justice (2003). Summaries of Judgments, Advisory Opinions, and Orders of the International Court of Justice, 1997-2002. United Nations Publications. pp. 205–. ISBN 978-92-1-133541-5.
  8. ^ Keat Gin Ooi (1 January 2004). Southeast Asia: A Historical Encyclopedia, from Angkor Wat to East Timor. ABC-CLIO. pp. 1163–. ISBN 978-1-57607-770-2.
  9. ^ Hamdan Aziz (2016). "Tuntutan Kesultanan Sulu terhadap Sabah: Soroton dari Perspektif Sejarah dan Perundangan (The Claim Over Sabah by the Sultanate of Sulu: A Revision from Historical and Legal Perspective)" (PDF). Jurnal Antarabangsa Dunia Melayu (in Malay). 9: 284–285 – via Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.
  10. ^ a b "Translation by Professor Conklin of the Deed of 1878 in Arabic characters found by Mr. Quintero in Washington (Philippine Claim to North Borneo)". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. 1963. Archived from the original on 12 January 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  11. ^ "Contrato de Arrendo de Sandacan en Borneo, con el Baron de Overbeck" (in Spanish). Philippine Claim to North Borneo, Vol. I. 13 July 1878. Archived from the original on 12 January 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  12. ^ "Brief memorandum on the government of the Sultanate of Sulu and powers of the Sultan during the 19th century (The Philippine Claim to a Portion of North Borneo)". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. 8 December 1946. Archived from the original on 12 January 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  13. ^ a b British Government (1878). "British North Borneo Treaties. (British North Borneo, 1878)" (PDF). Sabah State Government (State Attorney-General's Chambers). Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  14. ^ Najeeb Mitry Saleeby (1908). "The History of Sulu". Ethnological Survey for Philippine Islands (Illustrated ed.). Bureau of Printing, Harvard University. p. 30. OCLC 3550427. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  15. ^ Maxwell, Willian George & Gibson, Willian Summer (1998). Treaties and Engagements Affecting the Malay States and Borneo. J. Truscott & Son, Limited. p. 205. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  16. ^ "1878 Grant of Lease by the Sultan of Sulu to Britain: Profession Conklin Translation vis a vis Maxwell and Gibson Translation". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. Archived from the original on 12 January 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  17. ^ Mohamed Ariff (1991). The Muslim Private Sector in Southeast Asia: Islam and the Economic Development of Southeast Asia. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. pp. 30–. ISBN 978-981-3016-09-5.
  18. ^ K.J . Allison (1979). "English Pilipino Sama Sibutu', BASIC VOCABULARY" (PDF). SUMMER INSTITUTE OF LINGUISTICS-Philippines, Inc., TRANSLATORS. p. 59. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
  19. ^ a b "Why 'Sultan' is dreaming". Daily Express. 27 March 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  20. ^ "WHAT WENT BEFORE: Sultan of Sulu's 9 principal heirs". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 23 February 2013. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
  21. ^ British Government (1877). "British North Borneo Treaties. (British North Borneo, 1877)" (PDF). Sabah State Government (State Attorney-General's Chambers). Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  22. ^ International Court of Justice (2003). Summaries of Judgments, Advisory Opinions, and Orders of the International Court of Justice, 1997-2002. United Nations Publications. pp. 268–. ISBN 978-92-1-133541-5.
  23. ^  • "Protocol between Spain and Sulu confirming the Bases of Peace and Capitulation etc., signed at Jolo". Oxford Historical Treaties. 22 July 1878. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
     • "Case Concerning of Sovereignty of Pulau Ligitan and Pulau Sipadan (Indonesia/Malaysia) [Memorial of Malaysia]" (PDF). International Court of Justice. 2 November 1999. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 June 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
     • Raymond Tombung (8 March 2013). "Sabah claim: A tale of two versions". Free Malaysia Today. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
     • "The last treaty between the Sultanate of Sulu and Spain, the Treaty of July 1878". Kahimyang. 21 July 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
     • British and Foreign State Papers. H.M. Stationery Office. 1888. pp. 1106–.
  24. ^ a b British Government (1885). "British North Borneo Treaties. (British North Borneo, 1885)" (PDF). Sabah State Government (State Attorney-General's Chambers). Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  25. ^ R. Haller-Trost (1 January 1998). The Contested Maritime and Territorial Boundaries of Malaysia: An International Law Perspective. Kluwer Law International. ISBN 978-90-411-9652-1.
  26. ^ Haller-Trost, R (1998). The Contested Maritime and Territorial Boundaries of Malaysia: An International Law Perspective. University of Michigan: Kluwer Law International. p. 155. ISBN 9789041196521.
  27. ^ Guenther Dahlhoff (June 2012). Bibliographic Set (2 Vol Set). International Court of Justice, Digest of Judgments and Advisory Opinions, Canon and Case Law 1946 - 2011. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. pp. 1133–. ISBN 90-04-23062-9.
  28. ^ British Government (1903). "British North Borneo Treaties. (British North Borneo, 1903)" (PDF). Sabah State Government (State Attorney-General's Chambers). Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  29. ^ Office of the President of the Philippines (2013). "CONFIRMATION by Sultan of Sulu of Cession of Certain Islands". Government of the Philippines. Archived from the original on 12 January 2016. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
  30. ^ Rodolfo Severino (2011). Where in the World is the Philippines?: Debating Its National Territory. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. pp. 42–. ISBN 978-981-4311-71-7.
  31. ^ Mohamad, Kadir (2009). "Malaysia's territorial disputes – two cases at the ICJ : Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks and South Ledge (Malaysia/Singapore), Ligitan and Sipadan [and the Sabah claim] (Malaysia/Indonesia/Philippines)" (PDF). Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations (IDFR), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia: 46. Retrieved 16 May 2014. Map of British North Borneo, highlighting in yellow colour the area covered by the Philippine claim, presented to the Court by the Philippines during the Oral Hearings at the ICJ on 25 June 2001
  32. ^ Olson, James Stuart; Shadle, Robert (1996). Historical Dictionary of the British Empire. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 192–. ISBN 978-0-313-29366-5.
  33. ^ "The North Borneo Cession Order in Council 1946". Official Gazette. Government of the Philippines. 10 July 1946. Archived from the original on 2 February 2016 – via (effective as of 15 July 1946)
  34. ^ Severino, Rodolfo (2011). Where in the World is the Philippines?: Debating Its National Territory. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. pp. 40–. ISBN 978-981-4311-71-7.
  35. ^ Hawkins, Michael Gary (2008). Co-producing the Postcolonial: U.S.-Philippine Cinematic Relations, 1946--1986. ProQuest. pp. 350–. ISBN 978-0-549-89836-8.
  36. ^ "PHILIPPINES and MALAYSIA" (PDF). United Nations. 1967. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  37. ^ "Cession and transfer of the territory of North Borneo by His Highness, Sultan Mohammad Esmail Kiram, Sultan of Sulu, acting with the consent and approval of the Ruma Bechara, in council assembled, to the Republic of the Philippines". Government of the Philippines. 24 April 1962. Archived from the original on 7 February 2016. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  38. ^ "Treaties and international agreements registered or filed and recorded with the Secretariat of the United Nations" (PDF). United Nations. 1967. p. 362. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  39. ^ "Marcos order: Destabilize, take Sabah". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 2 April 2000. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  40. ^ Whitman, Paul F. (2002). "The Corregidor Massacre - 1968". Corregidor Historic Society. Archived from the original on 13 September 2015. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
  41. ^ Latiph, Acram (13 March 2013). "Sabah – the question that won't go away". New Mandala. Archived from the original on 23 September 2016. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  42. ^ "An Act to Amend Section One of Republic Act Numbered Thirty Hundred and forty-six, Entitled "An Act to Define the Baselines of the Territorial Sea of the Philippines" [Approved: 18 September 1968]". Philippine Laws and Jurisprudence Databank. Archived from the original on 12 January 2016. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  43. ^ "G.R No. 187167". Supreme Court of the Philippines. 16 July 2011. Archived from the original on 12 January 2016. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  44. ^ "Call for ICJ arbitration dismissed". The Star. 29 May 2008. Archived from the original on 12 January 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  45. ^ Richardson, Michael (5 August 1977). "Marcos drops Philippine claim to Sabah". The Age. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  46. ^ a b "President Ferdinand Marcos said today he had proposed talks..." United Press International. 24 February 1984. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  47. ^ Francisco Tatad (15 February 2017). "KL may now agree to talk, shall we go for it?". The Manila Times. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  48. ^ a b Quezon, Manuel L. III (2 March 2013). "North Borneo (Sabah): An annotated timeline 1640s-present". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  49. ^ Tordesillas, Ellen (19 February 2013). "'Bizarre' standoff in Sabah". Yahoo News! Philippines. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  50. ^ de Castro Jr., Isagani (2010). N Ganesan; Ramses Amer (eds.). International Relations in Southeast Asia: Between Bilateralism and Multilateralism. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. p. 232. ISBN 9814279579.
  51. ^ "PHILIPPINES, FEDERATION OF MALAYA and INDONESIA" (PDF). United Nations. 1965. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  52. ^ Report of the Commission of Enquiry: North Borneo and Sarawak, 1962, HMSO, 1962
  53. ^ Luke Rintod (8 March 2013). "'There was no Sabah referendum'". Free Malaysia Today. Archived from the original on 10 March 2013. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  54. ^ Philip Mathews (28 February 2014). Chronicle of Malaysia: Fifty Years of Headline News, 1963-2013. Editions Didier Millet. pp. 29–. ISBN 978-967-10617-4-9.
  55. ^ Thomas R. Mockaitis (1995). British Counterinsurgency in the Post-imperial Era. Manchester University Press. pp. 22–. ISBN 978-0-7190-3919-5.
  56. ^ Bradley R. Simpson (28 March 2008). Economists with Guns: Authoritarian Development and U.S.-Indonesian Relations, 1960-1968. Stanford University Press. pp. 25–. ISBN 978-0-8047-7952-4.
  57. ^ George McTurnan Kahin (2003). Southeast Asia: A Testament. Psychology Press. pp. 174–. ISBN 978-0-415-29976-3.
  58. ^ Andrew W. Cordier; U. Thant (1 June 2010). Public Papers of the Secretaries General of the United Nations: Volume 7 U. Thant 1965-1967. Columbia University Press. pp. 24–. ISBN 978-0-231-51381-4.
  59. ^ Evan Luard (27 July 2016). A History of the United Nations: Volume 2: The Age of Decolonization, 1955–1965. Springer. pp. 350–. ISBN 978-1-349-20030-6.
  60. ^ A. J. Stockwell; University of London. Institute of Commonwealth Studies (2004). Malaysia. The Stationery Office. pp. 574–. ISBN 978-0-11-290581-3.
  61. ^ Andrew W. Cordier; Max Harrelson (1 June 2010). Public Papers of the Secretaries General of the United Nations. Columbia University Press. pp. 399–. ISBN 978-0-231-51380-7.
  62. ^ "The Court finds that sovereignty over the islands of Ligitan and Sipadan belongs to Malaysia". International Court of Justice. 17 December 2002. Archived from the original on 9 April 2014. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  63. ^ a b "Sovereignty over Pulau Ligitan and Pulau Sipadan (Indonesia/Malaysia)". International Court of Justice. 17 December 2002. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  64. ^ "Sovereignty over Pulau Ligitan and Pulau Sipadan (Indonesia v. Malaysia) (Permission to Intervene by the Philippines)" (PDF). International Court of Justice. 23 October 2001. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 August 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  65. ^ "Sovereignty over Pulau Ligitan and Pulau Sipadan (Indonesia/Malaysia), Application for Permission to Intervene, Judgment" (PDF). International Court of Justice. 23 October 2001. p. 575. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 January 2014. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  66. ^ "Heirs of Sultan of Sulu pursue Sabah claim on their own". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 16 February 2013. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  67. ^ Mike Frialde (23 February 2013). "Sultanate of Sulu wants Sabah returned to Phl". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  68. ^ "Kronologi pencerobohon Lahad Datu" (in Malay). Astro Awani. 15 February 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  69. ^ "Dakwaan anggota tentera terbunuh hanya taktik musuh - Panglima Tentera Darat" (in Malay). Astro Awani. 12 August 2013. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  70. ^ Najiah Najib (30 December 2013). "Lahad Datu invasion: A painful memory of 2013". Astro Awani. Retrieved 30 December 2013.


  1. ^ The Confirmatory Deed of 1903 must be viewed in the light of the 1878 Agreement. The British North Borneo Company entered into a Confirmatory Deed with the Sultanate of Sulu in 1903, thereby confirming and ratifying what was done in 1878.


Further reading

Allen, J. de V.; Stockwell, Anthony J. (1980). Wright., Leigh R. (ed.). A collection of treaties and other documents affecting the states of Malaysia 1761-1963. Oceana Pubns. ISBN 978-0-379-00781-7.

1986 Sabah riots

The 1986 Sabah riots or also known as The Silent Riot occurred between March and May in various locations around the state of Sabah, Malaysia. The riots centred mainly in the capital Kota Kinabalu, as well as in the towns of Tawau and Sandakan. On 12 March, seven plastic explosives were detonated in Kota Kinabalu. A bomb was also detonated in Tawau. At least five bombs exploded in Sandakan killing one newspaper vendor and injuring a senior Police Field Force officer. The riots resulted in the death of 5 people.

2016 Grace Poe presidential campaign

The 2016 presidential campaign of Grace Poe was announced at the Bahay ng Alumni at her alma mater, the University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City on September 16, 2015. Grace Poe is a Senator of the Philippines since June 30, 2013, the former MTRCB Chairperson and adopted daughter of popular Filipino actor and 2004 presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr.

On December 23, 2015, the COMELEC en banc formally disqualified Poe from running as president in the 2016 elections for failing to meet the 10-year residency requirement.On December 28, 2015, the Supreme Court issued two temporary restraining orders against the decision of the COMELEC en banc.On March 8, 2016, voting 9–6, the Supreme Court voted to affirm Poe' natural-born status and 10-year residency. On April 9, 2016, the Supreme Court declared their ruling as final and executory.

ASEAN Declaration

The ASEAN Declaration or Bangkok Declaration is the founding document of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It was signed in Bangkok on 8 August 1967 by the five ASEAN founding members, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand as a display of solidarity against communist expansion in Vietnam and communist insurgency within their own borders. It states the basic principles of ASEAN: co-operation, amity, and non-interference. The date is now celebrated as ASEAN Day.

Brunei Civil War

The Brunei Civil War was a civil war fought in the Bruneian Empire from 1660 to 1673.


In the Russian language the word Glasnost (; Russian: гла́сность, IPA: [ˈɡɫasnəsʲtʲ] (listen)) has several general and specific meanings. It has been used in Russian to mean "openness and transparency" since at least the end of the eighteenth century.In the Russian Empire of the late-19th century, the term was particularly associated with reforms of the judicial system, ensuring that the press and the public could attend court hearings and that the sentence was read out in public. In the mid-1980s, it was popularised by Mikhail Gorbachev as a political slogan for increased government transparency in the Soviet Union.

Grace Poe

Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares (baptized September 3, 1968, Tagalog: [po]) is a Filipina senator, businesswoman, educator, and philanthropist. She is the adopted daughter of actors Susan Roces and Fernando Poe Jr. She served as chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) from 2010 to 2012 and in the Philippine Senate since 2013.

Poe studied at the University of the Philippines Manila, where she majored in development studies, but moved to Boston College in Massachusetts, United States where she finished a degree in political science and has spent much of her adult life in Fairfax, Virginia. In 2004, her adoptive father ran for the Philippine presidency against the incumbent, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, but was defeated; he died months later. On April 8, 2005, Grace returned to the Philippines after learning that her father had died. She began pursuing her father's rights over the results of the election and campaigned against alleged electoral fraud.

Poe ran for a seat in the Philippine Senate during the election in 2013 as an Independent affiliated with the Team PNoy coalition of Aquino. She ended up winning more votes than other candidates and over 20 million votes, ahead of Loren Legarda, who previously topped two elections. She was a candidate for the 2016 presidential election. Despite numerous attempts to have her disqualified, the Supreme Court of the Philippines deemed her a natural-born Filipino citizen and she is qualified to become President based on her 10-year residency. Poe was placed third in the Presidential Race count. In May 2019, Poe was reelected senator with over 22 million votes.

Guerrilla war in the Baltic states

The Guerrilla war in the Baltic states or the Forest Brothers resistance movement was the armed struggle against Soviet rule that spanned from 1940 to the mid-1950s. After the occupation of the Baltic territories by the Soviets in 1944, an insurgency started. According to some estimates, 10,000 partisans in Estonia, 10,000 partisans in Latvia and 30,000 partisans in Lithuania and many more supporters were involved. This war continued as an organised struggle until 1956 when the superiority of the Soviet military caused the native population to adopt other forms of resistance. While estimates related to the extent of partisan movement vary, but there seems to be a consensus among researchers that by international standards, the Baltic guerrilla movements were extensive. Proportionally, the partisan movement in the post-war Baltic states was of a similar size as the Viet Cong movement in South Vietnam.

Jamaican political conflict

The Jamaican political conflict is a long standing feud between right-wing and left-wing elements in the country, often exploding into violence. The Jamaican Labor Party and the People's National Party have fought for control of the island for years and the rivalry has encouraged urban warfare in Kingston. Each side believes the other to be controlled by foreign elements, the JLP is said to be backed by the American Central Intelligence Agency and the PNP is said to been backed by the Soviet Union and Fidel Castro.

Johnson Doctrine

The Johnson Doctrine, enunciated by U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson after the United States' intervention in the Dominican Republic in 1965, declared that domestic revolution in the Western Hemisphere would no longer be a local matter when "the object is the establishment of a Communist dictatorship". It is an extension of the Eisenhower and Kennedy Doctrines.

Madrid Protocol of 1885

The Madrid Protocol of 1885 is an agreement between Great Britain, Germany and Spain to recognise the sovereignty of Spain over the Sulu Archipelago as well as the limit of Spanish influence in the region. Under the agreement, Spain relinquishes all claim to Borneo.

The Spanish Government renounces, as far as regards the British Government, all claims of sovereignty over the

territories of the continent of Borneo, which belong, or which have belonged in the past to the Sultan of Sulu (Jolo), and

which comprise the neighbouring islands of Balambangan, Banguey, and Malawali, as well as all those comprised within

a zone of three maritime leagues from the coast, and which form part of the territories administered by the Company styled the “British North Borneo Company”.

Another important point regarding the agreement relates to Article IV which guarantees of no restriction on trade to the parties of the protocol within the Archipelago and North Borneo.

Miriam Defensor Santiago

Miriam Palma Defensor Santiago (June 15, 1945 – September 29, 2016) was a Filipino academic, lawyer, judge, author, and statesman, who served in all three branches of the Philippine government: judicial, executive, and legislative. She also worked at the United Nations while studying abroad. Some of her alma maters are University of the Philippines, University of Michigan, Oxford University, Maryhill School of Theology, University of California, Harvard University, and University of Cambridge. Defensor Santiago was named one of The 100 Most Powerful Women in the World in 1997 by The Australian magazine. She was a long-serving Senator of the Republic of the Philippines.

In 1988, Defensor Santiago was named laureate of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for government service, with a citation for bold and moral leadership in cleaning up a graft-ridden government agency. She ran in the 1992 presidential elections but was controversially defeated.In 2012, Defensor Santiago became the first Filipina and the first Asian from a developing country to be elected a judge of the International Criminal Court. She later resigned the post, citing chronic fatigue syndrome, which turned out to be lung cancer. In 2016, she became part of the International Advisory Council of the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), an intergovernmental body that promotes the rule of law.Defensor Santiago served three terms in the Philippine Senate. On 13 October 2015, Defensor Santiago declared her candidacy for President of the Philippines in the 2016 elections after her doctors from the United States declared her cancer 'stable' and 'receded', but lost in the elections. In December 2018, the prestigious Quezon Service Cross was posthumously conferred upon Santiago, making her the first and only woman and the sixth person since 1946 to be enthroned in the country's highest roster.Defensor Santiago was known as the Dragon Lady, the Platinum Lady, the Incorruptible Lady, the Tiger Lady, and most popularly, the Iron Lady of Asia. She is colloquially known in Philippine pop culture as simply Miriam or MDS.

Moro National Liberation Front

The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF; Arabic: الجبهة الوطنية لتحرير مورو‎) is a political organization in the Philippines that was founded in 1972. It started as a splinter group of the Muslim Independence Movement. The MNLF was the leading organization among Moro separatists for about two decades beginning from the 1970s.In 1996, the MNLF signed a landmark peace agreement with the Philippine government that saw the creation of Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), an area composed of two mainland provinces and three island provinces in which the predominantly Muslim population enjoys a degree of self-rule. Nur Misuari was installed as the region's governor but his rule ended in violence when he led a failed rebellion against the Philippine government in November 2001, and fled to Sabah before being deported back to the Philippines by the Malaysian authorities.The MNLF is internationally recognized by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and its Parliamentary Union of OIC Member States (PUIC). Since 1977, the MNLF has been an observer member of the OIC. On January 30, 2012, MNLF became an observer member of the Parliamentary Union of Islamic Cooperation (PUIC), as approved during the 7th PUIC global session held in Palembang, Indonesia.

NDF Rebellion

The NDF Rebellion was an uprising in the Yemen Arab Republic by the National Democratic Front, under Yahya Shami, between 1978 and 1982.

Pan Pan (kingdom)

Pan Pan or Panpan is a lost small Hindu Kingdom believed to have existed around the 3rd to 7th Century CE. It is believed to have been located on the east coast of the Malay peninsula, with opinion varying from somewhere in Kelantan or Terengganu, Malaysia to the vicinity of Amphoe Phunphin, Surat Thani Province, Thailand. It is speculated to be related to Pan tan i (the Pattani Kingdom), which occupied the same area many centuries later, and has some differences in culture and language to other Malay regions nearby.

Siamese invasion of Kedah

The Siamese invasion of Kedah was a military operation mounted by the Kingdom of Siam against the Sultanate of Kedah in November 1821, in the area of what is now northern Peninsula Malaysia.

Sultanate of Sulu

The Sultanate of Sulu (Tausūg: Kasultanan sin Sūg, Jawi: کسلطانن سولو دار الإسلام, Malay: Kesultanan Sulu, Arabic: سلطنة سولك‎) was a Muslim state that ruled the islands in the Sulu Archipelago, parts of Mindanao, certain portions of Palawan and north-eastern Borneo (present-day the certain parts of Sabah and North Kalimantan).

The sultanate was founded on 17 November 1405. by a Johore-born explorer and religious scholar Sharif ul-Hashim. Paduka Mahasari Maulana al Sultan Sharif ul-Hashim became his full regnal name, Sharif-ul Hashim is his abbreviated name. He settled in Buansa, Sulu. After the marriage of Abu Bakr and a local dayang-dayang (princess) Paramisuli, he founded the sultanate. The Sultanate gained its independence from the Bruneian Empire in 1578.At its peak, it stretched over the islands that bordered the western peninsula of Mindanao in the east to Palawan in the north. It also covers the area in northeastern side of Borneo, stretching from Marudu Bay, to Tepian Durian (in present-day Kalimantan). While another source stated the area stretching from Kimanis Bay which also overlaps with the boundaries of the Bruneian Sultanate. Due to the arrival of western powers such as the Spanish, British, Dutch, French, German and American, the Sultan thalassocracy and sovereign political powers were relinquished by 1915 through an agreement that was signed with the last colonialist, the United States. In 1962, Philippine Government under the leadership of President Diosdado Macapagal officially recognised the continued existence of the Sultanate of Sulu. On 24 May 1974, Sultan Mohammed Mahakuttah Kiram (reigned 1974–1986), was the last officially recognized Sulu Sultan in the Philippines, having been recognized by President Ferdinand Marcos. On 15 August 1974 Sultan Moh. Mahakuttah A. Kiram submitted the organisational structure of the Sultanate of Sulu to the President of Philippines. The above named structure confirmed that Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram was the Raja Muda (Crown Prince) of Sulu. Under Rodrigo Duterte's administration, calls to finally settle the dispute of who is the officially recognized Sultan of Sulu via government recognition through an Executive Order was voiced out by various parties involved with the issue. The calls have yet to be dealt with by the government since 2017, along with a 2016 electoral promise to retake North Borneo now Sabah.In 2016, for the first time in history, the five contesting sultans of Sulu, Sultan Ibrahim Bahjin, Sultan Muizuddin Jainal Bahjin, Sultan Muedzul-Lail Tan Kiram, Sultan Mohammad Venizar Julkarnain Jainal Abirin, and Sultan Phugdalun Kiram signed a covenant in an unprecedented move aimed at consolidating and strengthening the sultanate's unity. The ceremony was held in Zamboanga City and was attended by hundreds of supporters and members of the different Royal Houses of the Sultanate of Sulu, and religious leaders and representatives of various sectors, including those from mainland Mindanao. In May 9, 2018, all five sultans of the sultanate and their supporters converged again in Zamboanga City in support of the establishment of the Zambasulta Federal State through a federal form of Philippine government. The event was officially declared as the Bangsa Sug Consensus.

Ulbricht Doctrine

The Ulbricht Doctrine, named after East German leader Walter Ulbricht, was the assertion that normal diplomatic relations between East Germany and West Germany could occur only if both states fully recognised each other's sovereignty. That contrasted with the Hallstein Doctrine, a West German policy which insisted that West Germany was the only legitimate German state.

East Germany gained acceptance of its view from fellow Communist states, such as Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Bulgaria, which all agreed not to normalise relations with West Germany until it recognised East German sovereignty.

West Germany eventually abandoned its Hallstein Doctrine, instead adopting the policies of Ostpolitik. In December 1972, a Basic Treaty between East and West Germany was signed that reaffirmed two German states as separate entities. The treaty also allowed the exchange of diplomatic missions and the entry of both German states to the United Nations as full members.

Unfederated Malay States

The term Unfederated Malay States (Malay: Negeri-negeri Melayu Tidak Bersekutu) was the collective name given to five British protected states in the Malay peninsula in the first half of the twentieth century. These states were Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis, and Terengganu. In contrast with the four adjoining Federated Malay States of Selangor, Perak, Pahang, and Negri Sembilan, the five Unfederated Malay States lacked common institutions, and did not form a single state in international law; they were in fact standalone British protectorates.

In 1946 the British colony of the Straits Settlements was dissolved. Penang and Malacca which had formed a part of the Straits Settlements were then grouped with the Unfederated Malay States and the Federated Malay States to form the Malayan Union. In 1948, the Malayan Union was reconstituted as a federation of eleven states known as the Federation of Malaya. Nine of the states of the new Federation of Malaya continued as British Protected States, while two of them, Penang and Malacca remained as British colonies. The Federation of Malaya gained full independence from the UK in August 1957.

Western Bloc

The Western Bloc during the Cold War refers to capitalist countries under the hegemony of the United States and NATO against the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. The latter were referred to as the Eastern Bloc. The governments and press of the Western Bloc were more inclined to refer to themselves as the "Free World" or the "Western world", whereas the Eastern Bloc was often called the "Communist world or Second world".

Territorial disputes in East, South, and Southeast Asia
Moro conflict history, incidents and peace process
Notable incidents
Peace process
Designated security zones
and peace monitoring

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.