Princess Kiram offers self as emissary
MANILA - The widow of the 34th Sultan of Sulu, Princess Merriam Kiram, surfaced on Monday to call for an end to the bloodshed and to offer herself as an emissary.
Flanked by other heirs to the Sultanate of Sulu, Princess Merriam said she was close to reaching a financial settlement with Malaysia on increasing their lease payments on Sabah.
A family member read a manifesto signed by the 9 heirs authorizing Princess Merriam to be their representative in talks with Malaysia.
Merriam said her late husband, Mahakuttah Kiram, who passed away in 1986, tasked her to collect the assets of the Sultanate.
She said a delay in the settlement promised the heirs may have prompted the violence in Lahad Datu and other areas in Sabah.
Kiram also said the killings may have been the result of political maneuvering on some heirs of the Sultanate.
Merriam said that while the family continues to pursue the claim with Malaysia, there have always been attempts to use them by politicians. The Kirams refused to name the politicians.
The family also appealed to the government to recognize their claim.