Sabah and Spratlys

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Claim and Reclaiming: Relations at Stake

From Lapu-Lapu to Jose Rizal, Philippine history is full with people who fought against overwhelming odds and won. Of course, we were colonized by the Spaniards and Americans, occupied by the Japanese and subjugated by a home-grown dictator. But the point is the Filipino spirit is indomitable and despite of the awesome might of our oppressors, we still prevailed in the end. This kind of spirit is again in quest with the issues of claiming for expanded territories. I want to plug in the current issues of claiming Sabah and Spartly Islands as part of the Philippine territory despite of the number of contenders suing for it. First, let’s take a look on Sabah. Historically, Sabah is owned by the Sultan of Brunei but then it was given to the Sultan of Sulu as a gift. But during the colonial regime of the British in Malaysia, they want to include Sabah on their territory for prior reasons. So, the imperialists ask the Sultan of Sulu for a lease to acquire Sabah. The lease was granted but after the British regime, Malaysia gains independence and declare Sabah is part of their territory but until now they are still paying for the rent in Sabah. Now, the Sultanate of Sulu is claiming for the return of Sabah to their ownership. Then, the misconception rises on both contenders in this issue. Malaysian government view the agreement as a sale or mortgage, while the Sultanate of Sulu, it is only a lease. As I take my view points on the issue, I suspect that possibly claiming Sabah is just about money and political maneuver. Because after all, one that motivate the claim of Sabah is the small amount of money given by Malaysia to the Sultanate of Sulu compare to the large size of the total land area of Sabah. Then, again political interests could be lurking around in the claiming of the land because once the Sabah is brought back, the Sultanate of Sulu could gain economic and political power in the Republic of the Philippines. Then, as...
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