Friday, December 30, 2005

Influential Sultan Reiterates Support For RP Leader

ZAMBOANGA CITY (ZamboangaJournal / 30 Dec) The influential Sultan Sharif Ibrahim Ajibul Mohammad Pulalun, of Sulu and North Borneo on Friday reiterated his strong support to President Gloria Arroyo and appealed to all the Muslims and Christians in the Philippines to help the government in nation building.

Pulalun said many Muslims in the southern region are supporting the Arroyo government.

"We reiterate our support to President Gloria Arroyo and I urge all citizens, the Muslims and Christians alike, to unite and help the government in nation building and work for a better Philippines," he told the ZamboangaJournal.

He also urged Muslim rebels to forge peace with Manila and help in developing the strife-torn, but mineral-rich region.

"There should be peace in all places in the Sultanate, so we may live in harmony, side-by-side with all the races and religions. Peace must reign again," Pulalun said.

Pulalun, a descendant of Sultan Mohammad Pulalun, heads the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo, now Sabah, and has been active in humanitarian works in the southern Philippines.

The Sultanate of Sulu obtained Sabah from the Sultanate of Brunei as a gift for helping defeat a rebellion on Borneo Island.

The Sultanate of Sulu was a Muslim state. It stretched from a part of the island of Mindanao in the east, to North Borneo, now known as Sabah, in the west and south, and to Palawan, in the north.

The sultanate was founded in the 1457 and is believed to exist with sovereignty for at least 442 years. Mindanao, Palawan, and the islands of the Sulu Sea were colonized by Spain, which ruled the country.

The British leased Sabah and transferred control over the territory to Malaysia after the end of Second World War.

Even after Borneo became part of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur still pays an annual rent of 5,000 ringgit to the heirs of the Sultan of Sulu.

The dispute over Borneo is among long-standing irritants in ties between the Philippines and Malaysia, but because of diplomatic relations, the issue was temporarily shelved, as the two neighboring counties strengthened trades and investments since the 1990s.

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