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COMMENT | Sulu shocks: Context and solutions

COMMENT | Attention on the Sulu claim is focused on the French 2022 arbitration award to the heirs of the Sulu Sultanate. We have seen different legal opinions brashly displayed and argued in the media, often by those with limited knowledge of local conditions and complexities related to the claim.

I argue that a legal "arbitration" lens approach is much too narrow. The context matters in terms of history, social conditions, political narratives and mobilisation.

This piece identifies a few key non-legal concerns associated with the Sulu claim and argues that more holistic engagement is needed; taking a multi-faceted approach that brings in the importance of socio-political issues and prioritises the need to include Sabahans in ongoing efforts to oppose the serious threats against Sabah and Malaysia and offers a constructive path forward.

To start with, the Sulu claim highlights long-standing serious concerns of security, division and exclusion in Sabah. They go beyond the actions of...

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