Government-in-exile installs Datu Mohd Akjan as 33rd ruler in a grand ceremony.
The self-styled Interim Government of the Sultanate of Sulu announced today that the installation ceremony took place last Wednesday in Kampung Likas here.
Akjan claims to be a direct descendent of the last reigning Sultan of Sulu, Paduka Mahasari Maulana al-Marhum Sultan Shariful-Hashim.
The Prime Minister of the interim government, Datu Albi Ahmad Julkarnain, said in a statement issued here that Akjan became Sulu’s 33rd sultan after taking his oath of allegiance in front of 60 witnesses, including “senior officials” of the sultanate.
Among the officials were two “assistant deputy prime ministers”, one for Tawi-Tawi and the other for West Malaysia.
During the installation ceremony, a “Pledge, Recognition, Mandate and Support” was made to Akjan by the Prime Minister, the royal houses of Maimbun and Patikul, the Council of Royal Datus, Rumah Bicara, the United Tausug People’s Leadership Consultative Assembly and the Council of Professionals.
Albi said concerns over security made it necessary for the ceremony to be held away from Jolo, Sulu’s capital city.
Akjan is now officially known as His Majesty Paduka Mahasari Maulana al-Sultan Sharif ul-Hashim II, Dr Sharif Mohammad Akjan Mu’izzuddin Waddaulah ibni al-Marhum Sultan Sharif Ali Muhammad Pulalun. The short form of the name is “Sultan Shariful-Hashim II”.
In his acceptance speech, Akjan said “hundreds of years of oppression, domination, treachery and deception” had deprived the Sultanate of Sulu and its loyal citizens “of the bounty of its natural resources” and “of peace and tranquillity”.
He added: “I accept the challenge to steer the destiny of our beloved kingdom amidst the sovereign states of the world and unleash all power at my command to ensure the survival, the wellbeing and development of the Tausug people.”
Albi said the new sultan held the key to a “platinum box” containing the ancient royal documents and paraphernalia of the past sultans that were transferred out of the Sulu palace in 1862 during the reign of Sultan Muhammad Fadzlun Pulalun and had since been “properly and secretly hidden”.
The installation brings a new twist to the history of the Tausug people in Sabah and their claim to self-determination and independence.
“We shall assert all peaceful means through both diplomacy and other processes within the framework of the United Nations and international law to restore our statehood,” Albi’s statement said. “We are now readying our legal documents to be filed with the United Nations, insha Allah.”
Albi reiterated a demand for the complete withdrawal of the Philippines and other foreign military forces and their civilian institutions from the territories claimed by the sultanate.
“We are urging the occupier exploiting our natural resources to completely return our land and leave Sulu Sultanate Darul Islam voluntarily and peacefully, as soon as possible, to avoid any further conflicts and unnecessary humiliation in the eyes of the international community,” he said.
“All inhabitants of the Sulu Archipelago, including Basilan Province, Sulu Province, Tawi-Tawi Province, Zamboanga Peninsula, Palawan, the Spratlys and part of Borneo, including part of Sabah, are Tausug people.”
This is the second time that Albi is asserting that the Sulu Sultanate was never part of the Philippines. He claimed that this could be proven by historical and legal documents now in the possession of the new sultan.
Started as a sub-contractor
He said about 10,000 Tausugs from the different municipalities of the Sulu provinces, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga, Palawan and Sabah took part in a four-day rally and parade around Jolo following an “Assertion of Independence” at Plaza Tulay, Jolo, last Nov 17.
Akjan was born in Jambangan, Nipah-Nipah, Sulu, on Nov 23, 1957. He is the only child of Sultan Sharif Ali Mohd Pulalun and his consort, Sharifah Sarimah ibni Datu Sharif Imam Yusof ibni Datu Sharif Salahuddin ibni Sharif Safaruddin.
On Nov 11, 1962, his uncle Hasirin bin Sumabud took him to Camp Sibaud, Sandakan, for security reasons. He became a Malaysian citizen when Sabah joined the Federation of Malaysia.
He started his business career as a sub-contractor in the construction of 400 units of low-cost houses in Sandakan in 1978. He subsequently made forays into barter trading and the construction, transportation and motor oil production and distribution industries.
He heads several companies, including Tanah Teguh Sdn Bhd, Konsortium Khazanah Watan, Malaysian Maestro (M) Sdn Bhd, Interpise Capital Sdn Bhd, Nautica Technologies Sdn Bhd, Bestcom System Sdn Bhd and Plus Million Synergy Sdn Bhd.
He is also active in Pekida, the Islamic welfare and missionary organisation. He heads its International Affairs Unit and is chairman of its Sabah division.
He has three wives and 28 children aged between one and 34 years. A fourth wife is deceased.