by ROYAL ECONOMIC CONGRESS Zamboanga City, Philippines
20 November 2006
“In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious and the Most Merciful, whose unending grace and bounty bring us all together, we welcome all the honorable delegates to our First Economic Congress to discuss and find ways to alleviate the endemic poverty, unemployment, lack of education and medical health services coupled with the lack of economic infrastructures leading to great discord and disharmony in our beloved Sultanate of Sulu.
The Royal Family, the Royal Cabinet Ministers, our brave and courageous Grand Panglimas and Panglimas and our loyal and dedicated Knights and Ladies (Datuks and Datins) work all together to arrive at this great event, an indication of a united and unyielding spirit of a New Beginning in the lives of our people has arrived through common understanding that a Better Sultanate of Sulu and Sabah can be attained if we all unite and work toward a common goal of changing the current equation of economic underdevelopment that has long plagued our people and our Sultanate.
Hope springs eternal in our hearts, that we can turn things around for a better tomorrow, as we are the descendants of a proud and stalwart custodians of the Sultanate of Sulu “The Unconquered Kingdom” built, tried and tested in many armed struggles against invaders of our kingdom in the past and we stood our ground never yielding with unending courage and valor, and our history is written in bravery and in blood and deaths of many of our beloved heroes who willingly gave their lives so that we can embrace a better life for us and our children.
In our current times, we still face the same degree of invasion as now we are invaded by poverty, unemployment, lack of peace and order leading to our continuing slide to underdevelopment. We must again summon our courage and be brave against these new enemies and invaders with the same bravery and spirit of valor of our fathers and forefathers – so that together we can erase this curse brought upon us by outsiders whose aims are to foment turmoil and enmity for them to divide us so that we can easily succumb to embracing the dismemberment and destruction of our Sultanate of Sulu – as they covet and eye the riches of our Sultanate – e.g., oil and gas reserves, our fertile fishing grounds, our natural resources that are our inheritance so that all of us can benefit from this bounty.
To achieve our aims of economic development, we must stop the disunity of our people also brought by many unclean hands who claim to be sultans of Sulu and Sabah. These impostors are the primary source of all our troubles and disunity. These impostors and self-appointed sultans divide our people by imposing their so-called genealogy that on examination are all fairy tales and fantasies. These impostors and false sultans have no right to claim the rank, title and position of the Sultan of Sulu and Sabah as they are all outside the Royal blood line of succession and were not proclaimed by the Royal Datus and the Sharifs.
We must reject these impostors and false sultans and must not call them sultan as to call them “sultan” is a great insult to our people and a disgrace to the sacred traditions of our Sultanate and to the memory of our dear brother, HM Sultan Mahakuttah Abdulla Kiram (Sultan 1974-1986), and to our beloved father HM Sultan Muhammad Esmail E. Kiram I (Sultan 1947-1973), to our grandfather HM Sultan Mawallil Wasit Kiram (Sultan 1936), and to his brother and our grand uncle HM Sultan Jamalul Kiram II (Sultan 1893-1936), also to his brother and our grand uncle HM Sultan Badaruddin Kiram II (Sultan 1881-1886) and to his father, our forefather, HM Sultan Jamalul Ahlam Kiram (Sultan 1861-1881) and his father, our forefather, HM Sultan Mohd. Pulalun Kiram (Sultan 1844-1862) and finally to his father, our forefather, and originator of the Kiram blood line HM Sultan Jamalul Kiram I (1823-1844).
As the true sons and daughters of the Sultanate of Sulu and Sabah, you must declare to our people and the world that we are the legitimate Sultan of Sulu and Sabah as per Law of Succession being the last surviving son of HM Sultan Muhammad Esmail E. Kiram I and the only one proclaimed as the 35th Reigning Sultan by the Royal Datus and the Sharifs.
Napoleon Bonaparte, the French Emperor, once said “A Leader is a Dealer in Hope.” We are all Leaders of our people gathered here today and our first duty is to expound and enhance Hope in the hearts and minds of our people. Hope that, under the true Sultan, we can recover and restore our Sultanate to its former glory. Hope that peace and prosperity will come to us through our uniting work for a better tomorrow.
The MNLF has a special place in our hearts as our eldest brother HM Sultan Mahakuttah Abdulla Kiram when he was the Raja Muda in 1971 and us joined the Ansarul Islam the forerunner of the MNLF in Royal Maimbung. The valuable support of the MNLF, Royal Datus, Sharifs, Ustadz, Imams and other sectors of our Sultanate allow us now to forge the goals and hopes for our better future.
We express our support to the peace and order initiatives of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. We also express our desire that the provisions of the 1996 Peace Treaty between the MNLF and the Philippines be fully implemented as the cornerstone of a better Mindanao and Sultanate of Sulu.
Our plan and program is to ask the government of Her Excellency, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to come out with a Presidential Declaration that the Sultanate of Sulu is a Free Port Zone so that economic developments experienced by Hong Kong, Singapore, or Labuan, and Subic in the Philippines can be realized. By being a Free Port Zone or a Special Economic Zone, we can attract manufacturers and fabricators from the Philippines and overseas to locate and manufacture their goods and services in the Sultanate that will create employment, better living standards and better education to our people.
We address you today, you the citizens of a proud Sultanate, your dreams, your goals, your hopes, are going to be the dreams, the goals, and the hopes of this Proud Sultanate, so help us Allah! We shall reflect our compassion that is so much our reality as a people. How can we love our Sultanate and not love our people, and loving them, reach out a hand when they fall, heal them when they are sick, and provide them opportunities to make them self-sufficient. Self-sufficiency through peace and order, through commerce and industry, will yield economic developments that will yield better life for us all.
Our problems are numerous and sometimes daunting but can we resolve the problems confronting us as a people, the answer is a resounding “YES.” On the ascension to the throne of His Majesty Sultan Jamalul Kiram I in 1823 addressing the multitude of constituents who came to celebrate he said, “on you depend the fortunes and future of the Sultanate as in your hands alone rest the defense, survival and the prosperity or failure of thousands of our beloved children yet unborn, be worthy of yourselves.”
This was uttered by our beloved Sultan in 1823 exactly 183 years today reminding us of our heritage and legacy as a brave, loyal, courageous and victorious people, let us now prove more worthy by killing our greatest enemy of disunity, discord, poverty, lack of peace and order and education and let us bring about order and unity and to work towards economic developments in our beloved Sultanate of Sulu.
From the shores of Sulu, Sabah, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan, Palawan and Zamboanga, in Mindanao and in far away China and other lonely places, many of our forefathers lost their lives and are buried under the ground some with markers but many without, as we gather today, let us remember them as our sentinels of the past and vanguards of the future that their deaths will not be in vain for in our hands we hold the charts that will take us from the specter of poverty to the sunlight of peace and prosperity – but it requires faith in Allah, with our best efforts, and belief in ourselves and to believe as a people that we can perform great works, and with the help of Allah, we will resolve all the problems that now face us, however great in our eyes they may be. Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar!”
His Majesty Sultan Muhammad Fuad Abdulla Kiram I
The Sultan of Sulu & The Sultan of Sabah