Standoff leader a Malaysian citizen?
MANILA, Philippines - Agbimuddin Kiram, the leader of the Sabah standoff and brother of the self-proclaimed Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, is a Malaysian civil servant, a Malaysian newspaper said on Wednesday, March 20.
Agbimuddin was appointed a junior administrative officer in Kudat, Sabah, in March 1974 and awarded Malaysian citizenship in the 1980s, according to official records dug up by the opposition-linked Malaysia Chronicle.
In the report, Rafizi Ramli, a senior official from the opposition People's Justice Party, claimed that the brother of the sultan obtained a national identification card under a controversial citizenship award program launched by former Prime Minister Mohamad Mahathir from 1981 to 2003.
Ramli asked current Prime Minister Najib Razak to "clarify" how 72-year-old Agbimuddin and other Filipino militants won Malaysian citizenship.
The People's Justice Party is led by former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, accused of instigating the standoff by meeting with the Kirams before Agbimuddin crossed over to Sabah from Tawi-Tawi.
Malaysia last week claimed that the standoff leader had escaped Lahad Datu and was able to cross over the Philippines, but this was denied by the sultan's spokesman.
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov Mujiv Hataman also insisted on Tuesday that there had been no sightings of Agbimuddin in the country. - with reports from Carlos Santamaria/Rappler.com