That destroys decades of relationship between people of Malaysia and Philippine. Mutual trade between Southern Philippine and Sabah that has gone on for centuries now at risk of being jeopardized. Southern Philippine people comprising Suluks and Moros and their descendants in Sabah have been severely detached as the result of the conflict.
The only urban and commercial trading centers are located in Sabah, and for Sulus and Moros alike, Manila is hundreds kilometers away, thus splitting the centers in Sabah as the result of the conflict would deprive a long time trading activity for the Islands’ inhabitants within Sulu Sea.
Sulus have already been physically deprived of development. Being a Muslim state Islands in a Christian majority country, progress of development within the region is very slow. Furthermore, conflicts between rival Muslim groups within the region distorted the economic growth that places Sulu Islands as the most undeveloped region of the world. This is despite of abundance natural resources such oil, gas and other untapped natural resources which can bring the region as one of the richest state in the region.
The main reason for this disparity is the conflict between leaders, particularly among sultans and datu, which brought about for a lesser emphasis on education of the young, right of work and infrastructure projects for the people’s progress.
It is awesome to think that the once successful tribe Sulus in region of Sulu Sea are being pushed into the dark age, while distant relatives in Sabah are beginning to receive benefits from their choice by being in Malaysia.