Before we make certain our convictions as regards to the Sabah issue, let us examine and reflect on some key points -
The Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo - recognition, relevance, restitution.
The Federation of Malaysia - sovereignty, prestige, security.
The Republic of the Philippines - security, good will, credibility.
The ASEAN Neighborhood - unity, commonality of interests, strength of solidarity.
And some constants of the prevailing age - lest we get complacent with the darkness, let us remember where we are in the history of time:
- No peace without adversity - the expectation that with peace comes the challenge and the responsibility to serve, defend, and protect the meaning of its truth as enshrined and remembered in the hearts and halls of our nationhood.
- The 2009 minimum of the times - accept the status quo from 2009 - this includes all present borders, present disputes, present concerns from 2009 and constitutes the end point of the necessary labor of remembrance required by the season from the year of our Lord 0 AD to 2009 AD or the beginning of the new age of peace.
- The hope of the present season - peace, the real one - the one that ascends against all division unto true and everlasting belonging - and not the false one that is emptied out of its meaning by the darkness of the world or the spirit of war.
At the level of the Republic government, the Sabah claim is not a claim of sovereignty. It is not like our existing stakes about the Western Philippine Sea.
At the level of the Republic government, the Sabah claim is a claim on the legitimacy of an historic line of royalty that resides within our sphere of responsible government and united among us by Providence in nationhood.
It is therefore, to us - a local issue - not an international issue - the Sabah issue - which we must moderate with Malaysia at the level of her Federation. Malaysia as a nation is not lacking in her own houses of royal lineages and will understand what this recognition means and how important it is.
Just because we are a Republic does not mean that there are no more of these lines that have survived the ravages of the last great age of war; where they survive they have survived to serve.
For Malaysia, this is an international issue. It is a claim only from Malaysia's point of view.
The Sabah claim ceases to be a claim from our Republic point of view but an historic grievance which has now been brought to the fore. It is something we can neither overlook, nor belittle nor abandon all together.
There is a win-win situation here.
We feel ourselves under attack without attacking each other because we are in the dark about it. So let us together make the conscious choice not remain there but to emerge.
To do justice to every man, is this not part of the code and culture of our executive leadership? Laws bite hard against evil but it is justice to repair the damage done by evil deeds.
Is it evil to air a grievance? Is it not freedom to have and to hear a petition which is authentically human and therefore, visible and legitimate in the eyes of the nations of our world?
None has done this. If we have truly completed our remembrances, we will find that none has done this - no one. No one is to blame who presently exists in any form or way: none but a shadow of things gone by; a deadly illusion of war - for the truth is that it is up to us now to fix it - ever as those nations dreaming together this time.
We have to be willing to be the children of our Father Abraham once more that we may by the grace of God bless the communities of Mankind which are the nations of the children of Mankind.
It is not just a kindness to promote the good, in all truth it is to do justice to goodness and this, especially in the society of man is an act of civic virtue the nature of which can never be legislated for no law can ever be truly written in heaven and on earth to either bind it or prevent what God has placed in the heart of man - love perfecting justice - love in the truth.
This issue will only cease to be an issue - for all of us - for the Royal House of the Sultanate of Sulu, for their brothers spread among the other houses upon the earth, to the Republic of the Philippines, and to the Federation of Malaysia, only when justice is served - not again in partial or unclear terms, not through force of arms, not by anger nor the spirit of revenge - but by justice - one that recognizes and upholds the good - of all and for all - of nations and individuals together.
It might feel like this came at an inopportune time, I felt it too. I felt the suspicion. For my first instinct is to protect our internal peace process.
But at least now we have the initiative to actually do something with the Sabah issue - a boon in the midst of all this difficulty - let us then also recognize that if we overlook this or if we wax undecisive about it - we lose the opportunity.
We must state our position clearly first, and do this singularly from a national interest standpoint - in a way that is conducive to a meaningful and peaceful solution to the matter - privately if necessary - for the benefit of all - but especially on behalf of the Sultanate of Sulu, and in a manner that preserves the gains of our own internal peace process, and then ask them all to come home so it can be further worked out to a conclusion in concert with all concerned parties - officially and without Malaysia feeling untowardly threatened by any perceived intrusion and inadvertently even waxing hostile to our OFW's presently in their territory who only want to earn an honest living and nothing more.
Malaysia as a whole after all has invested time, prestige and treasure in the development of that region even enough perhaps to claim sovereignty rights but we should not abandon the claim of the Sultanate of Sulu and their grievance as regards to it neither must we compromise our friendship with Malaysia - we, the people, as represented by our government in the Republic state, should pray look for a more permanent solution to this pressing old problem to further make complete our present peace - together this time.
Above all, and highest of all - the Sabah issue can not be resolved by force of arms. It would indeed be an incredibly wrong turn of events to allow this to develop into open conflict; even a form of forgetfulness on an unpardonable scale, one that undoes the grace of nationhood.
Let us be patient. Let Malaysia be patient.
For I trust and believe we are better than the challenges that we presently must confront; that our peace together now is stronger and brighter here in the darkness than the darkness itself; that we, ever as our nations, are stronger than the night, this longest night, and therefore, truly belong to the morning and the coming day.
Peace is the test and to pass this test brings succees.
What ennobles is not might but right.
Because it is also my personal hope that this issue is soon resolved - peacefully, for all:
Salaam. Shalom. Peace. Mabuhay po tayong lahat!