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How The Sultanate of Sulu Got Sabah

July 25, 2008

For the added understanding of At Midfield readers, I am reposting this article written by a certain Datu Albi Ahmad Julkarnain who identifies himself as Chairman, Council of Royal Datus of Sulu:

“The history on how Sabah (North Borneo) came to faith into the hands of the Sultanate of Sulu will make us to understand better why Sulu Royal heirs own Sabah, and why Sabah rentals are paid by the Malaysian Government up to the present.

According to Brunei sources, it was Sultan Bulkeiah (C.A. 1500) who extended Brunei territory to the Northeastern Coast of Borneo Island by conquest. However, in the year 1662 A.D. Sultan Muhammed Ali, the twelfth reigning Sultan of Brunei Sultanate was killed by his Prime Minister, Bendahara Abdul Mumin and proclaimed himself Sultan, Upon his enthronement Sultan Abdul Mumin chose his cousin named Pangiran Bongsu as his Bendahara (Prime Minister). After a few years, intrigues came in and discontented persons started to look up to Pangiran Bongsu to lead a revolt. Because of what had appeared as a growing discontent in Brunei, Pangiran (Prince) Bongsu was able to persuade Sultan Abdul Mumin to transfer his residence to Pulno Chermin, an island off Brunei, and to have it fortified. It was then that Prince Minister Pangiran Bongsu raised the standard of revolt in Brunei. The basis of his strength was in the mainland, unlike that of Sultan Abdul Mumin which rested mainly on the island of Pulao Chermin.

The Civil War in Brunei ensued that lasted between 10 to 12 years. Trade activities came to a standstill and famine visited the mainland of Brunei. The island of Pulao Chermin which guarded the entrance to the bay just off Brunei prevented supplies from getting into the town. The island of Pulao Chermin, too, was denied resources from the mainland. To break the impasse, Bendahara Pangiran Bongsu sent a message to Sulu Salahuddin Karamat, the 10th reigning Sultan of Sulu Sultanate and a cousin of Bendahara Pangiran Bongsu. He asked for aid and promised him to cede the North Borneo (Sabah) territory.

The first thing Sultan Salahuddin of Sulu Sultanate did was to go to the island of Pulao Chermin and have an audience with Brunei Sultan Abdul Mumin, for this island guarded the entrance to Brunei. The Sulu Sultan informed Sultan Abdul Mumin that he had come to establish peace since it was not proper for Muslims to fight each other. Sultan Abdul Mumin told the Sulu Sultan that it was Bendahara (Prime Minister) Pangiran Bongsu who started the war. The Sulu Sultan was then allowed to go over the mainland of Brunei and persuaded Bendahara Pangiran Bongsu to settle for a peace agreement. However, realizing that peace could not be achieved through negotiation, Sulu Sultan Salahuddin decided to aid Bendahara Pangiran Bongsu, a bloodline cousin of him. The Sultan of Sulu accepted the offer of Bendahara Bongsu and took part with his principal Royal Datus that led (heir respective warriors in the fighting and defeated Sultan Abdul Mumin. It finally ended the Brunei civil war in 1675 A.D. and Bendahara Pangiran Bongsu was enthroned the Sultan of Brunei Sultanate, who took over the regal title of Sultan Muhyiddin.

He fulfilled his promise to Sulu Sultan Salahuddin on North Borneo (Sabah) territory secession.Actually, North Borneo or the Sabah estate was acquired by Sultan Salahuddin of Sulu Sultanate by an act of war where many lives of Sulu Warriors were lost and martyred in the defense of Brunei Sultanate that helped ended the Brunei civil war. North Borneo was ceded to Sulu Sultan by Brunei Sultan Muhyiddin immediately after the civil war in 1675 A.D., but it was in 1704 A.D. that Sultan Shahabuddin, the 11th Sulu Sultan that placed completed North Borneo under the administration of Sulu Sultanate and started the collection of tributes after several skirmishes with the Tirun Tribe.

Before I end this write-up, 1 want to pose this question. Who are the bloodline Royal heirs of Sulu Sultanate, who have ascendancy to the ownership of Sabah or North Borneo?

Note: The situation relative to the Sabah claim on the side of Sulu, and the Philippines, on the whole is the report that as many as 8 men are claiming to be the legitimate, bloodline descendants of the first sultan of Sulu, Jamalul Kiram.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. July 25, 2008 2:16 pm

    it’s time for us to do someting for a motherland which includes north borneo (sabah)

    sir invite ko kayo pati lahat ng bumabasa dito to join us in our group named Philippine Sabah Society.

    pls visit our website

    or send an email to

    thank you!

  2. July 25, 2008 2:19 pm

    i think we can make a similar setup in sultanate of sulu just what indonesia did with the sultanate of yogyakarta.

  3. be piece permalink
    August 18, 2008 11:57 pm

    so as we are called the sabahan, we will always be a sabahan… sabahan refuse ultimate control from any form of governement, we want to rule by our own… i didn’t do much research on the ownership of sabah, but since the sulu sultanate has lost their control in sabah for almost 2 centuries, i don’t think he should claim it back… i will fight for liberty, cause i believe sulu sultan cannot afford to bring us prosperity…

    end of my speech…

  4. September 6, 2008 10:21 am

    Assalmu! Alaikum! good day to all of you please visit and if you visit this website all of your questions will have an answer.thank you so much..

  5. awangkassim permalink
    September 9, 2008 1:12 pm

    So Sabah was owned by Brunei….can we go further than that. Before that, who owns Brunei…Funny, history can entice people claiming lands are theirs.
    Hey Stupid…the whole world is yours.Its just we stupid human beings are racists, building borders among us.Thanks to British cunning colonism and their topographist !!!!!

  6. awangkassim permalink
    September 9, 2008 1:16 pm

    Saya Melayu Semenanjung setuju Sabah di perintah oleh orang Sabah, tak kira ugama dan keturunan. Lebih baik keluar dari Malaysia, kerana Sabah tak de kena mengena dengan semenanjung. Ini semua gejala British…kita telah di perangsang oleh British…kerana kita semua bodoh dulu.
    Sekarang dah pandai, guna minda…tapi ingat…orang Sulu pon berhak atas Sabah !!!

  7. awangkassim permalink
    September 9, 2008 1:22 pm

    Sabah disuruh masuk Malaysia bukan kehendak orang Sabah…tatapi kerana tuntutan Sultan Sulu, Kerajaan Filipina dan bantahan Amerika (penjajah Filipina) atas biadap British menjajah Sabah.Selepas 1963, syarikat British masih mengaut keuntungan.
    Tambahan, orang Sabah bantah bergabung dengan Malaya kerana muslihat Suruhanjaya Cobbold.

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